Addressing industrial and other point sources
Under the Clean Water Act, pollutants that are discharged directly to streams and rivers are regulated and described as “point sources”. These point sources of pollution are largely regulated through the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), a provision of the CWA that attempts to define acceptable amounts of pollution. Limits placed on regulated discharges are intended to protect the designated uses of the receiving waters. In reality, numerous illicit discharges go unreported and unregulated, and those that are captured by the NPDES program are not necessarily always protective of our waters. When it comes to permitting pollution, the devil is in the details. For great in-depth information, take our Clean Water Act Course on the NPDES program.