The Clean Water Act – And What it Means for Florida

If you live in Florida, chances are you’ve heard of the Clean Water Act. Here, we’re surrounded by beautiful bodies of water, from local lakes and ponds to the bordering beaches. With Earth Day just around the corner, it’s a good opportunity to learn more about the Clean Water Act and how it protects our natural resources.

clean water act cover photo with yellow background and water drop with plant inside of it

What is the Clean Water Act?

First things first, the Clean Water Act (or CWA for short) aims to “prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution in the nation’s water in order to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters” according to the statue itself. By enacting the CWA, the Federal government created regulatory responsibilities to help prevent pollution, require permits, meet water quality standards, and more.

With the CWA standards in place, it became illegal for anyone to discharge pollutants into water, anywhere in the United States, without specific authorization. It also provided pre-treatment and water drinking standards that added a layer of protection for consumers.

Why Was the Clean Water Act Started?

In the 1940s, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act was the beginning of a significant law to address water pollution. By the early 1970s, the public becoming more aware of the problems. It is inspection that more than two-thirds of the countries’ bodies of water were unfit for activities like swimming or fishing at that time. Untreated sewage was frequently dumped into open water, and regular runoff problems were plaguing the country.

In 1972, the law from the 1940s was changed into what we know today as the CWA to help solve the problem of growing pollution and unsafe water in the U.S.

 What About Florida?

According to the EPA site, “On December 17, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the State of Florida is the first state in more than 25 years to apply for and receive approval to implement a Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 program.” This exciting news means that Florida joins only two other states to gain this authority, Michigan and New Jersey!

With the approval and implementation of a CWA Section 404 Program, Florida has shifted permitting authority from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the state. 

Why would Florida apply for this change? Because it allows local government to more closely and effectively monitor Florida waters’ health (more than 50,000 miles of rivers and streams according to Florida’s DEP) and residents by maintaining the direct authority to issue and manage permits.

How to Help:

Many of us living in Florida value the natural resources around us and want to do more to help protect the rivers, lakes, and oceans in our backyard.

Below is a list of ways to stay engaged and safeguard our natural resources:

– Maintain Your Property. 

Clogged and overflowing gutters don’t allow for water to take its natural course. Instead, it can cause a build-up in your gutters and create pools of water around your home. Not only can this result in damage to your property, including the siding, foundation, and landscape, it can disrupt the natural flow of water as it returns to the earth. Allstate Construction Roofing can help with that! Head on over to our Gutter Repair Services page to learn how.

 – Dispose of Harmful Materials Properly.

Did you know that things like flea medications, household chemicals, medicines, and paints can impact Florida’s waters? Even though you’re not dumping anything directly into the water, these harmful products and chemicals can contaminate the ground or become runoff that leads directly to surface waters (streams, rivers, lakes, and more that are above ground).

– Get Involved in Your Community.

Support local cleanups of beaches or wetlands or join forces with your neighbors. Street drains are a common place that people dump materials into, so stenciling a message nearby can serve as a great reminder to stop. Helping to protect our waters and raise awareness are both great outcomes that result from joining local organizations and groups.

Florida is a fantastic state, full of beautiful natural resources around every corner. With the Federal Government’s support and the commitment to maintaining clean water from our local state and people like us, we can protect our natural resources for future generations to come.

To learn more about Allstate or request a free assessment of your home’s gutters, contact us by visiting here or calling (239) 317-2000.

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