Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act

Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
Updated December 12, 2006
Claudia Copeland
Specialist in Resources and Environmental Policy
Resources, Science, and Industry Division

Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
Congress enacted the last major amendments to the Clean Water Act in 1987
(P.L. 100-4). Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, and
others have been working to implement the many program changes and additions
mandated in the law. At issue today — more than 30 years after enactment of the
core law — is what progress is being made to achieve its goals. In general, states and
environmental groups fault EPA for delays in issuing guidance and providing
assistance to carry out the law. EPA and others are critical of states, in turn, for not
reaching beyond conventional knowledge and approaches to address their water
quality problems. Environmental advocates have been criticized for insufficient
recognition of EPA’s and states’ need for flexibility to implement the act. Finally,
Congress has been criticized for not providing adequate resources to meet EPA and
state needs. Appropriations for clean water programs, especially water infrastructure,
are a continuing issue.
Three issues have predominated recently in connection with implementation of
the law. The first involves funding to construct municipal wastewater treatment
plants under the state revolving fund (SRF) provisions of the 1987 amendments.
Budgetary constraints on federal aid for wastewater treatment and large remaining
funding needs are long-standing concerns. The President’s FY2007 budget requested
$688 million for these SRF grants, 22% less than FY2006 funding, and in May 2006
the House passed legislation providing the level requested by the President (H.R.

5386). The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the same level in June.

Final action did not occur before the 109th Congress adjourned in December, thusth
carrying over this legislative activity to the beginning of the 110 Congress.
The second issue involves progress in implementing the nonpoint pollution
management provisions added in 1987. States have developed management
programs describing methods that will be used to reduce nonpoint pollution, which
may be responsible for as much as 50% of the nation’s remaining water quality
problems. Most observers agree that implementation of nonpoint source control
measures is significantly hindered by limited resources. EPA has adopted program
guidance intended to give states more flexibility and to speed up progress in nonpoint
source control. The third issue is impacts of requirements under current law for
states to develop total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) in order to address
uncontrolled sources of impairment in waters that have not yet achieved water quality
standards. In addition, other issues exist that are important to implementation and
attaining the goals and objectives of the act. They include efforts to manage
overflows of untreated wastewater from municipal sewer systems, and questions
about the effectiveness and costs of the nation’s wetlands protection efforts,
particularly in relation to the wetlands permit program in Section 404 of the act.
Congressional oversight of these issues in the 110th Congress is anticipated.

Most Recent Developments..........................................1
The Act and Most Recent Amendments................................1
Congressional Activity after P.L. 100-4........................2
State Revolving Fund Program.......................................4
Nonpoint Pollution Management......................................7
Adequacy of Plans.........................................8
Funding .................................................8
Program Changes..........................................8
Significance for TMDLs....................................8
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Requirements......................9
Other Issues.....................................................11
Stormwater Discharges....................................11
Combined and Separate Sewer Overflows......................12
Wetlands ...............................................13
Strategy Concerning Animal Feeding Operations................15
Continuing Issue: Appropriations and the Federal Budget.................17
FY2007 ................................................17
FY2006 ................................................18
For Additional Reading............................................19
List of Tables
Table 1. Wastewater Treatment Funding...............................6

Water Quality:
Implementing the Clean Water Act
Most Recent Developments
Appropriations for EPA’s clean water and other programs for FY2007 were
considered but not finalized in 2006. The President’s budget requested $687.6
million for grants to capitalize clean water state revolving funds (SRFs) which fund
local wastewater treatment projects, 22% less than FY2006 funding. On May 18 the
House passed H.R. 5386, providing EPA appropriations, and agreed to the clean
water SRF funding level requested by the President. The Senate Appropriations
Committee approved the same amount for the SRF program when it approved H.R.
5386 in June. Final action on H.R. 5386 and most other FY2007 appropriations bills
for domestic agencies and departments did not occur before Congress adjourned sineth
die in December, thus delaying this legislative activity to the beginning of the 110
In 2003, EPA promulgated revised rules that govern waste discharges from large
animal feeding operations to the nation’s waters. Those revised rules were
challenged by multiple parties, and in 2005, a federal court issued a ruling that
upheld major parts of the rules, vacated other parts, and remanded still other parts to
EPA for clarification. In June 2006, EPA proposed revisions to the rules in response
to the court’s decision and expects to promulgate revised regulations by June 2007.
In 2005, Congress enacted comprehensive energy policy legislation, H.R. 6 (P.L.
109-58); one provision (Section 323) provides a permanent exemption from
stormwater runoff rules for the construction of exploration and production facilities
by oil and gas companies or the roads that service those sites. EPA promulgated a
rule to implement this provision of P.L. 109-58 in June 2006.
The Act and Most Recent Amendments
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, or Clean Water Act, is the principal
law concerned with polluting activity in the nation’s streams, lakes, and estuaries.
Originally enacted in 1948, it was totally revised by amendments in 1972 (P.L. 92-
500) that gave the act its current form and spelled out ambitious programs for water
quality improvements that are now being put in place by industries and cities.
Congress made certain fine-tuning amendments in 1977 (P.L. 95-217) and 1981 (P.L.

97-117) and enacted comprehensive amendments in 1987 (P.L. 100-4).

The act consists of two major parts: regulatory provisions that impose
progressively more stringent requirements on industries and cities in order to meet
the statutory goal of zero discharge of pollutants, and provisions that authorize

federal financial assistance for municipal wastewater treatment construction.
Industries were to meet pollution control limits first by use of Best Practicable
Technology and later by improved Best Available Technology. Cities were to
achieve secondary treatment of municipal wastewater (roughly 85% removal of
conventional wastes), or better if needed to meet water quality standards. Both major
parts are supported by research activities authorized in the law, plus permit and
penalty provisions for enforcement. Programs are administered by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while state and local governments have the
principal day-to-day responsibility for implementing the law.1
The last major amendments to the law were contained in the Water Quality Act
of 1987 (P.L. 100-4). These amendments culminated six years of congressional
efforts to extend and revise the act and were the most comprehensive amendments
to it since 1972. They recognized that, despite much progress, significant water
quality problems persisted. Among its many provisions, the 1987 legislation (1)
established a comprehensive program for controlling toxic pollutant discharges,
beyond that already provided in the act, to respond to so-called “toxic hot spots”; (2)
added a program requiring states to develop and implement programs to control
nonpoint sources of pollution, or rainfall runoff from farm and urban areas, plus
construction, forestry, and mining sites; (3) authorized a total of $18 billion for
wastewater treatment assistance under a combination of the act’s traditional
construction grants program and a new program of grants to capitalize state revolving
funds; (4) authorized or modified a number of programs to address water pollution
problems in diverse geographic areas such as coastal estuaries, the Great Lakes, and
the Chesapeake Bay; and (5) revised many of the act’s regulatory, permit, and
enforcement programs.
Congressional Activity after P.L. 100-4. Congressional oversight of water
quality issues was limited immediately after enactment of P.L. 100-4.
Subcommittees held general oversight hearings, as well as several hearings on
individual issues (wetlands protection, Chesapeake Bay programs, and toxics
contamination of Great Lakes waters), but reserved extensive review and oversight
until implementation had been underway for some time.
EPA, states, industry, and other citizens continue to implement the 1987
legislation, including meeting the numerous requirements and deadlines in it. Three
sets of issues have been the focus of attention regarding the pace and effectiveness
of implementation: the toxic pollutant control provisions, nonpoint pollution
management provisions, and the state revolving fund provisions to transfer
wastewater treatment funding responsibility to the states after 1994. Attention has
also focused on the cost-effectiveness of clean water requirements and flexibility of
Implementation issues discussed below were the basis for legislation to
reauthorize the Clean Water Act during the 103rd Congress. Committees held
hearings in 1993, and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reported

1 For additional information, see CRS Report RL30030, Clean Water Act: A Summary of
the Law, by Claudia Copeland.

a comprehensive reauthorization bill, S. 2093, in May 1994. Legislation also was
introduced in the House, but no further action occurred because of controversies
specific to the act and the pending bills, as well as controversies over regulatory relief
issues that became barriers to a number of bills in 1994.
In the 104th Congress, the House moved quickly on Clean Water Act
legislation, approving a comprehensive reauthorization bill in May 1995. H.R. 961
would have amended many of the regulatory and standards provisions of the law,
required EPA to use extensive new risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis
procedures, and increased flexibility with regulatory relief from current clean water
programs. However, the Senate did not take up the Clean Water Act during the 104th
Congress; thus, no legislation was enacted.

1997 marked the 25-year anniversary of the 1972 Clean Water Act amendments,

which established the goals, objectives, and structure that continue to guide the law
today. In the 105th Congress, no major committee activity over the act occurred
either in the House or the Senate. Since the 104th Congress, attention has focused on
individual program areas of the law; no comprehensive reauthorization legislation
has been introduced. However, activity on bills dealing with specific water quality
issues has occurred. Congress passed a bill to strengthen protection of coastal
recreation waters through upgraded water quality standards and coastal waters
monitoring programs (P.L. 106-284) and also passed a bill reauthorizing several
existing CWA programs (i.e., Chesapeake Bay, clean lakes, and the National Estuary
Program; P.L. 106-457). Further, Congress passed a bill to authorize CWA grant
funding for wet weather sewerage projects (included as a provision of P.L. 106-554,
FY2001 Consolidated Appropriations). The 107th Congress approved the Great
Lakes Legacy Act (P.L. 107-303), which authorized $200 million for EPA to carry
out projects to remediate sediment contamination in the Great Lakes. The 108th
Congress enacted legislation amending the act to extend the National Estuary
Program through FY2010 (P.L. 108-399).
More generally, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon, congressional attention has focused on security,
preparedness, and emergency response issues. Among the many topics of interest is
protection of the nation’s water infrastructure facilities (both wastewater and drinking
water) from possible physical damage, biological/chemical attacks, and cyber
disruption.2 Policymakers are considering a number of legislative options in this
area, including enhanced physical security, communication and coordination, and
research. Physical security of wastewater treatment plant operations is one issue
under consideration. In the 108th Congress, the House passed legislation to provide
$200 million in grants for security activities at wastewater treatment plants (H.R.
866). A similar Senate bill was approved by the Senate Environment and Public
Works Committee (S. 1039). No further action occurred, due in part to concerns
expressed by some that the legislation would not require that vulnerability
assessments be mandatory and be submitted to EPA, as is the case with assessments

2 For information, see CRS Report RL32189, Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the
Water Infrastructure Sector, by Claudia Copeland and Betsy Cody.

of drinking water utilities required by the 2002 Bioterrorism Preparedness Act (P.L.

107-288). The issue again received attention in the 109th Congress.3

Although much progress has been made in achieving the ambitious goals
established in the law 30-plus years ago to restore the maintain the chemical,
physical, and biological integrity of rivers, lakes, and coastal waters, problems
persist. Based on the limited water quality monitoring that is done by states, EPA
reported in the 2000 National Water Quality Inventory Report that 39% of assessed
river and stream miles and 45% of assessed lake acres do not meet applicable water
quality standards and were found to be impaired for one or more desired uses.4 The
types of remaining water quality problems are diverse, ranging from runoff from
farms and ranches, city streets, and other diffuse sources, to metals (especially
mercury), organic and inorganic toxic substances discharged from factories, sewage
treatment plants, and nonpoint sources.
The Bush Administration has been reviewing a number of current clean water
programs and rules but has proposed few new initiatives. In January 2003, the
agency announced a Water Quality Trading Policy intended as an innovative
approach to assist industry and municipalities in meeting Clean Water Act
obligations. Trading allows one source to meet regulatory requirements by using
pollutant reductions created by another source that has lower pollution control costs.
The policy revised a May 2002 proposal which reflected lessons learned from a
similar policy issued by the Clinton Administration in 1996. Water quality or
effluent trading projects have occurred in the United States since the early 1980s.5
Congressional oversight of the act’s implementation during this time has been
wide-ranging, extending from review of the state and needs of the nation’s
wastewater infrastructure, to CWA enforcement, implementation of wetlands
protection and regulatory efforts, and examination of various EPA policies and
programs. As a result of the 2006 mid-term elections and changed leadership in the
House and Senate, many observers anticipate that the 110th Congress will pursue
vigorous oversight of clean water and other environmental programs. The direction
and agenda for such activities is uncertain.
State Revolving Fund Program
Meeting the nation’s needs to build, upgrade, rebuild, and repair wastewater
infrastructure is a significant element in achieving the Clean Water Act’s water
quality objectives. The act’s program of financial aid for municipal wastewater
treatment plant construction is a key contributor to that effort. Since 1972 Congress

3 See CRS Report RL33465, Clean Water Act: A Review of Issues in the 109th Congress, by
Claudia Copeland.
4 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The National Water Quality Inventory: 2000
Report,Washington, September 2002, EPA-841-R-2-001, 207 p.
5 For information, see CRS Report RS21403, EPA’s Water Quality Trading Policy, by
Claudia Copeland.

has provided more than $76 billion to assist wastewater treatment construction, but
funding needs remain very high: an additional $181 billion nationwide for all types
of projects eligible for funding under the act, according to the most recent Needs
Survey estimate by EPA and the states, published in August 2003.6 In September
2002, EPA released a study called the Gap Analysis that assesses the difference
between current spending for wastewater infrastructure and total funding needs (both
capital and operation and maintenance).7 In that report, EPA estimated that, over the
next two decades, the United States needs to spend nearly $390 billion to replace
existing wastewater infrastructure systems and to build new ones. Funding needs for
operation and maintenance (not eligible for Clean Water Act funding) are an
additional $148 billion, the agency estimated. According to the Gap Analysis, if
there is no increase in investment, there will be about a $6 billion gap between
current annual capital expenditures for wastewater treatment ($13 billion annually)
and projected spending needs. The study also estimated that, if wastewater spending
increases by 3% annually, the gap would shrink by nearly 90% (to about $1 billion
annually). At issue has been what should be the federal role in assisting states and
cities, especially in view of such high projected funding needs.
Debate over the nature of the nation’s efforts regarding wastewater
infrastructure was a central and controversial part of the 1987 amendments to the act.
The amendments extended through FY1990 the traditional Title II program of grants
for sewage treatment project construction, under which the federal share was 55% of
project costs. The 1987 law initiated a program of grants to capitalize State Water
Pollution Control Revolving Funds (SRFs), or loan programs, in a new Title VI.
States are required to deposit an amount equal to at least 20% of the federal
capitalization grant in the Fund established under Title VI. Under the revolving fund
concept, monies used for wastewater treatment construction would be repaid by loan
recipients to the states (repayment was not required for grants under the Title II
program), to be recycled for future construction in other communities, thus providing
an ongoing source of financing. The expectation in 1987 was that the federal
contributions to SRFs would assist in making a transition to full state and local
financing by FY1995. Although most states believe that the SRF is working well,
early funding and administrative problems have delayed the anticipated shift to full
state responsibility. Thus, SRF issues have been prominent on the Clean Water Act
reauthorization agenda in recent Congresses.8
SRF monies may be used for certain types of financial activity, including loans
for as much as 100% of project costs (at or below market interest rates, including
interest-free loans), to buy or refinance cities’ debt obligation, or as a source of
revenue or security for payment of principal and interest on a state-issued bond. SRF
monies also may be used to provide loan guarantees or credit enhancement for
localities. Loans made by a state from its SRF are to be used first to assure progress

6 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Watersheds Needs Survey 2000, Report to
Congress, Washington, August 2003, EPA 832-03-001, 1 vol.
7 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Clean Water and Drinking Water
Infrastructure Gap Analysis, September 2002, EPA 816-R-02-020, 50 p.
8 For further information, see CRS Report 98-323, Wastewater Treatment: Overview and
Background, by Claudia Copeland.

towards the goals of the act and, in particular, on projects to meet the standards and
enforceable requirements of the act. After states achieve those requirements of the
act, SRF monies also may be used to implement nonpoint pollution management and
national estuary programs.
Table 1 summarizes wastewater treatment funding under Title II (traditional9
grants program) and Title VI (capitalization grants for revolving loan programs).
One issue of continuing interest is impacts on small communities. These
entities in particular have found it difficult to participate in the SRF loan program,
since many are characterized by narrow or weak tax bases, limited or no access to
capital markets, lower relative household incomes, and higher per capita needs. They
often find it harder to borrow to meet their capital needs and pay relatively high
premiums to do so. Meeting the special needs of small towns, through a
reestablished grant program, other funding source, or loan program with special rules,
has been an issue of interest to Congress.
Congressional oversight of wastewater/SRF issues has focused on several
points, including the fact that many small communities have found it difficult to
participate in the SRF loan program, and the lack of funds for high-cost categories
of projects such as correcting combined sewer overflows. Although there has been
some criticism of the SRF program, and debate continues over specific concerns
(such as small community impacts), the basic approach is well supported in Congress
and elsewhere. Congress used the clean water SRF as the model when it established10
a drinking water SRF in 1996 (P.L. 104-182).
Table 1. Wastewater Treatment Funding
(billions of dollars)
Authorizations Appropriations
Fiscal YearTitle IITitle VITitle IITitle VI

1986$2.4 — $1.8 —

19872.4 — 2.36 —

19882.4 — 2.3 —

1989 1.2 1.2 0.941 0.941
1990 1.2 1.2 0.967 0.967
1991 — 2.4 — 2.1
1992 — 1.8 — 1.95
1993 — 1.2 — 1.93

1994 — 0.6 — 1.22

9 Note: Table 1 does not include appropriations for special project grants in individual cities.
Issues associated with special project grants are discussed in CRS Report RL32201, Water
Infrastructure Project Earmarks in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications,
by Claudia Copeland.
10 For further information, see CRS Report RS22037, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund:
Program Overview and Issues, by Mary Tiemann.

Authorizations Appropriations
Fiscal YearTitle IITitle VITitle IITitle VI
1995 — — — 1.24
1996 — — — 2.07
1997 — — — 0.625
1998 — — — 1.35
1999 — — — 1.35
2000 — — — 1.345
2001 — — — 1.35
2002 — — — 1.35
2003 — — — 1.34
2004 — — — 1.34
2005 — — — 1.09
2006 — — — 0.887
Nonpoint Pollution Management
The 1987 amendments added a new Section 319 to the act. It required states to
develop and implement programs to control nonpoint sources of pollution, or rainfall
runoff from farm and urban areas, as well as construction, forestry, and mining sites.
Previously, they had largely focused on controlling point sources, while helping
states and localities to plan for management of diverse nonpoint sources. Yet, as
industrial and municipal sources have abated pollution, uncontrolled nonpoint
sources have become a relatively larger portion of remaining water quality problems
— perhaps contributing as much as 50% of the nation’s water pollution. Thus, the
addition of Section 319 to the act was intended to strengthen the law regarding this
major contributor to water pollution, which previously had received limited attention.
At issue today is what progress is being made to manage nonpoint source pollution
and what additional efforts may be needed involving Section 319 or other public and
private activities. Some observers are critical of the largely voluntary nature of the
Section 319 program, consisting of “all carrot but no stick,” while others argue that
the types of individual land management decisions that are needed to manage
nonpoint source pollution cannot be regulated in the same ways that industrial
sources are controlled.
States were required to identify waters not expected to meet water quality
standards because of nonpoint source pollution and to implement plans for managing
pollution from runoff. Federal grants totaling $400 million were authorized to cover
as much as 60% of the costs of implementing a state’s management plan.
The funding issue has become more urgent as states moved from assessment and
plan development to management, since Congress intended that Section 319 funds
be used primarily to implement nonpoint pollution controls on the ground. EPA has
urged states to use a portion of monies that they receive under Section 106 of the act
(water quality program assistance grants) for nonpoint source activities. But, doing

so utilizes money otherwise needed for core state efforts, such as permit issuance,
monitoring, enforcement, etc. Several concerns have been raised about the Section

319 program.

Adequacy of Plans. Whether state plans have comprehensively addressed
nonpoint pollution problems is a lingering question. Some environmental groups
criticize EPA for providing inadequate guidance on methods, or management
practices, to advance control of nonpoint sources beyond known problems and
existing implementation steps, such as voluntary compliance and public education.
Moreover, some believe that states should be required to repeat the nonpoint source
assessments, which were one-time-only activities under the 1987 law, in order to
reflect improvements in technical and scientific information.
Funding. Precise estimates of the cost to manage nonpoint source pollution
are not available, because so much depends on the site-specific nature of problems
and solutions. However, in 1994 EPA estimated that current and planned spending
by private sources, states, and cities under provisions of current law is between $750
million and $1.1 billion per year. Without adequate funding to implement state
management plans, it is doubtful that much will be achieved under Section 319 to
control nonpoint source pollution.
Because agricultural activities are known to be a significant source of nonpoint
pollution nationwide, the adequacy of efforts to address these sources has received
much attention. Questions have been raised about the EPA state grant program’s
efficacy and overlap with farm bill conservation funding, leading to proposed
reductions in FY2004 and FY2005 appropriations for Section 319 funds. In
particular, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) found that
EPA had not demonstrated results under the program and has urged the agency to
shift its focus away from implementing projects in agricultural areas and toward
implementing plans in impaired waters. State officials have been concerned that
OMB is not fully aware of the extent to which Section 319 funds address a range of
nonpoint pollution control needs beyond the agricultural sector.
Program Changes. In the mid-1990s, EPA and states negotiated changes
intended to give the 319 program a new framework by giving states more flexibility.
As a result, in 1996, EPA issued revised guidance concerning state management of
nonpoint source programs that is intended to recognize that federal and state
processes need to be streamlined to increase program effectiveness and to speed
progress towards solving nonpoint pollution problems. The revised guidance
outlines nine key elements to be reflected in state programs (e.g., strong partnerships
with stakeholders, explicit short- and long-term goals for protecting surface and
ground waters). States that meet the nine criteria can be designated as leadership
states, making them eligible for incentives such as multi-year grants, reduced amount
and frequency of reporting, and self-assessment by states themselves. These
incentives contrast with the previous program approach, in which states competed for
grants and those that did not meet particular requirements received less grant money.
Significance for TMDLs. Attention has focused on nonpoint source
management efforts as a result of recent emphasis by EPA and states on meeting
TMDL requirements (see “TMDL Requirements,” next). Scrutiny of nonpoint

pollution problems and how they are being addressed has intensified as policymakers
and program officials assess additional steps to continue progress towards the act’s
water quality goals. For several years, EPA has been explicitly linking
implementation of Section 319 with TMDL activities. For example, in 2001, EPA
published guidance saying that grants awarded under Section 319 should have a
concentrated focus on the development and implementation of TMDLs for nonpoint
sources of pollution, although funds will still be awarded to activities other than
TMDLs. However, states and agricultural interests criticized the guidance as being
too restrictive, and in August 2002, EPA modified the guidance which continues to
encourage development of nonpoint source TMDLs but gives states more flexibility
to do so, especially in areas that lack formally established TMDLs. Since FY2001,
$100 million of Section 319 grant funds (which totaled $204 million in FY2006, for
example) is being devoted annually to developing and implementing nonpoint source
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Requirements
In the 1972 Clean Water Act, Congress recognized that, in many cases, pollutant
controls implemented by industry and municipalities would be insufficient to attain
water quality standards, due in part to pollutant contributions from unregulated
sources. Thus, Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to identify water
segments that remain impaired even after application of pollution control technology
and develop “total maximum daily loads” (TMDLs) that set the maximum amount
of pollution that a water body can receive without violating water quality standards.
If a state fails to do so, EPA is required to develop a priority list for the state and
make its own TMDL determination. Most states have lacked the resources to do
TMDL analyses, which involve complex assessment of point and nonpoint sources
and mathematical modeling, and EPA has both been reluctant to override states and
has also lacked resources to do the analyses. Thus, for many years there was little
implementation of the provision that Congress enacted in 1972. At issue today is
continuing controversy over implementation of this program which is intended to
address uncontrolled sources of water quality impairment and efforts to revise the
rules and requirements for it.
In recent years, national and local environmental groups have filed lawsuits in
38 states against EPA and states for failure to fulfill requirements of the act. Of the
suits tried or settled to date, 22 have resulted in court orders requiring EPA to
develop TMDLs expeditiously. EPA and state officials have been concerned about
diverting resources from other high-priority water quality activities in order to meet
the courts’ orders. In 1996, EPA created an advisory committee to solicit advice on
the TMDL problem. Recommendations from the advisory committee formed the
basis of program changes that EPA proposed in August 1999. This proposal set forth
criteria for states, territories, and authorized Indian tribes to identify impaired waters
and establish all TMDLs within 15 years. It proposed more comprehensive

assessments of waterways, detailed cleanup plans, and timetables for
The 1999 proposal was highly controversial because of issues such as burdens
on states to implement a revised TMDL program and potential impacts on some
agriculture and forestry sources which are not now subject to CWA regulations. The
controversies also drew congressional attention, and 13 congressional hearings were
held during the 106th Congress by four separate House and Senate committees.
Public and congressional pressure on EPA to revise or withdraw the TMDL proposal
entirely was great. Several bills to modify EPA’s TMDL proposals or delay
implementation of final rules were introduced, but none was enacted.
TMDL issues also were addressed in FY2001 appropriations bills. In July 2000,
Congress approved an FY2001 Military Construction and emergency supplemental
appropriations bill that included a provision to prevent EPA from spending any funds
in FY2000 or FY2001 to finalize or implement new TMDL rules. President Clinton
signed the bill, in spite of the TMDL restriction, which the Administration opposed
(P.L. 106-246). However, the EPA Administrator signed the new rules two days
before the President signed the bill but delayed the effective date until October 2001,
when the limitation in P.L. 106-246 would expire. EPA’s signing of the rule before
the rider took effect led to more criticism.
The FY2001 appropriations act providing funds for EPA, P.L. 106-377,
included report language mandating studies by the National Academy of Sciences
(NAS) and EPA on the scientific basis of the TMDL program and on the potential
costs to states and businesses of implementing the revised TMDL rules. The NAS
report, examining the role of science in the TMDL program, was issued in June
2001.12 It did not specifically analyze the July 2000 revised regulations. The NAS
panel concluded that scientific knowledge exists to move forward with the TMDL
program and recommended that EPA and states use adaptive implementation for
TMDL development. In many cases, the report said, water quality problems and
solutions are obvious and should proceed without complex analysis. In other cases,
solutions are more complex and require a different level of understanding and
something like phased implementation. A House Transportation subcommittee held
a hearing on the NAS report in June 2001. In August 2001, EPA issued a draft report
on costs of the 2000 TMDL program. It estimated that average annual costs to states
and EPA of developing TMDLs could be $63-$69 million, while implementation
costs for pollutant sources could be between $900 million and $4.3 billion per year,
depending on states’ actions.13 The General Accounting Office (now the Government
Accountability Office) reported in 2002 that inconsistent monitoring, data collection,

11 For additional information, see CRS Report 97-831, Clean Water Act and Total Maximum
Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants, by Claudia Copeland.
12 National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, Assessing the TMDL
Approach to Water Quality Management, National Academy Press, Washington, DC., June

2001, 82 p.

13 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The National Costs of the Total Maximum Daily
Load Program (Draft Report), EPA 841-D-01-003, Aug. 1, 2001, 1 vol.

and listing procedures used by states to identify impaired waters have hindered
efforts to develop effective TMDL programs.14
The Bush Administration announced in October 2001 that it would delay the
effective date of the 2000 rule until April 30, 2003, to allow for further review. That
announcement came after a federal court granted the Administration’s request for a
similar 18-month suspension of litigation which challenged the regulation (nearly a
dozen interest groups sued EPA over various parts of the TMDL rule). A House
Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee held an oversight hearing in
November 2001 concerning EPA’s plans to revise the rule. Most recently, on March

19, 2003, EPA withdrew the July 2000 TMDL rule (68 Federal Register 13607).

EPA officials said that additional time beyond May 2003 was needed to decide
whether and how to revise the current program and that allowing the rule to take
effect would have disrupted ongoing review efforts. In the interim and continuing
for the present time, current program requirements under existing regulations issued
in 1992 and court-sanctioned TMDL schedules remain in place.
Having withdrawn the 2000 rule, EPA has reportedly been considering other
options, including initiating an entirely new rule, but no specific plans have been
announced. In mid-2002, EPA developed a draft revised rule that it informally
circulated among interest groups and federal agencies for many months, but no
formal proposal has occurred. One EPA view, widely reported, is that a new rule is
not essential, because EPA believes that states are and will continue to improve the
pace at which TMDLs are established, even under existing rules. Most
environmentalists say that, short of retaining the 2000 rule, the best action would be
to leave the 1992 rules in place, because, despite flaws, those rules are preferable to
a new rule that might significantly weaken the program. States, cities, and industry
groups have urged EPA to develop a new rule with more flexibility than either the

1992 regulations or the 2000 revisions.

Other Issues
A number of other issues affecting efforts to achieve the goals and objectives
of the Clean Water Act continue to receive attention, as well.
Stormwater Discharges. EPA has struggled since the 1970s to regulate
industrial and municipal stormwater discharges in a workable yet comprehensive
manner. In P.L. 100-4, Congress established firm deadlines and priorities for EPA
to require permits for discharges of stormwater that are not mixed or contaminated
with household or industrial waste. EPA issued rules in November 1990 (21 months
after the statutory deadline) that addressed Phase I of the program, detailing the
process of applying for stormwater permits for industries, medium and large
municipalities, and construction sites larger than 5 acres. The agency worked with
an advisory committee of stakeholders beginning in 1994 to develop rules for

14 U.S. Government Accountability Office, Water Quality: Inconsistent State Approaches
Complicate Nation’s Efforts to Identify Its Most Polluted Waters, GAO-02-186, June 2001,

41 p.

regulating smaller stormwater dischargers, which were not covered by the 1990 rules.
Rules for smaller dischargers (unregulated industries, small construction sites, and
small cities), Phase II of the program, were issued in October 1999. The burden of
complying with the rules continues to be an issue with many affected industries and
municipalities, especially small cities, which faced compliance deadlines beginning
in March 2003.15
Stormwater issues were addressed in one provision of omnibus energy
legislation in the 109th Congress. As the March 2003 compliance deadline
approached for Phase II small construction sites to comply with existing stormwater
permit rules, EPA proposed a two-year extension of those rules for small oil and gas
construction sites, to allow the agency to assess the economic impact on that
particular industry. In March 2005, EPA again extended the deadline, until June
2006. During this time, Congress considered a legislative solution, which it enacted
in Section 323 of H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It provides a permanent
exemption from stormwater runoff rules for the construction of exploration and
production facilities by oil and gas companies or the roads that service those sites.
Industry officials said that EPA’s original stormwater rule created costly
permitting requirements, even though the short construction period for drilling sites
carries little potential for stormwater runoff pollution. The provision in H.R. 6
makes EPA’s temporary delay permanent and makes it applicable to construction
activities at all oil and gas development and production sites, regardless of size,
including those covered by an earlier Phase I of the stormwater program. Opponents
argued that the provision did not belong in the energy legislation and that there was
no evidence that construction at oil and gas sites causes less pollution than other
construction activities. Congress passed the conference report on H.R. 6, with the
oil and gas stormwater provision, in July 2005. President Bush signed it into law on
August 8 (P.L. 109-58). In June 2006, EPA promulgated a rule to conform the CWA
to these provisions of P.L. 109-58.16
Combined and Separate Sewer Overflows. A total of 772 municipalities
have combined sewers where domestic sanitary sewage, industrial wastes, infiltration
from groundwater, and stormwater runoff are collected. These systems serve
approximately 40 million persons, mainly in older urban and coastal cities. Normally
(under dry-weather conditions), the combined wastes are conveyed to a municipal
sewage treatment plant.
Properly designed, sized, and maintained combined sewers can be an acceptable
part of a city’s water pollution control infrastructure. However, combined sewer
overflow (CSO) occurs when the capacity of the collection and treatment system is
exceeded due to high volumes of rainwater or snowmelt, and the excess volume is

15 For further information, see CRS Report 97-290, Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA’s
Regulatory Program, by Claudia Copeland.
16 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Amendments to the National Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System (NPDES) Regulations for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Oil
and Gas Exploration, Production, Processing, or Treatment Operations, or Transmission
Facilities,” 71 Federal Register 33628, June 12, 2006.

diverted and discharged directly into receiving waters, bypassing the sewage
treatment plants. Often the excess flow that contains raw sewage, industrial wastes,
and stormwater is discharged untreated. Many combined sewer systems are found
in coastal areas where recreational areas, fish habitat and shellfish beds may be
contaminated by the discharges.
In 1994, following negotiations with key stakeholder groups, EPA issued a CSO
permitting strategy. Cities were to implement nine minimum controls by January 1,
1997 (e.g., proper operation and maintenance programs for sewer systems and
pollution prevention programs). The EPA strategy did not contain a deadline for
issuance of permits or for controlling CSOs. Deadlines will be contained in plans
developed by permitting authorities, which primarily are states. Controls are available
and generally are based on combinations of management techniques (such as
temporary retention of excess flow during storm events) and structural measures
(ranging from screens that capture solids to construction of separate sewer systems).
EPA officials stated in 1998 that only about one-half of the cities with combined
sewers implemented the minimum measures called for in the 1994 strategy. EPA is
now working with states to remind cities of their obligations to address CSO
problems. However, a formal enforcement strategy is not contemplated.
A more recent issue concerning some cities is the problem of overflows from
municipal separate sanitary sewers (SSOs) that are not CSOs because they transport
only sanitary wastes. Discharges of untreated sewage from these sewers occur from
manholes, broken pipes and deteriorated infrastructure, and undersized pipes, and can
occur in wet or dry weather. EPA estimates that there are about 18,000
municipalities with separate sanitary sewers, all of which can, under certain
circumstances, experience overflows. No explicit EPA or statutory control policy
currently exists. In 1995, EPA convened a stakeholders’ group to discuss how to
address those overflows that pose the highest environmental and public health risk
first. On January 5, 2001, the Clinton Administration finalized regulations to
improve the operation of municipal sanitary sewer collection systems, reduce the
frequency and occurrence of overflows, clarify the existing CWA prohibition on SSO
discharges, and clarify circumstances appropriate for enforcement action. The
Clinton proposal was not finalized and remains under review by the Bush
Funding for CSO and SSO projects is a major concern of states and cities. The
most recent clean water needs survey estimating the cost of projects to meet
objectives of the CWA found that the largest needs category, totaling $51 billion, is
to address CSOs. EPA estimates that costs to restrict SSOs are $88.5 billion. In
December 2000, Congress passed legislation, the Wet Weather Water Quality Act,
authorizing a two-year $1.5 billion grant program to reduce wet weather flows from
municipal sewer systems, both CSOs and SSOs. This bill was included in the
FY2001 consolidated appropriations bill (Section 112 of Division B, P.L. 106-554),
which codified EPA’s CSO policy on sewer overflows (discussed above). Congress
provided no appropriations for these wet weather grants during the two years of
authorization (FY2002-FY2003).
Wetlands. Public debate over the nation’s wetlands has come to focus on
questions of the effectiveness and costs of wetland resource protection efforts, rather

than on whether such resources should be preserved. The permit program authorized
by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act is one of the major federal programs that
protects wetlands. However, environmentalists and others have criticized Section
404 as being inadequate to prevent the continuing loss of wetlands, due to statutory
exemption of certain types of actions on farmlands and weak enforcement. Those
wishing to develop wetlands maintain that existing laws are already an intrusion on
private land-use decisions and that further federal involvement is unwarranted.
How best to protect remaining wetlands and regulate activities taking place in
wetlands has become one of the most contentious environmental policy issues facing
Congress and was a prominent element of clean water debate during the 103rd and
104th Congresses. Although there has been no recent legislative activity on Section

404, committee hearings were held on several issues arising from judicial decisions,

administrative actions of interest, and implementation of current law. Particular
attention has focused on issues related to a 2001 Supreme Court case which
narrowed the government’s regulatory jurisdiction over isolated waters, Solid Waste
Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (531
U.S. 159 (2001)). Since that ruling, some federal courts have interpreted SWANCC
narrowly, thus limiting its effect on current permit rules, while a few have read the
decision more broadly.
On February 21, 2006, the Supreme Court heard arguments in two more cases
brought by landowners (Rapanos v. United States; Carabell v. U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers) seeking to narrow the scope of the Section 404 permit program. The
Court’s ruling was issued on June 19 (Rapanos , v. United States, 126 S.Ct. 2208
(2006)). In a 5-4 decision, a plurality of the Court, led by Justice Scalia, held that the
lower court had applied an incorrect standard to determine whether the wetlands at
issue are covered by the CWA. Justice Kennedy joined this plurality to vacate the
lower court decisions and remand the cases for further consideration, but he took
different positions on most of the substantive issues raised by the cases, as did four
other dissenting justices. Early judgments by legal observers suggest that the
implications of the ruling (both short-term and long-term) are far from clear.
Because the several opinions written by the justices did not draw a clear line
regarding what wetlands and other waters are subject to federal jurisdiction, one
likely result is more case-by-case determinations and continuing litigation. There
also could be renewed pressure on the Corps and EPA to clarify the issues through
an administrative rulemaking.17 The Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee held a hearing on issues raised by the Court’s ruling on August 1, 2006.
Members and a number of witnesses urged EPA and the Corps to issue new guidance
to clarify the scope of the ruling. Federal officials testifying before the committee
said that they hope to do so, but they did not indicate when new guidance would be
On January 15, 2003, EPA and the Corps issued guidance to their staffs in the
field for regulating in light of SWANCC and related cases. At the same time, the

17 For additional information, see CRS Report RL33263, The Wetlands Coverage of the
Clean Water Act is Revisited by the Supreme Court: Rapanos and Carabell, by Robert Meltz
and Claudia Copeland.

agencies issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), seeking
public comment on possible rule changes not yet proposed but which may be needed
in response to the legal decisions. The agencies received more than 130,000 public
comments on the ANPRM, most of them negative, according to EPA and the Corps.
Since the 2001 ruling, House and Senate committees have held several hearings to
examine issues and frustrations arising from government and judicial interpretations
of the decision. In December 2003, EPA and the Corps announced that the
Administration would not pursue development of rule changes concerning federal
regulatory jurisdiction over isolated wetlands. The EPA Administrator said that the
Administration wanted to avoid a contentious and lengthy rulemaking debate over
the issue. Environmentalists and state representatives expressed relief at the
announcement. Interest groups on all sides have been critical of confusion in
implementing the 2003 guidance, which constitutes the main tool for interpreting the
reach of the SWANCC decision. However, environmentalists remain concerned
about diminished protection resulting from the 2003 guidance, while developers said
that without a new rule, confusing and contradictory interpretations of wetland rules
likely will continue.18
Strategy Concerning Animal Feeding Operations. As noted previously,
EPA’s water quality reports identify agricultural activities as the leading contributor
to water quality impairments nationwide. Animal feeding operations (AFOs) are
only a subset of the agriculture category, but because more than half of the states
specifically identify AFOs as contributing to impairments, public and policy attention
has increased on how to minimize public health and environmental impacts of runoff
from them. AFOs are agricultural facilities that confine livestock feeding activities,
thus concentrating animal populations and waste. Animal waste is frequently applied
to land for disposal and to utilize the nutrient value of manure to benefit crops. If not
managed properly, however, it can pose risks to water quality and public health,
contributing pollutants such as nutrients, sediment, pathogens, and ammonia to the
environment. In 1999, EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture initiated a
national AFO strategy to improve compliance and strengthen regulations that are
intended to control adverse environmental impacts of these agricultural activities.
Clean water regulations, issued in the 1970s, required discharge permits for the
largest AFOs, termed confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). However, EPA
acknowledged that compliance and enforcement of these permit rules was poor (less
than one-third of covered facilities actually have permits) and that the regulations
themselves were outdated. In December 2000, EPA proposed a rule to increase the
number of AFOs required to obtain CWA permits and to restrict land application of
animal wastes. In May 2001, a House Transportation and Infrastructure
subcommittee held an oversight hearing on the proposal. Issues that Congress has
addressed include impacts and costs imposed on the agricultural sector, especially
small farmers, and how the proposed combination of regulatory and incentive-based

18 For additional information, see CRS Report RL33483, Wetlands: An Overview of Issues,
by Jeffrey Zinn and Claudia Copeland.

measures in the 1999 National AFO Strategy would achieve control of agricultural
runoff that adversely affects water quality.19
On December 15, 2002, the EPA Administrator signed a final revised rule to
regulate waste discharges from CAFOs. The final rule, which the agency was under
court order to issue by December 2002, modified the Clinton Administration’s 2000
proposal in a number of areas. The final rule retains much of the structure of the
existing rule, such as regulatory thresholds and definitions, but includes requirements
for development of nutrient management plans to better manage land application of
manure. EPA estimated that 15,500 CAFOs will be regulated by the rule (compared
with 26,000-39,000 under the proposal), at an annual compliance cost of $335
million (versus $850-$980 million under the proposal). Farm groups said that the
regulations are generally workable and consistent with environmental initiatives in
the 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171), but environmental groups criticized the rule for
inadequately addressing animal waste runoff problems.20 A January 2003 GAO
report concluded that the rule will be ineffective unless EPA increases its oversight
of state regulatory programs, which have primary responsibility for ensuring
compliance by feedlot operators.21
In February 2005, a federal court issued a ruling in a set of challenges to the
CAFO rule (Waterkeeper Alliance, American Farm Bureau, et al. v. EPA, 399 F.3d
486 (2d Cir. 2005)). The litigation involved challenges to the permitting scheme of
the rule, the type of discharges subject to regulation, and the effluent limitations
established in the rules. The court upheld major parts of the EPA rule, held in favor
of some of industry’s challenges, held in favor of several of environmentalists’
challenges, and in some cases directed EPA to explain more fully why it did or did
not do certain things with regard to specific provisions of the rule. It remanded the
rule to EPA in light of the court’s ruling. The court overturned the “duty to apply”
part of the rule, which industry had challenged, that would require all CAFOs to
apply for a permit. It also rejected parts of the rule that had been challenged by
environmentalists as inadequate, regarding regulatory review of permits, inclusion
of nutrient management plans in CAFO permits, and public participation
requirements. The court also directed EPA to clarify its rationale for several
technical parts of the 2003 regulations. In June 2006, EPA proposed revisions to the
CAFO rules in response to the court’s decision and expects to promulgate revised
regulations by June 2007.22

19 For additional information, see CRS Report RL30437, Water Quality Initiatives and
Agriculture, by Claudia Copeland.
20 For additional information, see CRS Report RL31851, Animal Waste and Water Quality:
EPA Regulation of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, by Claudia Copeland.
21 U.S. Government Accountability Office, Increased EPA Oversight Will Improve
Environmental Program for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, GAO-03-285,
January 2003, 42 p.
22 For additional information, see CRS Report RL33656, Animal Waste and Water Quality:
EPA’s Response to the “Waterkeeper Alliance” Court Decision on Regulation of CAFOs,
by Claudia Copeland.

Continuing Issue:
Appropriations and the Federal Budget
Although the 1987 Clean Water Act amendments dealt extensively with
financial aid issues, funding questions have continued to arise and be addressed in
the context of appropriations.23
FY2007. The President’s FY2007 budget requested $687.6 million for clean
water SRF capitalization grants, 22% less than was appropriated in FY2006 (see
following section) and 37% below the FY2005 funding level. As in recent budgets,
the Administration proposed no funding for congressionally designated water
infrastructure grants, but it did seek a total of $40.6 million for Administration
priority projects in Puerto Rico, Alaska Native villages, and at the U.S.-Mexico
border. Advocates of the SRF program (especially state and local government
officials) contended that the cuts would impair their ability to carry out needed
municipal wastewater treatment plant improvement projects. Administration officials
said that cuts for the SRF in FY2007 were necessary because Congress boosted funds
above the requested level in FY2005 and FY2006. A group of state environmental
officials contended that the budget unfairly targeted state and local environmental
On May 18 the House passed H.R. 5386 (H.Rept. 109-465), providing the
requested level of $687.6 million for clean water SRF grants. The Senate
Appropriations Committee approved the same funding level for clean water SRF
grants when it reported H.R. 5386 on June 29 (S.Rept. 109-275). However, theth
Senate did not act on this bill before the 109 Congress adjourned in December 2006,
thus delaying final action until early 2007. The amount included in both bills for
these clean water grants is significant because, if enacted at that level in a final
FY2007 measure, it would be first time since FY1997 that Congress has not
appropriated more than was requested in the President’s budget. Both bills included
funds for congressionally earmarked water infrastructure project grants ($200 million
in the House bill, $210 million in the Senate bill), which the Administration did not
The House-passed bill included $29.6 million for cleanup of contaminated
sediments in the Great Lakes ($20 million less than requested), $204 million for
Section 319 grants ($10 million more than requested), and $221.7 million for Section
106 state program administration grants (as requested). The Senate-reported bill
included slightly different amounts for these programs: $30.6 million for cleanup of
contaminated sediments in the Great Lakes, $200 million for Section 319 grants, and
$218.7 million for Section 106 grants.
During debate on H.R. 5386, the House approved an amendment (by a 222-198
vote) to block EPA from spending funds to implement controversial 2003 policy
guidance that limited Clean Water Act jurisdiction over isolated streams, wetlands,

23 For additional information, see CRS Report 96-647, Water Infrastructure Financing:
History of EPA Appropriations, by Claudia Copeland.

ponds, and other non-navigable intrastate waters. The guidance, issued jointly by
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, was intended to interpret the scope of the
act’s jurisdiction following the 2001 Supreme Court SWANCC case (discussed
above, see “Wetlands”). Supporters of the amendment said that the guidance goes
beyond what the Supreme Court required in SWANCC, has allowed many streams
and wetlands to be unprotected from development, and has been more confusing than
helpful. Opponents predicted that the amendment would make EPA’s and the Corps’
job of regulating activities that affect wetlands more difficult than it already is.24
When the 109th Congress adjourned in December 2006, it had not completed
action on appropriations legislation to fund EPA (or on nine other appropriations
bills covering the majority of domestic discretionary agencies and departments), thus
carrying over this legislative activity into the 110th Congress. Congress enacted a
continuing resolution, P.L. 109-383 (the third such continuing resolution since the
start of the fiscal year on October 1), providing funds for EPA and the other affected
agencies and departments until February 15, 2007.
FY2006. In July 2005, the House and Senate approved legislation providing
FY2006 appropriations for EPA (H.R. 2361, H.Rept. 109-188). President Bush
signed the bill into law on August 2 (P.L. 109-54). One of the most controversial
issues in the bill concerned funding for clean water SRF grants. The final measure
included $900 million for these grants — $170 million more than requested by the
President for 2006. In its budget submission for FY2006, the Administration had
requested $730 million for SRF grants, 17.5% less than the FY2005 appropriation
and 45.6% below the FY2004 funding level, and said that cuts for the SRF in
FY2006 were because Congress boosted funds above their requested level in
FY2005. The White House said that it plans to invest a total of $6.8 billion in the
clean water SRF program between FY2004 and FY2011, after which federal funding
would end and the state SRFs would have an annual revolving level of $3.4 billion.
If Congress were to appropriate more than EPA requests in any given year, the
Administration said, that target will be met sooner, leading to reduced requests for
the SRF in subsequent years until a planned phaseout in FY2011. State and local
officials contended that the SRF reductions will impede their ability to meet clean
water goals. The President’s budget also requested no funds for congressionally
earmarked water infrastructure projects, but did seek $70 million in funding for
Administration priorities — U.S.-Mexico border projects and Alaska Native Villages
The final measure as passed by Congress exceeded the Administration’s request
by providing $900 million for clean water SRF grants and $285 million for a total of
259 earmarked special projects. However, these totals were reduced slightly as a
result of a provision in P.L. 109-54 requiring a 0.476% across-the-board rescission
for all accounts in that bill, and were reduced further by another across-the-board
rescission of 1.0% affecting all domestic programs except those for veterans that
Congress included in a subsequent appropriations bill, P.L. 109-148. As a result of
the two required rescissions, the final FY2006 appropriations for clean water SRF

24 For information, see CRS Report RL33483, Wetlands: An Overview of Issues.

grants is $886.8 million, and the total amount provided for earmarked water
infrastructure project grants is $280.8 million.
The President’s FY2006 budget included increases for some water quality
programs (in particular, requesting $50 million for cleanup of Great Lakes
contaminated sediment, up from $22 million in FY2005). The budget also included
increases for some categorical clean water grant programs (Section 106 state grants
for program administration, $23.6 million more than in FY2005; and Section 319
nonpoint source pollution management grants, $1.8 million more than in FY2005)
and decreases elsewhere in order to fund other Administration priorities (such as
elimination of Water Quality Cooperative Agreement grants, which support a variety
of innovative permitting, management, and research projects and were funded at $17
million in FY2005). As enacted, P.L. 109-54 provided $30 million for cleanup of
Great Lakes contaminated sediment. It included nonpoint source pollution grants at
the FY2005 level and Section 106 grants slightly higher than in FY2005, but less
than requested. The bill endorsed the Administration’s request for no funding of
Water Quality Cooperative Agreement grants. The final bill also included a House-
passed provision to prohibit EPA from using funds to finalize or implement a draft
policy proposed in November 2003 concerning sewage blending by municipal
wastewater treatment plants.25
For Additional Reading
Goplerud, C. Peter. “Water Pollution Law: Milestones from the Past and
Anticipation of the Future.” Natural Resources & Environment. v. 10, no. 2,
fall 1995. pp. 7-12.
Loeb, Penny. “Very Troubled Waters.” U.S. News & World Report, v. 125, no. 12,
September 28, 1998: 39, 41-42.
U.S. Congressional Budget Office. Future Investment in Drinking Water and
Wastewater Infrastructure. Washington, November 2002. 58 p.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The National Water Quality Inventory:

2000 Report. Washington, September 2002. “EPA-841-R-2-001.”

U.S. Government Accountability Office. Key EPA and State Decisions Limited by
Inconsistent and Incomplete Data. (GAO/RCED-00-54) March 2000. 73 p.
——Water Infrastructure: Information on Financing, Capital Planning, and
Privatization. (GAO-02-764) August 2002. 79 p.
——Improved EPA Guidance and Support Can Help States Develop Standards That
Better Target Cleanup Efforts. (GAO-03-308) January 2003. 74 p.

25 For information, see CRS Report RL32384, EPA’s Proposed Policy on Wastewater
Blending: Background and Issues, by Claudia Copeland.