October 18 marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the country’s strongest law to control water pollution and safeguard human health. Some of us who are now nearing our retirement started our careers when two-thirds of America’s waterways were unsafe for swimming or fishing. Today our waters are far cleaner. They’ve been transformed by the Clean Water Act and the innovative and hard work of water environment professionals.
We used to treat our waterways as dumpsters or trash conveyance systems, without cleaning household, community or industrial discharges. The Clean Water Act mandated that polluters — including all of us with a bathroom — should take responsibility for our wastes and that our shared water resources should be preserved for everyone to enjoy.
There’s still work to be done. Crumbling infrastructure, emerging contaminants, competing public interests and lean budgets are serious threats to clean water. Water environment professionals will face these challenges head on. And CWEA will be here to help with its training, certification and networking opportunities.
Thank you CWEA members for the often unrecognized work you do every day to uphold the Clean Water Act. Water’s Worth It.