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Competency Area 7: Non-point source pollution AEM

PO 76. Understand federal, state and local laws and regulations related to NPS and Point Source pollution control.

  1. Clean Water Act
  2. Safe Drinking Water Act
  3. Coastal Zone Management Act
  4. FIFRA
  5. Local regulations

Clean Water Act – the Clean Water Act (CWA), first promulgated in 1972, is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. The Act is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection and addresses aspects of both point and NPS pollution. For a summary of what the Act contains and for more information see

Safe Drinking Water Act – the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), originally passed by Congress in 1974, is the principal federal law in the United States that ensures safe drinking water for the public. The Act sets forth primary and secondary drinking water quality standards and oversees states, localities, and water suppliers who provide public drinking water. A public water supply is an entity that provides at least 25 people. The primary drinking water standards include maximum contaminant level (MCL) or concentration thresholds set to protect human health. Secondary standards are generally related to drinking water aesthetics or are ones where MCL's have yet to be established regarding impact to human health. More information on the Act can be found at

Coastal Zone Management Act – the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), adopted in 1972, has the objective of controlling nonpoint sources of pollution that affect coastal water quality. In this regard it serves to protect bays and estuaries, including those in the Great Lakes. The nonpoint source measures of control are inextricably linked to agricultural operations in watersheds which discharge to coastal waters (Susquehanna River - Chesapeake, Hudson River - Long Island Sound). More information on the CZMA impacting agriculture can be found at

FIFRA – the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, first enacted in 1947, established the federal governments control on pesticides. The Act establishes a system of pesticide regulation, sales, distribution, and uses to protect applicators, consumers, and the environment. The Act established the registration of pesticides and pesticide applicators, and provides for oversight on intended uses, appropriate dosage, and material hazards specifications. More information can be found at

Local regulations – state and local laws have evolved to promulgate the federal laws, and in most cases follow the rules and recommendations established by federal law. Specific details regarding state and local laws are best determined by contacting state and local agencies.