Congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972 to keep our waters clean enough for recreational uses,
such as swimming and fishing. The CWA required states to develop water quality standards to protect all
water uses and to designate uses for each waterway. The legislation also mandated that industries and
wastewater treatment plants obtain permits that set restrictions on the discharge of specific pollutants.
These National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are designed to ensure the protection
of a stream's designated uses.