Clean Water Agencies Continue Efforts to Ensure Clean Water, Safe Beaches

Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - August 3, 2006

For Immediate Release: August 3, 2006
Contact: Susan Bruninga, 202/833-3280

Clean Water Agencies Continue Efforts to Ensure Clean Water, Safe Beaches
NACWA Sets Record Straight on Beach Closures

The report, Testing the Waters, released today by NRDC highlights the challenges the nation faces to ensure that the beaches and coastal waters are clean and safe for swimming and recreational use. As the front lines of defense in guaranteeing clean and safe water, NACWA and its public clean water agency members take seriously their obligation to meet the stringent requirements of the Clean Water Act, even as Congress continues to cut funding necessary to build and maintain this critical infrastructure.

As the NRDC report acknowledges, there are many potential contributors to beach contamination, and it is often difficult to pinpoint the sources of this pollution. These include runoff from nonpoint sources, such as agriculture, and contamination from stormwater. Unlike nonpoint sources of pollution, public clean water agencies are strictly regulated under the Clean Water Act and are dedicated to carrying out the fishable, swimmable objectives in that law. POTWs are not the cause of pollution but the primary defense against it.

In line with this mission, NACWA has long supported improvements in monitoring. It is important to point out that the increasing number of beach closures shows the improved efficiency of this monitoring regimen, which helps keep beach-goers safe. “NACWA has worked closely with NRDC to ensure sound wet weather policies, including joining forces to support EPA’s December 2005 peak excess flow guidance proposal,” Ken Kirk, NACWA Executive Director, said. “NACWA and NRDC also both support the need for a Clean Water Trust Fund. We will continue to work with nongovernmental organizations, as well as EPA, to fulfill the critical objectives of the Clean Water Act.”

NACWA represents the interests of nearly 300 of the nation’s publicly owned wastewater treatment works, serving the majority of the sewered population in the United States, collectively treating and reclaiming over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day.

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