Clean Water Act timeline -- 40 years of protection and restoration

By esdj09
  • Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

    U.s. and Canada agree to clean up the Great Lakes, which contain 95 percent of America's fresh water and supply about 25 million people with drinking water.
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    Clean Water Act passed

    Made it illegal for factories and wastewater treatment plants to release pollution to lakes and rivers without a permit
  • Federal Clean Water Act passed

    Federal Clean Water Act passed
    <a href='http://' >U.S. Congress passes the Water Pollution Control Act, which makes it illegal to discharge pollutant into waters of the nation without permits. It provided funding to upgrade municipal wastewater treatment plants and required fill and dredge permits for projects affecting wetlands. It dramatically cleaned Wisconsin lakes of visible and chemical pollution.
  • Phosphorus limits for wastewater discharges to the Great Lakes

    Consistent with the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, municipal and industrial dischargers of phosphorus in the Great Lakes Basin required to reduce their discharges to 1 miligram per liter.
  • Safe Drinking Water Act passes, assures safety of drinking water

    Safe Drinking Water Act passes, assures safety of drinking water
    Law signed authorizing EPA to establish nationwide health-based standards that public drinking water must meet, and delegates responsibility to the states to enforce the standards. Year-in, year-old, more than 96 percent of WI public water suppliers serve water that meets all health-based standards.
  • Limits on Phosphorus in Cleaning Products

    A Wisconsin law prohibited the sale or use of most cleaning products containing more than 0.5 percent phosphorus by weight, but made an exception allowing dishwashing detergents with as much as 8.7 percent phosphorus.
  • WI starts fight to reduce runoff pollution

    WI starts fight to reduce runoff pollution
    Program created to protect Wisconsin waters from runoff pollution by offering to share costs with landowners and communities that take steps to keep soil, fertilizer, street debris and construction site diret from washing into streams and lakes.
  • Federal Superfund program created

    Creates a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries to help pay for cleaning up abandoned or uncontrolled waste sites. Eventually, more than 40 sites in Wisconsin are placed on the list.
  • Wisconsin first state to reach Clean Water Act interim goal

    All facilities have their permits that set limits on visible pollution.
  • Large livestock farms required to get permits

    Largescale livestock operations required to get water quality permits. Wisconsin starts requiring farms with at least 1,000 animal units, equal to 700 milking cows, 1,000 beef steers or 55,000 turkeys, to get water quality permits detailing the manure storage, spreading, and other practices they must follow to reduce the risk of manure spills or runoff to lakes and streams since these operations produce at least a much organic pollution as a city of 18,000 people and spread it on fields, of
  • WI passes groundwater protection law

    WI passes groundwater protection law
    Wisconsin's groundwater law has been called the most commprehensive regulatory program for groundwater in the country. All state agencies involved in groundwater protection must adhere to numerical standards that definte the level at which regulatories must act to clean up pollutants in groundwater, which provides drinking water for more than two-thirds of Wisconsin residents.
  • WI passes acid rain law

    WI passes acid rain law
    This law, one of the first and strongest in the nation, launched Wisconsin into a leadership role on acid rain regulation. It required electric utilities to cut sulfur dioxide emissions, which produced acid rain that damaged animals, plants and even stone structures. Learn about the law's success in "Passing the Acid Test."
  • Partnership formed to protect WI 15,081 lakes

    Partnership formed to protect WI 15,081 lakes
    The Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, comprised of DNR, the Wisconsin Association of Lakes and UW-Extension, becomes a national model for enlisting citizen stewardship of lakes and tapping government and academic technical and educational expertise.
  • Wetland water quality standards

    Wetland water quality standards
    Wisconsin adopts wetland water quality standards, which require a state environmental review of projects that could impact wetlands. The standards have reduced the amount of yearly wetland fill by 77 percent.
  • Statewide limits on Phosphorus in Wastewater Discharge

    Municipal and industrial dischargers of phosphorus statewide are required to meet a technology-based limit of 1 miligram per liter of phosphorus.
  • WI first state to restore protection to isolated wetlands

  • Last of 4 dams on Baraboo River removed

    Last of 4 dams on Baraboo River removed
    Baraboo River now boasts a 120-mile stretch of free-flowing river, the largest in the country restored through dam removals. Read L what researchers are learning about how the river recovers.
  • WI passes nation's most complete rules to cut polluted runoff

  • WI passes law to protect groundwater quantity

    Signed on Earth Day 2004, the law expands the state's authority to consider environmental impacts of high capacity wells and institutes a framework for addressing water quantity issues in rapidly growing areas of the state. Read more:
  • WI regulates pesticide breakdown product in groundwater

    DNR adopts what are believed to be the nation’s first groundwater standards for the pesticide Alachor ESA, which has been detected in 28 percent of private wells statewide, and more than 40 percent of wells in agricultural areas.
  • Rules tightened for large livestock operations

    Rules tightened for large livestock operations
    Changes to rules governing the state's largest livestock operations, known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, prohibit them from spreading liquid manure on frozen or snow-covered ground with limited exceptions and ban spreading solid manure on frozen or snow-covered ground in February and March unless it's immediately incorporated.
  • Limits set on mercury pollution from utilities

    Utilities required to reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent by 2015, or can opt for later deadline to meet requirement to reduce mercury and other pollutants. Mercury enters lakes and river systems, accumulating in fish and willife and eventually, n the people that eat them, potentially causing health problems.
  • Comprehensive rule passed to stop invasive species

  • Fox River cleanup begins

    Multi-year project to clean up the Fox River officially starts.
  • Shoreland development rules updated

  • Limits set on total phosphorus allowed in waterbodies

    Rules settng phosphorus water quality standards criteria for lakes and rivers and related rule changes aimed at reducing phosphorus coming from industrial and municipal wastewater dischargers are adopted and allow those dischargers flexible, cost-effective ways to meet the limits. Rule changes aimed at reducing phosphorus in runoff from farms take effect Jan. 1, 2011.
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    Clean Water Act

    Landmark federal law set limits on pollution released to lakes and rivers by factories and municipal treatment plants
  • WI celebrates Clean Water Act progress on 40th anniversary

    WI celebrates Clean Water Act progress on 40th anniversary
    Wisconsin celebrates Clean Water Act progress in restoring and protecting lakes, streams and wetlands. Levels of chemical and bacterial pollutants have decreased dramatically, as seen in this graph showing a reduction in mercury in the Mississippi River.