50th anniversary of nation's Clean Water Act

October 17, 2022
On October 17, 1972 The Clean Water Act was signed into law.

(PHILADELPHIA) – Fifty years ago Tuesday, the nation’s first comprehensive law to protect the country’s water supply was signed into law, creating a standard of care to protect our most valuable resource – water – that the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) and its members uphold each day.

“The Clean Water Act was invaluable in controlling water pollution in the nation’s waterways and leveling the playing field on how wastewater is treated and released,” said Robert F. Powelson, NAWC president and CEO. “Protecting our water at the source provides a safer starting point for the water delivered to the taps of the 73 million Americans served by water companies each day.”

The Clean Water Act of 1972 came about after unprecedented pollution of the nation’s waterways that caused rivers to burn, killed wildlife and made waters unsafe for swimming and fishing. The success of the law can be seen in how those streams, rivers and lakes have been restored to productive, healthy waterways and through the return of wildlife and recreation.

NAWC and its member companies will continue to advocate at the federal and state levels for policies that support providing water and wastewater service that is safe, reliable and affordable such as making sure that access to clean water state revolving funds do not discriminate against classes of customers.

“For the last 50 years, NAWC members have shared a steadfast commitment to protecting the environment and to using this precious resource wisely as possible – it’s a commitment that will carry into the future,” Powelson said. “Water and wastewater companies lead the way on protecting our communities and our environment not just with the treatment of wastewater but through water and energy conservation practices that will provide for a sustainable future.”