Standard Article

A Brief History of the Water Pollution Control Act in the U.S.

Water Law and Economics

  1. David L. Russell

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.wl121

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Russell, D. L. 2005. A Brief History of the Water Pollution Control Act in the U.S.. Water Encyclopedia. 4:651–655.

Author Information

  1. Global Environmental Operations, Inc., Lilburn, Georgia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

Abstract

The earliest significant start for water pollution control legislation in the United States began with the formation of the Ohio River Sanitary Commission (ORSANCO) in the 1940s. It was formed as a result of efforts by individuals from the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and many of the state Departments of Health. The ORSANCO compact culminated more than 10 years of work to promote public health and reduce the incidence of waterborne disease in communities along the Ohio River. ORSANCO started as an initial effort among four states, and by 1940, the compact had six states. In 1948, the seventh and eighth states signed the compact on the same day that President Harry Truman signed the first comprehensive water pollution control legislation that directed the U.S. Public Health Service to control water pollution to promote public health.

Keywords:

  • ORSANCO;
  • navigable waterways;
  • boundary waters;
  • national pollution discharge elimination system (NPDES)