What does the Clean Water Act do?

The 1972 Clean Water Act is the primary federal law governing water pollution. Its objective is to maintain the integrity and health of the nation’s waters to the extent that they remain swimmable, fishable, and drinkable for all generations to come. Under the act, states must adopt water quality standards (WQS) that meet this objective. Two of the major factors determining a state’s WQS are the Fish Consumption Rate and the Acceptable Cancer Risk it chooses to adopt.