In a competitive job market, you need something extra to help your resume stand out from the crowd. You may have all the required education and experience, but if you lack the extra skills and knowledge to impress, you may not get to the interview phase.
If you’re looking for a job in environmental healthy and safety or with companies that handle large amounts of chemicals, you will need to be knowledgeable about the Clean Water Act. People responsible for quality management and environmental compliance need to know the Clean Water Act well enough to explain it to someone else. This capacity will be a big boost to your resume.
Environmental compliance is complicated. Some companies may not be able to hire dedicated compliance managers or contractors. Employees who are properly trained in environmental assessment and hazards make compliance much easier.
What is the Clean Water Act?
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (the Clean Water Act) governs water pollution and surface water quality standards in the U.S. It was the first major law to address water pollution. The amendments established a regulatory structure, the authority to implement pollution control programs, and funding for sewage treatment plant construction.
The EPA implements pollution control programs for wastewater and surface water. Under the Clean Water Act, it is unlawful to discharge pollutants from point sources like a ditch or pipe into navigable waters without a permit. Installation of pollution-control technologies would be required under the permits.
The Clean Water Act, it’s amendments, guidance, and programs played a huge role in improving the health of American water, lakes, and rivers. It is heralded as one of the most successful environmental laws.
Over the decades, the Clean Water Act has helped redevelop rivers, rejuvenate habitats, and increase access to safe drinking water. But still, too many of our lakes and rivers are “impaired;” some are not clean enough for fishing and swimming. The law’s narrow focus on industrial pipes may be the culprit. Other sources like agricultural and irrigation runoff remain unregulated.
The Clean Water Act prohibits dumping hazardous substances into U.S. waters in amounts that can harm humans and the environment. Owners and operators of non-transportation-related oil facilities are required to implement oil discharge prevention plans. EPA personnel periodically inspect facilities to ensure compliance. Inspectors interview employees, conduct walk thoroughs, and review the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program regulates point sources that discharge pollutants into waters. NPDES permit facilities discharge directly into U.S. water substances such as:
- Discharge from concentrated animal feeding operations
- Municipal wastewater overflow and stormwater management
Compliance monitoring includes monitoring reports, on-site compliance evaluation, and assistance with NPDES permits. Monitoring is mostly done at the state level, overseen by the EPA, with authorized states implementing their own programs to control water pollution. The NPDES Compliance Monitoring Strategy offers guidance and EPA inspection goals.
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act regulates dredged or fill material placed in wetlands, lakes, and rivers with the goal to avoid and minimize losses to wetlands. Unavoidable loss is compensated through mitigation and restoration.
This is only a basic overview. The EPA and state agencies offer a variety of guides, strategies, action plans, resources, workshops, and documents to help facilitie\s comply with the Clean Water Act. A strong background in the Clean Water Act would be an impressive addition to your resume. ISO training is a great way to enhance environmental safety qualifications.