Regulatory information and guidance by topic: Water | U.S. EPA (2023)

The EPA enforces federal laws for clean water and safe drinking water, supports municipal sewage treatment plants, and participates in pollution prevention efforts to protect watersheds and sources of drinking water.

This page:

  • feed plants
  • biosolids
  • Drinking water
  • groundwater
  • Hydraulic rupture
  • deteriorated waters
  • mercury
  • Mining on mountain tops
  • oceans and coastal waters
  • Open pit coal mining in Appalachia
  • Surface water: lakes, rivers and streams
  • rainwater
  • Residual washer
  • watersheds
  • wetlands

feed plants

Ver:Cross-cutting issues: animal feeding


Biosolids are the nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from sewage sludge treatment. Only biosolids that meet the most stringent standards of federal and state regulations can be approved for use as fertilizer.

(Video) EPA Water Regulations

Drinking water

IsSafe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)It is the most important federal law that guarantees the quality of drinking water for Americans. Through the SDWA, the EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees states, municipalities, and water companies that implement those standards.

read more hereAbout the Drinking Water Act.

Laws and Policies



policy and guidance


Many communities get their drinking water from aquifers. Unfortunately, groundwater can be contaminated by human activities. These chemicals can seep into the soil and rocks, contaminating the aquifer and eventually the well.

Laws and Policies

  • groundwater rule: Provides increased protection against microbial pathogens in public water systems that use groundwater sources.
  • Underground Injection Control Program: Responsible for regulating the construction, operation, permitting and closure of injection wells that bring fluids underground for storage or disposal.
  • protection of the water source: Guarantee the quality of drinking water by protecting it from the source to the tap.

Hydraulic rupture

Ver:Natural gas production: hydraulic fracturing

(Video) Understanding the Safe Drinking Water Act: Regulating Contaminants of Concern

deteriorated waters

Pursuant to Section 303D ofDrinking Water Act (CWA)States, territories and licensed tribes are required to create lists of affected waters. These are bodies of water that are too polluted or degraded to meet water quality standards set by licensed states, territories, or tribes.

Laws and Policies

policy and guidance


verCross-cutting issues: Mercury.

Mining on mountain tops

See open pit coal mines in Appalachia

oceans and coastal waters

Laws and Policies

Open pit coal mining in Appalachia

Mining operations are regulated by theDrinking Water Act (CWA), including discharges of pollutants into streams from valley fills (CWA Section 402) and valley fills where rock and soil are introduced into streams and wetlands (CWA Section 404). Coal mining is also regulated by the Ministry of the Interior.Surface Mining Recovery and Execution Office.

(Video) EPA Regulatory Guidelines and Testing for Residual Efficacy Products

Surface water: lakes, rivers and streams


EPA controls stormwater discharges and sewage overflows through theNational Pollutant Elimination System (NPDES). The NPDES gives local authorities, state and federal authorities orientation on how the goals of rainwater protection can be achieved as flexibly and cost-effectively as possible.

Laws and Policies


Residual washer

The EPA regulates the discharge and treatment of wastewater under theDrinking Water Act (CWA). IsNational Pollutant Elimination System (NPDES)issues licenses for all wastewater disposal and treatment plants. These permits establish specific discharge limits, monitoring and reporting requirements, and may also require these facilities to take special measures to protect the environment from harmful pollutants.

Laws and Policies


See also: animal feeding.


Laws and Policies


Laws and Policies



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