Celebrating 50 years of the Clean Water Act

Fifty years after the Clean Water Act's passage, we can reflect on the progress the legislation has helped usher in.

Clean water

Edward Vullo, Foremost Photography | TPIN
John Rumpler, senior director for Environment America's clean water program, talks with EPA Administrator Michael Regan in front of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio.

After years of pollution, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River caught fire one morning in 1969. Now, 53 years later, we can celebrate the action this disaster helped spur.

In October, Environment America staff and officials from the Environmental Protection Agency celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act’s passage in Cleveland in front of a much cleaner Cuyahoga River. The event celebrated the legislation, which established guardrails to protect America’s waterways from pollution. Since its passage, the law has helped improve many of America’s waterways, making great progress since the days when America’s rivers were flammable.

In attendance at the event was John Rumpler, senior director of Environment America’s clean water program. “We have come a long way since Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972,” said Rumpler.

“But too many of America’s waterways and beaches are still contaminated with toxic pollution and sewage. We should be doing more to protect our rivers and streams, not sliding backward.”


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