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In this module, the following topics are covered: 1) the purpose of government regulations set for the protection of human health and the environment; 2) current environmental laws and regulations for various types of pollutants, and 3) the need for future environmental laws as related to the sustainability of industrial activity and the economy.

Learning objectives

After reading this section, students should be able to

  • understand the purpose of government regulations set for the protection of human health and the environment
  • distinguish the current environmental laws and regulations for various types of pollutants present in different media or phases of the environment
  • discern the need for future environmental laws as related to the sustainability of industrial activity and the economy

Introduction

In the United States, the laws and regulations pertaining to the protection of the environment have been enacted by the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is authorized to enforce the environmental laws and to implement the environmental regulations. The United States environmental laws cover various phases of the environment such as water, air, and hazardous waste, where most of the regulations have been based on the risk assessment of the pollutants. The major environmental laws and regulations are briefly listed in the Table Summary of Major Environmental Laws .

Summary of Major Environmental Laws Table lists major environmental laws enacted from the 1950s onward.
Environmental Issue Description Acronym Year Enacted
Water Federal Water Pollution Control Act
Amendment
Clean Water Act
FWPC
ACWA
1956
1972
1972
Drinking Water Safe Drinking Water Act
Amendments
SDWA 1974
1986, 1996
Air Clean Air Act
Amendments
CAA 1955
1990
Hazardous Wastes Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Hazardous and Solid Wastes Amendment
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund)
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act
RCRA
HSWA
CERCLA
SARA
1976
1984
1980
1986
Oil Spills Oil Pollution Act OPA 1990
Toxic Substances Toxic Substances Control Act TSCA 1976
Pesticides Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act FIRFA 1972
Pollution Prevention Pollution Prevention Act PPA 1990
Workplace Health and Safety Occupational Safety and Health Act
Amendment
OSHA 1970
1990

Water

Clean water act

To protect the surface waters of the United States such as lakes, rivers, streams, shorelines and estuaries, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act was established in 1956. The amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) of 1972 focused on surface water quality goals, effluent limits based on available technology, and a national discharge permit system. The FWPCA (1972) introduced effluent limits for chemical substances in surface waters in conjunction with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) allowing for enforceable control over permits obtained by industry for discharge of effluents containing pollutants into natural water systems. The Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1977 placed emphasis on the control of waterborne toxic substances released into natural surface waters. The CWA introduced a Priority List of Pollutants which includes 127 toxic chemical substances including synthetic organic compounds and heavy metals. In accordance with the CWA, the EPA must establish effluent limitations for chemical substances on the List of Priority Pollutants for discharge by industrial facilities and municipal wastewater treatment plants.

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
hi
Loga
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
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Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
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