40 Years Later: The Way Forward for the Nation's Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act turns 40 this week. For Mark Gold, this calls for a celebratory overview of the many environmental successes it has produced, as well as careful consideration of the steps needed for it to be effective in years to come.

October 19, 2012, 8:00 AM PDT

By Erica Gutiérrez


The Clean Water Act "sets wastewater standards and regulates the discharge of pollutants into the nation's oceans, rivers and lakes", says Mark Gold, former president of Heal the Bay and associate director of UCLA's Institute of The Environment and Sustainability, in a recent editorial piece published in the Los Angeles Times. Yet, "without a more comprehensive federal approach to water management, the nation's aquifers, rivers, lakes and coastal waters will continue to degrade."

According to Gold, the Clean Water Act has been responsible for a myriad of successes locally in Los Angeles County, as well as nationally, in no small part due to collaboration amongst diverse stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. He asserts, however, that although the act has led to cleaner, safer and healthier beaches for aquatic life, swimmers and surfers, it still has a long way to go before achieving what Congress envisioned 40 years back.

Gold points to the fact that the act cannot create "universally fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters," as Congress initially foresaw. He adds that pollution from agriculture, mining and timber industries, as well as from septic systems are largely unregulated, and that storm-water management also needs to be strengthened.

Some of these improvements require minor revisions to the existing rules mandated in the Act, but others require congressional action and bipartisan support. Gold challenges Congressional representatives to listen to Americans' concerns about water quality, and to work harder to meet the act's initial aspirations.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 in Los Angeles Times

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

University of Arizona

Proposed Transit Line Would Connect Downtown Tucson to Airport

Based on community input for a 15-mile transit line, residents want to see a focus on affordable housing development and anti-displacement measures.

4 hours ago - KGUN

Shuttered strip mall in Niland, California

Strip Malls as a Housing Solution

The American strip mall may be a dying breed of commercial development, but could the buildings serve a new use as sustainable housing?

6 hours ago - Yale Environment 360

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.