About the Clean Water Act (CWA) Action Plan

Shaping EPA’s Future Direction on Water Enforcement

The Clean Water Act Action Plan outlines how EPA is strengthening the way we address our biggest water pollution challenges.  While maintaining scrutiny of the largest dischargers, the Plan addresses challenges including pollution caused by numerous, dispersed sources, such as:

  • concentrated animal feeding operations,
  • sewer overflows,
  • contaminated water that flows from industrial facilities,
  • construction sites, and
  • runoff from urban streets

The goals of the Plan are to:

  • target enforcement to the most significant water pollution problems,
  • improve transparency and accountability by providing the public with access to better data on the water quality in their communities, and
  • strengthen enforcement performance at the state and federal levels. 

Compliance Reporting

  • Through the State Review Framework, EPA provides new comprehensive reports and data on water enforcement for all 54 states and territories, including those states/territories where EPA directly administers the permitting and enforcement program itself. 
  • State Water Dashboards help the public find out the compliance status of local facilities and how federal and state governments are doing.

Revamping NPDES

On May 11, 2011, after close collaboration with our state and tribal partners, EPA released the Clean Water Action Plan Implementation Priorities: Changes to Improve Water Quality, Increase Compliance, and Expand Transparency. This document describes the new approaches EPA is undertaking to revamp the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting, compliance and enforcement program.