Clean Water Act

clean water actThe Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. "Clean Water Act" became the Act's common name with amendments in 1972.

Why is this issue important to golf course owners and operators?

An important section of the CWA is the definition of federally-controlled waters commonly known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. The proposed new Rule will limit federal jurisdiction to well-defined navigable waters and their impacting rivers, streams and tributaries. This is vital because golf course owners risk ruinous penalties of thousands of dollars in daily fines if they inadvertently violate the Clean Water Act, even though it is difficult to determine whether private property is (or is not) subject to federal regulation.

What is the NGCOA doing about this issue?

The NGCOA supports the proposed new WOTUS Rule. On April 15, 2019 NGCOA along with GCSAA, PGA, CMAA, NCA, ASGCA and GCBAA under the We Are Golf banner, shared our comments with the administration supporting their proposed rule. We shared our belief that golf courses are designed as a water conveyance system in order to best manage surface water flow from stormwater, flood or irrigation flow through either natural or man-made conveyances. These waters are conveyed, stored and/or utilized for irrigation or filtering purposes. They also are designed to collect runoff from adjacent properties for flood control and pollution prevention. Courses use this runoff as an irrigation source as well. They also use reclaimed water to help water purveyors manage excess recycled water. The course irrigates with this water providing filtration and an economical solution for disposal of reclaimed water.

What owners and operators can do to help

Learn more about this issue and discuss it with your peers.