Clean water is one of the most important assets we have, particularly as we continue to see increases in population and development, and protecting the quality of surface water in the United States has become a priority during the past 30 years. Rainwater runoff transports sediment, petroleum products, metals, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and other pollutants from construction sites, commercial properties, industrial sites, and residential neighborhoods into streams, rivers, and lakes. These pollutants can then accumulate and affect not only wildlife but water supplies.
In 1972 the US EPA introduced the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. The NPDES program was authorized by the Clean Water Act and has resulted in significant improvements in surface water quality.