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Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum
Wastewater Treatment

Our nation's laws related to water quality were amended in 1972 and then again in 1977, with passage of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The primary goal of this legislation was to make sure that our waters were "fishable - swimmable" (Provision 2 below). Water quality standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect uses for surface waters such as fishing and swimming. If the standards are not met, then a calculation is made to determine how much of a pollutant can be discharged to the lake or river without exceeding the standards. This amount is called the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), all discharges of wastewater to surface waters must have a permit. The allowable pollutant loads set in the permits can be adjusted to meet the TMDL objective and make sure that water quality goals are met.

Federal Water Pollution Control Act

Portage Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant Lab

The Portage Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant laboratory.
Regular tests are run to make certain that the treated wastewater meets permit requirements.

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