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Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results 2011 Fiscal Year

Enforcement Results

Clean Water
National Enforcement Initiatives

The National Enforcement Initiatives address more complex pollution problems, especially those confined to a particular sector or source type.

  • Reducing raw sewage and contaminated stormwater runoff
  • Preventing animal waste from contaminating surface and ground water

Learn more about the National Enforcement Initiatives

EPA's vigorous water enforcement programs uncover and address serious problems that are critical to assuring clean drinking water and to protecting water bodies important to communities’ livability, such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River Basin.

In 2011, EPA’s enforcement of the Clean Water Act (CWA) protected the quality of our nation’s water bodies by curbing municipal and industrial wastewater discharges, stopping polluted runoff from urban and rural areas, and taking actions to deter oil and hazardous substances spills.

Overflows of raw sewage from aging municipal sewer systems and urban stormwater runoff are significant sources of pollution, contributing to the contamination of drinking water sources, beach and shellfish bed closures, and other environmental and health concerns. Stormwater runoff from municipal storm sewer systems and construction sites can dump a variety of harmful pollutants – including bacteria, organic nutrients, pesticides, hydrocarbons, sediment, oil and grease – into rivers, lakes and streams. Oil and hazardous substance spills can pose serious threats to human health and often have a long-lasting impact on the environment.

62 % of EPA Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement actions reduced pollutants discharged into waters that do not achieve water quality standards.

Criminal enforcement prosecutions included: illegal discharges from marine vessels of oily waste water or hazardous substances in oceans or other major water bodies; illegal discharges from industrial facilities to waste water treatment plants or directly to rivers, lakes and streams; illegal filling of wetlands, illegal discharges of wastes into underground wells; and illegal discharges from concentrated animal feeding operations and other agricultural operations, including several which resulted in significant fish kills. (See more criminal program highlights.)

In 2011, water enforcement actions achieved estimated:

  • $8.4 billion invested to improve environmental performance
  • $55 million, includes $9.8 million in State penalties from joint Federal enforcement actions
  • $10.0 million in additional investments for supplemental environmental projects that benefit communities
  • 730 million pounds of pollution reduced, treated or eliminated

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