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Water: CWA Methods

Legal Authority for EPA's Clean Water Act Methods

We establish test procedures for the regulated public's use in meeting requirements under the Clean Water Act ("CWA" or the "Act") pursuant to sections 301(a), 304(h), and 501(a) of the Act, 33 U.S.C. §§1311(a), 1314(h), 1361(a).

  • §301(a) of the Act prohibits the discharge of any pollutant into navigable waters except in compliance with certain requirements of the statute, including, generally a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued under section 402 of the Act.
  • §304(h) of the Act requires the Administrator of the EPA to establish test procedures to measure pollutants in Clean Water Act programs, such as the NPDES permit program.
  • §501(a) of the Act authorizes the EPA Administrator to prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out functions under the Act.

After regulatory action to establish approved procedures, EPA generally has codified CWA test procedures (analytical methods) at Title 40 part 136 of the Code of Federal Regulations, although some may also be found at 40 CFR Parts 401–503 (these methods are sometimes referred to as wastewater, Part 136, or 304(h) methods).


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