Since appearing in modern form fifty years ago, the Clean Water Act has proven a powerful force for environmental justice, helping to clean up urban waterways across the country. Through establishment of water quality standards and enforcement of regulatory requirements, the Clean Water Act has compelled public authorities and private companies to upgrade infrastructure and curtail
discharge of sewage and other industrial effluent. At the same time, urban communities have continued to struggle with water pollution beyond the reaches of the Clean Water Act. This Article briefly examines three such communities: the Anacostia area of Washington, D.C.; the neighborhoods along the Duwamish Waterway of Seattle, Washington; and the residents affected by the Flint Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan. In each case, people have used legal authorities beyond the Clean Water Act to help improve water quality and quality of life in these communities. Equally important may be the character of the people charged with protecting human health and the environment, as the failures leading to the Flint Water Crisis clearly demonstrate.
CERCLA, Superfund, Clean Water Act, EPA, environmental justice
Don't Blame the Flint River,
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