The US Congress has enacted various Acts to address pollution control and remediation. The Clean Air Act (CAA) controls air emissions from stationary and mobile sources (EPA, 2021). The Act protects the public from harmful pollutants that cause asthma and lung disease. The Clean Water Act (CWA) controls discharging of pollutants into US waters. Its main objective is restoring and maintaining clean and healthy waters. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) controls land-based disposal of hazardous waste. Its main goal is to reduce waste while encouraging recycling.
The CAA ensures all the emissions meet the air quality standards. Since 1970, the CAA has led to a reduction in air pollution by more than 60%. The Act brought numerous benefits such as higher expectancy, healthier kids, a better productive workforce, and protecting ecosystems. Notably, these benefits outweigh the costs by a factor of more than 30 to one. The CAA amendments are projected to raise the US economic growth and economic welfare of the citizens. For instance, CAA controls ozone pollution. The regulation has helped millions of Americans and me from respiratory problems.
The purpose of the CAA Risk Management Plan (RMP) is to ensure the facilities that use hazardous substances create an RMP that can recognize the possible outcomes of chemical casualties. And specify actions the facility is undertaking to avert accidents and outline the emergency procedure in case of an accident.
Section 122 (r) requires owners and operators of immobile sources that produce, process, and store excessively dangerous substances to determine hazards relating to accidental release, develop and maintain a secure installation, and reduce the effects of any unanticipated releases in case they arise.
The basis of CWA got introduced in 1948 and referred to as Federal Water Pollution Control Act. In 1972, the Act got reorganized and led to the emergence of CWA. However, pollution managing programs like wastewater standards for the industry have been implemented to ensure effectiveness. For example, CWA regulates chemical waste from being discharged to surface waters. It is essential because it helps in accessing clean water.
The purpose of pre-treatment categorical standards is to prevent the introduction of pollutants, which can damage the equipment and interfere with the wastewater treatment process, wastewater collection, and transmission systems. The EPA permits writers by offering comprehensive programmatic guidance and technical support.
RCPA addresses problems relating to the increase in municipal and industrial waste volume. The Act aims to restore contaminated land, reduce emission, prevent improper handling of waste and increase the rate of recycling. It gives the EPA authority to control the process of generating, treating, and disposing of solid and hazardous waste. The RCRA controls the generation and disposal of hazardous radiological waste, which helps to keep the environment clean and healthy.
One major difference between generators is how they legally ship out their waste from their facility. In conditionally exempt, there are no restrictions. There is a limit of 180 days or less in small quantities and 270 days or less when transporting to more than 200 miles. In large quantities, the limit is 90 days or less. Moreover, quantity generators create more than 100kgs and less than 1000kgs of hazardous waste each month. Large quantity generators create 1000kgs each month or more of hazardous waste or 1kg of extremely hazardous waste each month.
In conclusion, CAA helps to ensure all emissions meet air quality standards. CWA controls discharges of pollutants into US waters. RCRA controls land-based disposal of hazardous waste.
EPA, (2021). Summary of Clean Air Act.