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In the United States, policies on the regulation on freshwater pollution came into effect starting from the1950s due to the rampant disposal of waste in water sources. Joint efforts by various stakeholders helped to establish the Federal Water Pollution Act (FWPA) in 1948. This act created a framework for freshwater protection upon which other regulations developed. Increasing concerns on rising cases of water pollution played the major role in promoting the establishment of the act. In 1965, Massachusetts established the first state law that focused on the protection of freshwater (Tiner, 1998). This undertaking influenced other states to define and establish freshwater protection regulations. In 1971, Rhode Island‘s administration crafted a protective state law that sought to safeguard its freshwater wetlands from pollution and encroachment. In 1972, the need to create a wider scope for regulations on water pollution promoted the amendment of various provisions in FWPA to create the Clean Water Act (CWA). This act adopted a more comprehensive approach in freshwater protection. CWA defines rules and regulations pertaining to the protection of water sources through the elimination of various pollutants that are discharged into US water sources through the National Pollutant Discharge System (NPDES). Furthermore, the act bestowed authority on Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency concerning the regulation of deposition in US water sources (Hill, 2010). In the same year, Connecticut introduced state policies concerning the protection of its freshwater wetlands.
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), established in 1974, defines regulations that emphasize on the need to apply equal measures for water treatment nationally. In 1975, New York passed the Freshwater Wetlands Act. Later in 1988, New Jersey adopted the act to protect the freshwater sources (Tiner, 1998). The Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act defines regulations that protect freshwater wetlands and uplands, which are within 150 feet of wetlands from any form of encroachment that may hinder various benefits derived from wetlands.