The federal Clean Water Act was passed by Congress in 1972. It establishes the regulations for the discharges of pollutants and regulating water quality standards for surface waters. It’s first goal is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biologic integrity of our waters. The second goal provides for the protection and nurturing of fish and wildlife and support recreation in and on the water. Water quality standards are based on risk to human health and the environment. The Division of Water Resources is required by the Clean Water Act to release a list of impaired streams every two years and submit it to the Environmental Protection Agency for approval. The water quality standard is based on a waterway’s overall classification. By definition, the higher classification has higher water quality standards. Each state defines the best uses to be protected within waters, and sets water quality standards to protect those uses. All waters must meet Class C standards, which address fishing, wading, boating and other uses where human body contact is “infrequent.” Class B standards for rivers and streams is for primary recreational activities that include swimming, skin diving, water skiing and similar uses where body contact with water is considered frequent.
E. coli, a fecal coliform bacteria, is a reliable indicator of the presence of other bacteria and pathogens that are harmful to human health. Contact with or consumption of contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal illness, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. The most commonly reported symptoms are stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever.
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com