The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (P.L. 92–500) required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a comprehensive program to improve the quality of the nation’s waterways. Section 307(a) mandated publication of a list of toxic pollutants for which effluent standards were being established. There was substantial delay in implementing this task. It was not until June 7, 1976 that the National Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Businessmen for the Public Interest, National Audubon Society, and Citizens for a Better Environment were able to reach an agreement with the EPA under which timetables and procedures for implementation of certain sections of P.L. 92–500 were delineated. One of the terms of the consent decree related to the study of 65 substances or groups of substances (totaling 129 individual substances) in industrial effluents, and the development of appropriate regulations for their control. These substances (known as “priority pollutants,” “consent decree pollutants,” or “toxic pollutants”) were selected on the basis of their known occurrence in effluents, their presence in drinking water or fish, their known or suspected carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic properties, their likelihood of human exposure, their persistence in the aquatic food web, their propensity for bioaccumulation, and their toxicity to aquatic organisms and those (including humans) which might feed on such organisms.
KeywordsPriority Pollutant Endosulfan Sulfate Phenyl Ether Heptachlor Epoxide Consent Decree
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