Water is a free natural resource for everyone, with water pollution considered as any change in the natural composition of water due to any type of human activity that formed the pollution. The majority seems to be caused by polluting a substance which at first does not seem offensive at all, or even harmful, yet eventually develops into it. The pollutants involved are either toxic or non-toxic, depending on what they are food production waste, industrial toxics, manure slurry, or silage effluent but the results will be the same when they end up in large bodies of water. With water considered a vital aspect to the planet, the long process of effective control of water pollution has been around awhile, beginning with the Water Pollution Control Ordinance and its ongoing series of amendments with the same goal.
Concern in the United States over water pollution dates back to the 1899 Federal Rivers and Harbors Actthe Refuse Actwhich prevents any refuse disposal from entering any lakes, navigable rivers, streams, or any other body of water without a permit. In 1948 the Water Pollution Control Act gave the Surgeon General authority to reduce water pollution, with water being considered contaminated when it was unfit to support human life and is impaired by anthropogenic contaminants. To maintain water pollution control, this act was established to regulate the pollutant discharges into the
U.S. waters, regulating the standards for quality surface waters. Implementing specific water pollutant programs, a water quality standard was developed for all surface water contaminants beginning with setting industry standards for waste water making it illegal to allow any point-source pollutant enter navigable water without a permit.
The control of water pollution begins with a source or point-of-origin that are divided into categories: point-source pollution refers to some form of contaminant that enters the waters through a subtle or discreet point source; the non-point source pollution refers to a contamination which originates from a not-so-subtle or discrete source, with more attention being derived from point sources. Legislature and control agencies have primarily focused on point sources at the beginning, but lately greater attention is on non-point sources because of the rapid spread of urbanization and suburbanization of developing areas. Homes that are not connected to a public municipal system use septic systems of some form, while industrial or municipal industries need permits for their discharges to enter directly into surface waters.
The EPA has regulations divided up into ten areas, serving as a a staff member enforcing a compliance with regulations for control of water pollution.