United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Oct 04, 2023
Except as otherwise specifically provided, when used in this chapter:
The term “State water pollution control agency” means the State agency designated by the Governor having responsibility for enforcing State laws relating to the abatement of pollution.
The term “interstate agency” means an agency of two or more States established by or pursuant to an agreement or compact approved by the Congress, or any other agency of two or more States, having substantial powers or duties pertaining to the control of pollution as determined and approved by the Administrator.
The term “State” means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
The term “municipality” means a city, town, borough, county, parish, district, association, or other public body created by or pursuant to State law and having jurisdiction over disposal of sewage, industrial wastes, or other wastes, or an Indian tribe or an authorized Indian tribal organization, or a designated and approved management agency under section 1288 of this title.
The term “person” means an individual, corporation, partnership, association, State, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a State, or any interstate body.
The term “pollutant” means dredged spoil, solid waste, incinerator residue, sewage, garbage, sewage sludge, munitions, chemical wastes, biological materials, radioactive materials, heat, wrecked or discarded equipment, rock, sand, cellar dirt and industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste discharged into water. This term does not mean (A) “sewage from vessels or a discharge incidental to the normal operation of a vessel of the Armed Forces” within the meaning of section 1322 of this title; or (B) water, gas, or other material which is injected into a well to facilitate production of oil or gas, or water derived in association with oil or gas production and disposed of in a well, if the well used either to facilitate production or for disposal purposes is approved by authority of the State in which the well is located, and if such State determines that such injection or disposal will not result in the degradation of ground or surface water resources.
The term “navigable waters” means the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.
The term “territorial seas” means the belt of the seas measured from the line of ordinary low water along that portion of the coast which is in direct contact with the open sea and the line marking the seaward limit of inland waters, and extending seaward a distance of three miles.
The term “contiguous zone” means the entire zone established or to be established by the United States under article 24 of the Convention of the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone.
The term “ocean” means any portion of the high seas beyond the contiguous zone.
The term “effluent limitation” means any restriction established by a State or the Administrator on quantities, rates, and concentrations of chemical, physical, biological, and other constituents which are discharged from point sources into navigable waters, the waters of the contiguous zone, or the ocean, including schedules of compliance.
The term “discharge of a pollutant” and the term “discharge of pollutants” each means (A) any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source, (B) any addition of any pollutant to the waters of the contiguous zone or the ocean from any point source other than a vessel or other floating craft.
The term “toxic pollutant” means those pollutants, or combinations of pollutants, including disease-causing agents, which after discharge and upon exposure, ingestion, inhalation or assimilation into any organism, either directly from the environment or indirectly by ingestion through food chains, will, on the basis of information available to the Administrator, cause death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutations, physiological malfunctions (including malfunctions in reproduction) or physical deformations, in such organisms or their offspring.
The term “point source” means any discernible, confined and discrete conveyance, including but not limited to any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation, or vessel or other floating craft, from which pollutants are or may be discharged. This term does not include agricultural stormwater discharges and return flows from irrigated agriculture.
The term “biological monitoring” shall mean the determination of the effects on aquatic life, including accumulation of pollutants in tissue, in receiving waters due to the discharge of pollutants (A) by techniques and procedures, including sampling of organisms representative of appropriate levels of the food chain appropriate to the volume and the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the effluent, and (B) at appropriate frequencies and locations.
The term “discharge” when used without qualification includes a discharge of a pollutant, and a discharge of pollutants.
The term “schedule of compliance” means a schedule of remedial measures including an enforceable sequence of actions or operations leading to compliance with an effluent limitation, other limitation, prohibition, or standard.
The term “industrial user” means those industries identified in the Standard Industrial Classification Manual, Bureau of the Budget, 1967, as amended and supplemented, under the category of “Division D—Manufacturing” and such other classes of significant waste producers as, by regulation, the Administrator deems appropriate.
The term “pollution” means the man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical, biological, and radiological integrity of water.
The term “medical waste” means isolation wastes; infectious agents; human blood and blood products; pathological wastes; sharps; body parts; contaminated bedding; surgical wastes and potentially contaminated laboratory wastes; dialysis wastes; and such additional medical items as the Administrator shall prescribe by regulation.
The term “coastal recreation waters” means—
the Great Lakes; and
marine coastal waters (including coastal estuaries) that are designated under section 1313(c) of this title by a State for use for swimming, bathing, surfing, or similar water contact activities.
The term “coastal recreation waters” does not include—
inland waters; or
waters upstream of the mouth of a river or stream having an unimpaired natural connection with the open sea.
The term “floatable material” means any foreign matter that may float or remain suspended in the water column.
The term “floatable material” includes—
The term “pathogen indicator” means a substance that indicates the potential for human infectious disease.
The term “oil and gas exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations or transmission facilities” means all field activities or operations associated with exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations, or transmission facilities, including activities necessary to prepare a site for drilling and for the movement and placement of drilling equipment, whether or not such field activities or operations may be considered to be construction activities.
The term “recreational vessel” means any vessel that is—
manufactured or used primarily for pleasure; or
leased, rented, or chartered to a person for the pleasure of that person.
The term “recreational vessel” does not include a vessel that is subject to Coast Guard inspection and that—
is engaged in commercial use; or
carries paying passengers.
The term “treatment works” has the meaning given the term in section 1292 of this title.
The term “green infrastructure” means the range of measures that use plant or soil systems, permeable pavement or other permeable surfaces or substrates, stormwater harvest and reuse, or landscaping to store, infiltrate, or evapotranspirate stormwater and reduce flows to sewer systems or to surface waters.
(June 30, 1948, ch. 758, title V, § 502, as added Pub. L. 92–500, § 2,
Oct. 18, 1972, 86 Stat. 886; amended Pub. L. 95–217, § 33(b), Dec. 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 1577; Pub. L. 100–4, title V, §§ 502(a), 503, Feb. 4, 1987, 101 Stat. 75; Pub. L. 100–688, title III, § 3202(a), Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4154; Pub. L. 104–106, div. A, title III, § 325(c)(3), Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 259; Pub. L. 106–284, § 5, Oct. 10, 2000, 114 Stat. 875; Pub. L. 109–58, title III, § 323, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 694; Pub. L. 110–288, § 3, July 29, 2008, 122 Stat. 2650; Pub. L. 113–121, title V, § 5012(b), June 10, 2014, 128 Stat. 1328; Pub. L. 115–436, § 5(a), Jan. 14, 2019, 132 Stat. 5561.)
cite as: 33 USC 1362