September 19, 2022
Ogden, Utah — Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) visited Ogden, Utah, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. The event featured EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox, EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker, Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Kim Shelley, and Ogden City Mayor Michael Caldwell. Also joining in this celebration were state and local officials, representatives of numerous stakeholder groups, and community members who came together to recognize and celebrate cleanup successes in the Ogden and Lower Weber River watersheds.
“When Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, it charted a new path for America’s waters. As a result, we have seen transformational progress over the last 50 years and many rivers that were once heavily polluted are now recreational attractions that connect everyone to the outdoors,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “The progress made in the Ogden and Weber Rivers, and the benefit that has had on communities throughout the region, show how investing in water resources is investing in people. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, President Biden and Congress have committed to protecting our vital water resources for the next 50 years and beyond.”
“Ogden is an exemplary location to recognize shared successes as part of EPA’s Clean Water Act at 50 celebration tour,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “The community’s efforts to leverage federal funding, and the hard work and dedication of many partners, have created inspiring spaces that connect residents directly with the beauty of the Ogden and Weber Rivers. These outstanding achievements demonstrate that urban areas and clean rivers can coexist.”
Five decades of Clean Water Act implementation have reduced direct pollution discharges to our nation’s waters and improved wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. This progress was built on strong partnerships between EPA; and state, local, and Tribal governments; as well as community and environmental organizations, industry, and agriculture.
Through the Clean Water Act, including Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs), more than $2,350,000 has been invested in restoring the Ogden and Weber Rivers. Utilizing diverse partnerships and funding sources, EPA, the State of Utah, and many other partners removed more than 18,000 tons of concrete, metal, garbage and tires from the rivers. This collaborative effort has transformed the entire watershed into an outdoor oasis revered for kayaking, fishing, and outdoor recreation. Additionally, their efforts have increased access to ensure all community members have opportunities to enjoy the rivers’ benefits. With the new and existing SRF loan funds, a 10% green project reserve will allow states to fund projects that will tackle drought and resiliency as well.
“As one of the driest states in the nation, with ongoing drought and growth pressures, Utah must do all it can to protect, restore, and enhance the waters we have,” said Kim Shelley, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. “We are grateful that, thanks to the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we now have more resources to make critical investments for a water resilient future.”
“It is truly unique to live in a community that is home to the confluence of two major waterways,” said Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell. “We are committed to maintaining the highest standards in our rivers which is evident through our recent recognition of receiving the 2022 Utah Outdoor Summit Award for Grant Project of the Year, and our rare status of having an Urban Blue Ribbon Fishery.”
As EPA continues its national tour celebrating the Clean Water Act, the agency is also collaborating with its partners to chart a course for the next 50 years of progress for clean water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) has provided a historic investment in water infrastructure, including $12.7 billion through the SRF programs established by the 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act.
Leading up to the 50th Anniversary on October 18, the national tour highlights waters essential to healthy people, vibrant ecosystems, agricultural productivity, and economic growth. Other stops include Puget Sound, Florida Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Cuyahoga River, and more.