Clean Water Act: Pesticide Pollutant Discharge Elimination

The Clean Water Act (CWA) and its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements have been in effect since 1972.


No government agency has ever concluded that the ordinary application of a pesticide requires an NPDES permit, including aquatic mosquito and weed control, as well as terrestrial uses that may result in incidental spray drift entering water. The strict regulation of pesticides by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and EPA’s Office of Pesticides ensures that America’s waters are properly protected while preserving activities critical to American agriculture and many other beneficial purposes.

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CropLife America's Position

  • The crop protection industry and our regulators take environmental and health concerns into account as products are developed and registered for the purpose of supporting America’s agriculture to ensure the nation’s food supply remains abundant and affordable.
  • Pesticides should not be classified as pollutants under the CWA, as they serve an intended beneficial purpose.
  • NPDES permits should not be required when pesticides are applied according to the FIFRA label, which already contains rigorous water quality safeguards during the pesticide registration process.

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