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Pretreatment Program and Federal Clean Water Act

Congress passed the Clean Water Act in part to set water quality standards for water bodies that receive effluent from sewage treatment systems. The Boston Harbor cleanup came about from a lawsuit by the cities of Boston and Quincy against the Metropolitan District Commission (MWRA's predecessor) for failing to comply with the Clean Water Act. MWRA was formed to bring Boston's metropolitan sewer system and Boston Harbor into compliance with a court order, a result of this lawsuit. The Clean Water Act also requires that businesses and industries that discharge into the sewer system be regulated through an industrial pretreatment program. TRAC administers the Industrial Pretreatment Program for the MWRA service area.