The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws


"Water Pollution Control Act of 1984"

D.C. Code Ann. §§ 8-103.01 to 8-103.20

The Law: The Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants into District waters, with limited exceptions. The purpose and requirement of the Act is to protect aquatic animals and plants and preserve and restore aquatic life for aesthetic enjoyment, recreation, and for industry. The Act also requires the Mayor to study these areas and determine licensing for fishing and other sport or industry activity that may threaten it, with consideration given to the economic impact upon the public before establishing fees.

In addition, the Mayor must reevaluate the water quality standards every three years and make possible revisions when necessary. The Act establishes rules and regulations regarding the classification of beneficial uses of waters. The Mayor must establish a financial system accounting for the revenues and expenses associated with removing pollutants.

The Act allows certain discharges, specified under D.C. Code Ann. § 8-103.06 that also outline rules and procedures for permitting. The District considers pollution from point sources to be considered discharges and thus, can only be conducted with a permit. The "discharge of oil, gas, anti-free, acid, or other hazardous substance, pollutant or nuisance material to any street, alley, sidewalk or other public space" in hazardous or nuisance quantities is prohibited. D.C. Code Ann. § 8-103.07.

The Act also specifies rules and regulations for discharging pollutants from a vessel, onshore or offshore facility, and includes spill prevention and cleanup plans. The Act provides for civil actions and a private right of action is permitted under specific guidelines.

updated 2/19/08 AAA
links updated 6/6/08 rab
Page checked August 3rd, 2010, FJL.