Code of the District of Columbia

§ 8–103.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Act” means the Water Pollution Control Act of 1984.

(1A) “Abandon” means to cease using a functioning well, to fill or plug a well to render it unproductive, to permanently disconnect a well from a water system, to allow a well to fall into a state of disrepair so extensive that it is impractical to obtain ground water, or to fail to renew a permit pursuant to § 8-103.13a within 90 days after expiration.

(2) “Aquatic animals and plants” and “aquatic life” mean the animals and plants which have typically lived in or otherwise established as a habitat the waters of the District of Columbia.

(3) “Combined sewer” means a sewer which conveys both sanitary sewage and storm water and may also convey industrial wastewater.

(4) “Criteria” means any of the group of physical, chemical, biological, and radiological water quality parameters and the associated numerical concentrations or levels which compose the numerical standards of the water quality standards and which define a component of the quality of the water needed for a designated beneficial use.

(5) “Discharge” means the spilling, leaking, releasing, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping of any pollutant or hazardous substance, including a discharge from a storm sewer, into or so that it may enter District of Columbia waters.

(6) “District” means the District of Columbia.

(7) “Dredge and fill activity” means the removal of dirt, sediment, sand, gravel, rock, or other solid matter from the underwater lands, and the placement of solid or semi-solid material into the waters of the District so that the material is or may be deposited on the underwater lands; the placement of pipelines, electrical cables, communication lines, tunnels, bulkheads, riprap, structural members of bridges, buildings, piers, and other facilities, and other man-made objects into the waters of the District or the underwater lands. The following activities are excluded: Federal or District navigational aids, permitted discharges of wastewater, removal of floating debris, stormwater discharges, recreational activities of individual private citizens other than mechanized mineral recovery, and the removal of materials accidentally placed in the waters of the District.

(8) “Federal Water Pollution Control Act” means the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. § 466 et seq. [transferred; see now 33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.].

(9) “Groundwater” means underground water, but excludes water in pipes, tanks, and other containers created or set up by people.

(10) “Hazardous substance” means any toxic pollutant referenced in or designated in or pursuant to § 307(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act; any substance designated pursuant to § 311(b)(2)(A) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act; or any hazardous waste having the characteristics of those identified under or listed pursuant to the District of Columbia Hazardous Waste Management Act of 1977, as amended.

(11) “Industrial wastewater” means water that has been used and contains pollutants but does not contain significant amounts of human body waste and disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

(12) “Mayor” means the Mayor of the District of Columbia or any representative or agency designated by the Mayor to carry out the provisions of this subchapter.

(13) “Nonpoint source” means any source from which pollutants are or may be discharged other than a point source.

(14) “Offshore facility” means vessels, pipelines, and other equipment operated in the District of Columbia waters.

(15) “Onshore facility” means equipment, instruments, buildings, vehicles, or other structures not in the water.

(16) “Owner” or “operator” means for a vessel or onshore or offshore facilities, a person owning, operating, or chartering by demise the vessel or the facilities, except that, for the purpose of §§ 8-103.13a and 8-103.13b, the term “owner” means a person who has the legal right to construct a well for personal use or for the use of another person.

(17) “Person” means any individual, including any owner or operator as defined in this section; partnership; corporation, including a government corporation; trust association; firm; joint stock company; organization; commission; the District or federal government; or any other entity.

(18) “Point source” means any discrete source of quantifiable pollutants, including but not limited to a municipal treatment facility discharge, residential, commercial or industrial waste discharge or a combined sewer overflow; or 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.

(19) “Pollutant” means any substance which may alter or interfere with the restoration or maintenance of the chemical, physical, radiological, and biological integrity of the waters of the District; or any dredged spoil, solid waste, incinerator residue, sewage, garbage, sewage sludge, munitions, chemicals, chemical wastes, hazardous wastes, biological materials, radioactive materials, heat, wrecked or discarded equipment, rock, sand, cellar dirt, oil, gasoline and related petroleum products, and industrial, municipal, and agricultural wastes.

(20) “Sanitary sewage” or “municipal wastewater” means draining or flushing liquids used to flush or rinse away human body waste from people, liquids used for washing and other household activities, and other liquids or rinsed away waste which may have been contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

(21) “Sanitary sewer” means a sewer for waste materials, but not one for rain water.

(22) “Sludge” means the solid or semi-solid material removed from wastewater during treatment, including but not limited to grit, screenings, grease, oil, settleable solids, and chemicals added to the treatment processes.

(23) “Treatment facility” means the plant, the equipment, and the operations used to eliminate pollutants in wastewater, and includes the facilities and the activities administering to or supplying the treatment of wastewater.

(23A) “Underground injection” means discharging any substance through a well into ground water, or into the subsurface where the substance has the potential to enter the waters of the District.

(24) “Underwater land” means the land beneath the waters of the District at mean high tide or the ordinary high waterline or the elevation of the highest water stage that occurs at a frequency of once per year.

(25) “Wastewater” means the waters which have been removed from their normal course or place and have been used in a manner that pollutants have been added or increased during the use, or have been altered so that discharge into the waters of the District may result in pollution.

(26) “Waters of the District” or “District waters” means flowing and still bodies of water, whether artificial or natural, whether underground or on land, so long as in the District of Columbia, but excludes water on private property prevented from reaching underground or land watercourses, and also excludes water in closed collection or distribution systems.

(26A) “Well” means any test hole, shaft, or soil excavation created by any means including, but not limited to, drilling, coring, boring, washing, driving, digging, or jetting, for purposes including, but not limited to, locating, testing, diverting, artificially recharging, or withdrawing fluids, or for the purpose of underground injection.

(27) “Wetland” means a marsh, swamp or other area periodically inundated by tides or having saturated soil conditions for prolonged periods of time and capable of supporting aquatic vegetation.


(Mar. 16, 1985, D.C. Law 5-188, § 2, 32 DCR 919; Nov. 13, 2003, D.C. Law 15-39, § 612(a), 50 DCR 5668.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-921.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1226.40 and § 8-103.16.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-39 added pars. (1A), (23A), and (26A); and rewrote par. (16) which had read as follows: “(16) ‘Owner’ or ‘operator’ means for a vessel or onshore or offshore facilities, a person owning, operating or chartering by demise the vessel or the facilities.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 612(a) of Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-105, June 20, 2003, 50 DCR 5613).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 612(a) of Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-149, September 22, 2003, 50 DCR 8360).

Short Title

Short title of subtitle B of title VI of Law 15-39: Section 611 of D.C. Law 15-39 provided that subtitle B of title VI of the act may be cited as the Water Pollution Control Amendment Act of 2003.

References in Text

The “Water Pollution Control Act of 1984,” referred to in paragraph (1) of this section, is D.C. Law 5-188.

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, referred to in paragraph (8), is now codified at 33 U.S.C § 1251 et seq.

“Section 307(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act,” referred to in paragraph (10) of this section, is codified as 33 U.S.C. § 1317 (a).

“Section 311(b)(2)(A) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act,” referred to in paragraph (10) of this section, is classified as 33 U.S.C. § 1321(b)(2)(A).

The “District of Columbia Hazardous Waste Management Act of 1977,” referred to in paragraph (10) of this section, is D.C. Law

Mayor's Orders

Spring Valley Scientific Advisory Panel, see Mayor’s Order 2001-32, March 1, 2001 ( 48 DCR 2387).

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority pursuant to D.C. Law 5-188, see Mayor’s Order 85-152, September 12, 1985.

Delegation of authority pursuant to D.C. Law 5-188, the “Water Pollution Control Act of 1984”, see Mayor’s Order 98-50, April 15, 1998 ( 45 DCR 2696).