Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–4402. Throwing or depositing matter in Potomac River.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any owner or occupant of any wharf or dock, any master or captain of any vessel, or any person or persons to cast, throw, drop, or deposit any stone, gravel, sand, ballast, dirt, oyster shells, or ashes in the water in any part of the Potomac River or its tributaries in the District of Columbia, or on the shores of said river below highwater mark, unless for the purpose of making a wharf, after permission has been obtained from the Mayor of the District of Columbia for that purpose, which wharf shall be sufficiently inclosed and secured so as to prevent injury to navigation.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any owner or occupant of any wharf or dock, any captain or master of any vessel, or any other person or persons to cast, throw, deposit, or drop in any dock or in the waters of the Potomac River or its tributaries in the District of Columbia any dead fish, fish offal, dead animals of any kind, condemned oysters in the shell, watermelons, cantaloupes, vegetables, fruits, shavings, hay, straw, or filth of any kind whatsoever.

(c) Nothing in this section contained shall be construed to interfere with the work of improvement in or along the said river and harbor under the supervision of the United States government.

(d) Any person or persons violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be punished by a fine not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or by imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or both, in the discretion of the court.


(Feb. 3, 1913, 37 Stat. 656, ch. 25; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 239, 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-1702.

1973 Ed., § 22-1702.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not exceeding $100” in (d).

Cross References

Discharge of pollutants from vessels or onshore or offshore facilities, see § 8-103.08.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 239 of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.