(a) Whenever WASA has reason to believe that there is a violation of this subchapter or rules issued pursuant to this subchapter, it may initiate an administrative enforcement action pursuant to this section, and any rules issued pursuant to this subchapter. WASA may initiate this administrative enforcement action in addition to any other enforcement action, civil or criminal, which has or will be undertaken to enforce this subchapter, provided that no user shall be assessed both a civil and administrative penalty for the same violation.
(b)(1) Whenever WASA has reason to believe that a person or user is violating this subchapter, or rules issued pursuant to this subchapter, it may issue a Notice of Infraction and Proposed Order. The Notice of Infraction shall include the following:
(A) The nature, time, and place of the violation (with reasonable specificity);
(B) The corrective or remedial action to be taken and any fines imposed or other amounts sought in accordance with this subchapter;
(C) The date upon which the Proposed Order shall become effective; and
(D) The procedure by which a person may answer a Notice of Infraction and Proposed Order and request a hearing, along with notification that failure to answer may lead to the adoption of some or all of the Proposed Order.
(2) The Proposed Order may direct the user to do the following:
(A) Eliminate the violation;
(B) Comply with the provisions of this subchapter;
(C) Take specific actions to avoid future violations;
(D) Pay fines, costs, or other amounts, as authorized by this subchapter; and
(E) Comply with the schedule for completion of any of the directives of the Proposed Order.
(3) The Proposed Order may provide for the suspension or revocation of any permit issued by the District or WASA pursuant to this subchapter, or the suspension or revocation of any contract or agreement between the user and the District or WASA, to the extent that such permit, contract, or agreement authorizes the person to discharge into the District’s wastewater system.
(4) An answer to a Notice of Infraction and Proposed Order shall be in writing. In that answer a respondent shall admit or deny the allegations included in the Notice of Infraction. Regardless of whether the respondent admits or denies the allegations, the respondent may also assert in the answer that some or all of the terms of the Proposed Order should be modified.
(5) If a respondent, in an answer, denies any of the allegations in the Notice of Infraction, or asks that any term in the Proposed Order be modified, WASA shall conduct a hearing within 30 days of receiving the answer, unless that time period is extended in accordance with any regulations providing for such extensions. The hearing shall be conducted by a hearing examiner, who shall be an attorney regularly employed by WASA or an attorney retained by WASA on a contractual basis. The hearing examiner shall have the power to:
(A) Preside over hearings in matters arising under this subchapter;
(B) Determine whether any notice, order, or other document, was properly served upon any party to an enforcement action;
(C) Compel the attendance of witnesses by subpoena, administer oaths, and take testimony of witnesses under oath;
(D) Dismiss, rehear, and continue cases;
(E) Issue orders, including default orders, which require the respondent to provide evidence, submit pleadings, do some or all of the actions described in the Proposed Order, or to pay hearing and inspection costs, and to do any of the foregoing within specific time periods consistent with any regulations issued pursuant to this subchapter or to pay fines or penalties for the failure to do any of the foregoing; and
(F) Suspend permits or licenses issued pursuant to this subchapter for the purpose of enforcing the payment of monetary fines, penalties, or hearing and inspection costs.
(c) WASA shall issue regulations which establish a schedule of escalating fines which may be imposed by WASA as part of its effort to enforce this subchapter through administrative action, provided that these fines may not exceed the fines which may be imposed in a civil proceeding brought pursuant to this subchapter. WASA shall also issue regulations to implement this subchapter, including regulations to establish procedures for conducting administrative enforcement actions pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. These regulations shall include, but need not be limited to, procedures and, where applicable, deadlines, for:
(1) Effecting service of any notice, order or other document produced by a person or issued by WASA pursuant to this subsection; provided, however, that WASA shall bear the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the Notice of Infraction was not defective, that the Notice of Infraction was properly served, and that an infraction occurred;
(2) Answering or otherwise responding to any notice, order, or other document issued pursuant to this subsection;
(3) Holding any hearing conducted pursuant to this subsection, provided however, that hearings shall be conducted in accordance with subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2; and
(4) Issuing orders.
(d) The District of Columbia Court of Appeals (“Court”) shall entertain and determine appeals timely filed by WASA or by any person aggrieved by a final order of a hearing examiner issued pursuant to this subchapter. The Court shall make a determination of each appeal on the basis of the record established before the hearing examiner, and may affirm, reverse, or modify the order of the hearing examiner, or may remand the case for further proceedings before the hearing examiner subject to the qualifications set forth in this subsection. The Court shall set aside any hearing examiner order that is unsupported by a preponderance of the evidence on the record. The Court shall also set aside any hearing examiner order that was made without observance of procedure required by law or regulations, except that in such instances, the Court shall apply the rule of harmless error. The Court may not modify a sanction imposed by the hearing examiner if that sanction is within the limits established by law or regulation.
(Mar. 12, 1986, D.C. Law 6-95, § 11, 33 DCR 577; May 8, 1998, D.C. Law 12-106, § 2(f), 45 DCR 1724; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-354, § 19(a), 52 DCR 2638; Oct. 26, 2010, D.C. Law 18-256, § 2(h), 57 DCR 8082.)
1981 Ed., § 6-960.
This section is referenced in § 8-105.12.
Effect of Amendments
D.C. Law 15-354, in subsec. (d), substituted “Office of Administrative Hearings (‘Office’)” for “Board of Appeals and Review (‘Board’)” and substituted “Office” for “Board”.
D.C. Law 18-256, in subsec. (b)(1), substituted “believe that a person or” for “believe that a”; in subsec. (b)(2)(E), substituted “Comply with the” for “A”; in subsec. (d), substituted “Court of Appeals (‘Court’)” for “Office of Administrative Hearings (‘Office’)” and “Court” for “Office”.