During the decade of the 1960's a host of environmental problems were brought to the attention of the American public, including overpopulation, poisoning from pesticides, air pollution, and water pollution. As a result, concerned individuals joined to form conservation dubs and other groups in an attempt to find methods of combating the various problems. One of the methods proposed in the water pollution area arose from certain provisions in an 1899 statute which has now come to be known as the 1899 Refuse Act. Briefly stated, the Act prohibits the discharge of any refuse matter into navigable water without first obtaining a permit from the Corps of Engineers. Employees of the Corps are authorized to arrest violators and request prosecution by United States attorneys, which can result in the imposition of a fine and/or imprisonment. It is the purpose of this comment to discuss the scope of the Refuse Act, to give a brief history of the qui tam action, and to examine the propriety of allowing qui tam actions under the provisions of the Refuse Act.

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