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42 U.S. Code § 300j–8 - Citizen’s civil action

(a) Persons subject to civil action; jurisdiction of enforcement proceedingsExcept as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any person may commence a civil action on his own behalf—
against any person (including (A) the United States, and (B) any other governmental instrumentality or agency to the extent permitted by the eleventh amendment to the Constitution) who is alleged to be in violation of any requirement prescribed by or under this subchapter;
against the Administrator where there is alleged a failure of the Administrator to perform any act or duty under this subchapter which is not discretionary with the Administrator; or
for the collection of a penalty by the United States Government (and associated costs and interest) against any Federal agency that fails, by the date that is 18 months after the effective date of a final order to pay a penalty assessed by the Administrator under section 300h–8(b)[1] of this title, to pay the penalty.
No action may be brought under paragraph (1) against a public water system for a violation of a requirement prescribed by or under this subchapter which occurred within the 27-month period beginning on the first day of the month in which this subchapter is enacted. The United States district courts shall have jurisdiction, without regard to the amount in controversy or the citizenship of the parties, to enforce in an action brought under this subsection any requirement prescribed by or under this subchapter or to order the Administrator to perform an act or duty described in paragraph (2), as the case may be.
(b) Conditions for commencement of civil action; noticeNo civil action may be commenced—
(1) under subsection (a)(1) of this section respecting violation of a requirement prescribed by or under this subchapter—
prior to sixty days after the plaintiff has given notice of such violation (i) to the Administrator, (ii) to any alleged violator of such requirement and (iii) to the State in which the violation occurs, or
if the Administrator, the Attorney General, or the State has commenced and is diligently prosecuting a civil action in a court of the United States to require compliance with such requirement, but in any such action in a court of the United States any person may intervene as a matter of right; or
under subsection (a)(2) of this section prior to sixty days after the plaintiff has given notice of such action to the Administrator; or
under subsection (a)(3) prior to 60 days after the plaintiff has given notice of such action to the Attorney General and to the Federal agency.
Notice required by this subsection shall be given in such manner as the Administrator shall prescribe by regulation. No person may commence a civil action under subsection (a) to require a State to prescribe a schedule under section 300g–4 or 300g–5 of this title for a variance or exemption, unless such person shows to the satisfaction of the court that the State has in a substantial number of cases failed to prescribe such schedules.
(c) Intervention of right

In any action under this section, the Administrator or the Attorney General, if not a party, may intervene as a matter of right.

(d) Costs; attorney fees; expert witness fees; filing of bond

The court, in issuing any final order in any action brought under subsection (a) of this section, may award costs of litigation (including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees) to any party whenever the court determines such an award is appropriate. The court may, if a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction is sought, require the filing of a bond or equivalent security in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(e) Availability of other reliefNothing in this section shall restrict any right which any person (or class of persons) may have under any statute or common law to seek enforcement of any requirement prescribed by or under this subchapter or to seek any other relief. Nothing in this section or in any other law of the United States shall be construed to prohibit, exclude, or restrict any State or local government from—
bringing any action or obtaining any remedy or sanction in any State or local court, or
bringing any administrative action or obtaining any administrative remedy or sanction,
against any agency of the United States under State or local law to enforce any requirement respecting the provision of safe drinking water or respecting any underground injection control program. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize judicial review of regulations or orders of the Administrator under this subchapter, except as provided in section 300j–7 of this title. For provisions providing for application of certain requirements to such agencies in the same manner as to nongovernmental entities, see section 300j–6 of this title.
(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title XIV, § 1449, as added Pub. L. 93–523, § 2(a), Dec. 16, 1974, 88 Stat. 1690; amended Pub. L. 95–190, § 8(c), Nov. 16, 1977, 91 Stat. 1397; Pub. L. 104–182, title I, § 129(b), Aug. 6, 1996, 110 Stat. 1662.)

[1]  So in original. Probably should be section “300j–6(b)”.
Editorial Notes
References in Text

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsec. (d), are set out in the Appendix to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.


1996—Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 104–182, § 129(b)(1), added par. (3).

Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 104–182, § 129(b)(2), added par. (3).

1977—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 95–190 inserted provisions relating to suits by State or local governments for enforcement of safe drinking water, etc., requirements.