Why was the Act Passed?
Before looking into the Act, previous law cases and the rivers and harbor act of 1890 should be looked upon. When there was a consistent growth of steamboat travel and railroads on lakes and inland rivers in 1835, navigation was hampered by manmade obstructions, and the problem went on increasing. The federal government started some programs for the improvement of the river. The legislative acts of the state authorized the obstructions, which were hampering the improvement programs. The court system could not solve this conflict, so the Supreme Court took over the matter and passed an act that came to be known as the rivers and Harbors Act of 1890. The Act stated clearly that any construction, which obstructs navigation and is not authorized by the law is strictly prohibited. The 1899 Act was a little different from the 1890 Act. The 1899 Act allocated power to the contingent according to the blockage involved, and it required the approval of Congress for dams, causeways, and bridges.
What is the Section 10 of the Act?
Section 10 of the Act requires permission or authority, and the Army Secretary gives that permission for any construction passing through the navigable water of the U.S. If the construction takes place outside the limit of the navigable waters of the U.S., then it requires a permit of Section 10 if the construction is affecting the water body. The law covers any disposal of materials and applies to any construction, be it a floating dock or any other commercial undertaking. The water that is subject to the rush of the tide and used in the past for foreign commerce or interstate transport falls under the category of navigable waters. Navigable waters include rivers, lakes, coastal waters, navigable streams, inland waters, and territorial seas. The U.S. contingent of engineers also found many other general permits. The general permits are a convenient way to receive the project authorization. The regulatory program takes place in 38 offices under the district, as no districts use all the types of permits.
Pollution and General Aspect of the Act
In 1890, a modernized version of the rivers and harbors Act was implemented, and then in 1899, the rivers and harbors appropriation act came into existence. The refuse Act is another name of this Act. In the twentieth century, the Act was modified several times. The Act in general prohibits refuse dumping into the water used to navigate or create any obstruction. It also regulates any construction of jetties, piers in rivers, ports, or the areas where navigation takes place. The clean water Act regulates the pollution of surface water. On the other hand, the Act addresses many types of water pollution and provides helpful supplemental jurisdiction. In the clean water act, if someone discharges refuse or construction in waterways, they need a permit. The army contingent of engineers is the permitting agency here. The Act imposes criminal and civil penalties. The criminal charges or penalties reduce the wrongdoings. As the army contingent of the engineers did a great job; hence, including the environmental considerations department under them was upheld in the future.
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