It may be possible for private citizens to enforce the Refuse Act of 1899 when prosecutors refuse to act. This is possible, proponents suggest, by applying the ancient theory of qui tam to criminal sanctions in the Refuse Act. So far, the scheme has met with no reported judicial approval. ...The court again recognized in 1943 that "qui tam suits have been frequently permitted by legislative action . . . ."" A number of Federal statutes authorize qui tam action by the common informer.12 As late as 1970, the Hudson River Fisherman's Association was granted $2,000, under the 1899 Rivers and Harbors Act, for exposing polluters of the Hudson River. The question is: Did Congress, by allowing the payment of one half of the fine in Section 411, give citizens the right to bring qui tam actions to enforce the Refuse Act?
J. S. Ott,
Qui Tam Actions for Citizen Enforcement of the Refuse Act of 1899 against Polluters,
21 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol21/iss1/20