Regional Role in Reducing the NPDES Rate of Significant Noncompliance: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Guidance Memorandum

August 19, 2019

By: Walter G. Wright

Category: Arkansas Environmental, Energy, and Water Law

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Susan Parker Bodine, Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, transmitted a July 12th memorandum to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Regional Administrators titled:

Regional Role in Reducing the NPDES Rate of Significant Noncompliance (“Memorandum”)

The Assistant Administrator states that the purpose of the Memorandum is to:

. . . communicate expectations of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) for Regional implementation of the newly announced "Reducing Significant Noncompliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits" National Compliance Initiative (NCI).

She further states that the NCI is intended to implement EPA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan and associated Strategic Measure and Priority Goal to increase compliance. The agency’s goal that has been set is to reduce the noncompliance baseline rate by 50% by the end of FY 2022.

EPA Region 4, NCI, and the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance are stated to have previously formed a workgroup (including members from all the Regions and various states) to “identify, compile, and share with the Regions and states best practices for reducing the SNC rate and for remedying specific SNC violations.”

EPA headquarters is asking the Regions beginning in the fourth quarter of FY 2019 to:

  • Begin meeting quarterly with each authorized state
  • Work with each authorized state that has incomplete or inaccurate compliance data
  • Discuss findings of the SNC work group with the states
  • Develop a written plan for how the Region will reduce the SNC rate in each EPA direct implementation area

Each of these activities are described in more detail in the Memorandum.

A copy of the Memorandum can be downloaded here.

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