At a recent Boston Bar Association meeting, EPA Region I/New England gave a presentation regarding its enforcement priorities.  Heads Up!

Although EPA’s presentation identified its fiscal year 2015 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015) program goals, it’s a safe bet that those priorities will continue to be in the crosshairs this year.  To be forewarned is to be forearmed. 

Here are EPA’s enforcement priorities:

  • Chemical safety and accident prevention (e.g., Clean Air Act Section 112r Risk Management Program), including storage and use of ammonia (e.g., refrigeration systems), chlorine (e.g., potable water and wastewater treatment plants).
    • EPA described common deficiencies, including the co-location of incompatible chemicals, lack of fire suppression and tank integrity.
  • Clean Air Act:
    • Regulatory compliance:  industrial laundries, shipyards, petroleum product storage, engines, idling.
    • Leak detection and repair (LDAR) Method 21 requirements – particularly for gasoline storage tanks.  (Note EPA is now using infrared photography for inspections.)
  • Clean Water Act: 
    • Industrial stormwater.
    • Spill prevention, control and countermeasures (SPCC) plans and facility response plans.
    • Municipal sewer overflows.
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know (EPCRA).
  • Lead paint hazards.

For fiscal years 2017 – 2019, EPA Region I identified the following additional priorities:

  • Air emissions from hazardous waste.
  • Wastewater discharges from mining, chemical manufacturing, food processing and primary metals manufacturing.
  • Continued focus on reducing the risks and impacts of industrial accidents and releases.

What can you do?  First, be prepared. Review your programs or equipment identified above.  Do you meet all applicable legal requirements?  Second, carefully consider responses to EPA information requests before submittal.  Third, know your rights, the law and precedent if EPA asserts a violation.  We know well the processes and regulatory requirements targeted by EPA and have assisted numerous facilities to ensure compliance, respond to EPA information requests and minimize penalties.