EPA has selected six National Compliance Initiatives (NCIs) for fiscal years 2020-2023 for the enforcement and compliance assurance program. The six NCIs advance EPA’s objectives to improve air quality, provide for clean and safe water, ensure chemical safety, and improve compliance with environmental laws, while sharing accountability between EPA, states, and Indian tribes with authorized environmental programs.
- Creating Cleaner Air for Communities by Reducing Excess Emissions of Harmful Pollutants: EPA will focus on reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from significant sources that have a substantial impact on air quality and may adversely affect an area’s attainment with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards or that may adversely affect vulnerable populations. Additionally, EPA will focus on sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that have a significant impact on air quality and health in communities.
- Reducing Hazardous Air Emissions from Hazardous Waste Facilities: This NCI was initiated in the last cycle and will continue. Last cycle, inspections revealed significant noncompliance and an ongoing need for additional training for both industry and regulators to identify and repair leaks from hazardous waste storage tanks, pipes, valves, and other equipment. The goal is to identify and address violations of leak detection and repair requirements for related hazardous waste treatment equipment.
- Reducing Risks of Accidental Releases at Industrial and Chemical Facilities: This NCI is also continuing into the next cycle. EPA found that many regulated facilities are not managing the risks they pose adequately. EPA has been inspecting and addressing facilities that use extremely hazardous substances and will continue to do so to improve safety, increase compliance with Risk Management Program and General Duty Clause requirements, and promote coordination with state and local responders and communities.
- Reducing Significant Non-Compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits: EPA has found that over 29% of facilities with NPDES permits are in significant noncompliance with their permits. This NCI aims to improve surface water quality and reduce potential impacts on drinking water by ensuring that all NPDES permittees are complying with their permits. The goal is to reduce the significant noncompliance rate by 50% by the end of FY2022 and will focus on all facilities in significant noncompliance with their permits, not just industrial contributors.
- Reducing Non-Compliance with Drinking Water Standards at Community Water Systems: There are approximately 50,000 community water systems (CWSs) and about 40% of those violated at least one drinking water standard in FY2018. There were also monitoring and reporting violations at more than 30% of CWSs and health-based violations at 7% of CWSs. The goal of this NCI Is to reduce the number of CWSs that are out of compliance with health based standards by 25%. EPA’s Office of Water will increase capacity in states, tribes, and at EPA to address drinking water violations.