The primary function of the Compliance and Enforcement (C&E) Division is to protect the health of our citizens by ensuring compliance with Federal, State, and local air quality regulations. One way this is accomplished is by inspecting permitted sources to ensure they are complying with permit conditions and emission limits. Another function of the C&E Division is to offer training to the businesses and the public to prevent violations through education.
The two main enforcement tools utilized by the District are the Notice of Violation (NOV) and the Notice to Apply for a Permit (NTA). These Notices are a formal record of the District's finding that a violation of a Local, State or Federal law affecting air quality has occurred. In most cases, a violation can be settled by taking corrective action and paying the penalty. An NOV can also involve monetary penalties, civil suits, or criminal prosecution in severe pollution cases.
Notice of Violation
This notice is used to document all violations unless the violation is considered minor. Violations are typically documented during field inspections or complaint investigations.
Notice to Apply for a Permit
This notice is used to notify a person or facility that certain equipment and/or operations require a District permit (s) and that a permit application must be filed with the District within a specified time frame (usually within ten days).
If you receive a Compliance Notice, what should you do?
First, take immediate corrective action to prevent the violation from recurring. Each additional day may be considered an additional and separate violation.
Next, advise the District in writing within ten days of the action taken to correct the violation. Your response does not necessarily prevent further legal action by the District, but the content, promptness, indication of corrective action(s) taken, and cooperation of your response will be considered and evaluated during penalty assessment.
If you are unable to correct the violation immediately and must continue to use the equipment or process that resulted in a Notice of Violation, you may petition the NCUAQMD Hearing Board for a variance following the procedures of District Hearing Board Procedures - Regulation VI. If granted a variance, you are allowed to legally operate the equipment causing the violation while working to correct the problem. A variance cannot be granted from the requirement to apply for a permit. Contact the District for further information on petitioning the Hearing Board.
Unusually serious violations that could have been prevented or that show willful disregard for public health and air pollution control laws will be referred directly for criminal prosecution. Criminal penalties for such violations may be as high as $250,000 for each day of violation or one year in jail, or both.