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Enforcement Activities
Overview
There are many tools at the disposal of the Compliance Enforcement Section to affect compliance with permits and rules. One tool available is the enforcement process.

This process is employed when other tools available have failed to achieve compliance, there is a history of non-compliance or an activity is egregious or has resulted in environmental harm or skewed the playing field for the regulated community such that a strong response in the form of penalties and cost recovery is warranted.

The Enforcement Process
Typically, the enforcement process is initiated when staff, with approval from the section supervisor, prepares an enforcement referral package. This package is prepared in accordance with the agency’s approved checklist and contains all the documentation collected regarding the case and time accounting. The supervisor reviews the package to ensure all the information required by the enforcement checklist is present. Once completed, the supervisor presents the case to the Division Director for approval. If approved, the enforcement package is forwarded to the Division’s enforcement coordinator.

Notice Of Intent To Initiate Enforcement Action

The enforcement coordinator will provide initial notification to a responsible party that an enforcement action is pending. This is usually done through a document known as a Notice of Intent to Initiate Enforcement Action (NOI). The enforcement coordinator will then consult with permitting and compliance staff to determine what, if any, corrective actions are needed.

Consent Order

A Consent Order is a document containing mutually agreeable terms that legally bind the responsible party and EPC, and is enforceable in a court of competent jurisdiction.
 
There are two types of Consent Orders – a short form Consent Order and a long form Consent Order. If no corrective actions are necessary to resolve the case a short form Consent Order is prepared. Where corrective actions are required, a schedule of actions to be taken is developed and included in a long form Consent Order. All Consent Orders include appropriate penalties based on a standard penalty matrix along with EPC’s cost incurred while investigating the case. The enforcement coordinator will calculate the penalty and this information is reviewed by the supervisor and Division Director and depending on the nature of the case and the penalty assessed, the  Executive Director, and incorporated into the Consent Order. The Consent Order is offered to the responsible party as the agency’s offer of settlement in order to avoid legal action. If the responsible party has been notified via a Warning Notice that a case is being transferred to Enforcement, the proposed Short Form Consent Order may be sent without a preceding NOI.

Other
In cases where terms of a settlement cannot be reached, the EPC has the option to pursue legal action. Once authority has been granted by the EPC Commissioners to pursue legal action, the agency’s legal staff prepares the necessary documentation and files them with the court. The enforcement coordinator acts as a liaison between the Legal Department and the Water Management Division.