So, you're wondering whether the government is going to catch you? The odds are good that you'll be caught - sooner or later. It's just that the government's enforcement activities, like all government agencies is based upon nutty, illogical, politically-motivated methods. In short, they go after money; but money from two main sources - big companies with deep pockets (who they charge massive penalties for often minor infractions) and small companies (who get charged whatever the agencies think they can get away with). Medium sized companies seem to get off-scot free (because they employ people in the area of jurisdiction and they haven't got big bucks the agencies want).
Our opinion is that if the EPA and state agencies really cared at all about the environment, they would start conducting unannounced random inspections of all sizes and types of companies, using the business license lists. Fat chance of that happening. They rather go after easy money and companies too small to fight back against often absurd charges. Meanwhile, the really bad ones get away with dumping.
We would love to hear your stories of inspections and enforcement actions - both deserved and undeserved - just
email us (anonymously, is fine)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Statutory and Regulatory Enforcement
Pesticides Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions - information about enforcement of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) that relates to the required proper handling and management of pesticides.
Solid/Hazardous Waste Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions - information about enforcement of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) that relates to the generation, transportation, treatment, disposal and other handling of solid and hazardous wastes and to the regulation of underground storage tanks (USTs) and medical wastes. Also, included is information about enforcement of the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act (Battery Act).
Water Enforcement Bulletin -- An update of cases relating to water enforcement published by the Water Enforcement Division, Office of Regulatory Enforcement, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. It is published on an irregular basis.
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)
EPA Sector Notebooks A link to the index of Sector Notebooks, all of which can all be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat PDF. A separate notebook for selected major industrial groups, including the Pulp and Paper, Electronics and Computers and Metal Finishing Industries has been developed by the EPA Office of Compliance. These notebooks focus on key indicators that present air, water, and land pollutant release data.
Summary of Completed Criminal Prosecutions. This ZIP file contains six WordPerfect documents. The documents list cases through May 1992. Additional updates will be forthcoming as they become available. Once you download the file to your computer, use an unZIPping utility to access the files which can then be brought into a word processor.
Are you concerned about an environmental situation within your community but don't know where to go for answers? Here is a list of numbers to call to report any type of activity you suspect may not be in compliance with federal environmental regulations. Information is also provided on the difference between environmental violations and environmental emergencies.
What types of activities might be considered environmental violations?
An environmental violation occurs when an activity or an existing condition does not comply with an environmental law or regulation. Environmental violations can include (but are not limited to):
Smoke or other emissions from local industrial facilities;
Tampering with emission control or air conditioning systems in automobiles;
Improper treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous wastes;
Exceedances of pollutant limits at publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants;
Unpermitted dredging or filling of waters and wetlands;
Any unpermitted industrial activity;
Late night dumping or any criminal activity including falsifying reports or other documents.
What is the difference between environmental violations and environmental emergencies? An environmental violation is a situation which does not comply with an existing environmental law or regulation. An environmental emergency is a sudden threat to the public health, or the well-being of the environment, arising from the release or potential release of oil, radioactive materials, or hazardous chemicals into the air, land, or water.
Examples of environmental emergencies include:
Oil and chemical spills
Radiological and biological discharges
Accidents causing releases of pollutants
If you are involved in or witness an environmental emergency, you must call the National Response Center at: 1-800-424-8802. For more information, see the Concerned Citizens page on Environmental Emergencies.
Where do I report a suspected violation?
Many issues are handled at the local level. You may first want to try contacting your local government office for concerns about trash, litter, strange odors, recycling pickup, and household chemical disposal, including paints, pesticides, oil, antifreeze, etc. You can find information about your local government in the blue pages of your telephone book or by contacting your public library.
For concerns that may not be handled at the local level, the next step is to contact your state environmental agency. Information about state agencies can be found in the blue pages of your telephone book as well.
Click here to open a form to submit a form window with the national EPA to report a suspected violation. Most environmental violations are handled by your state environmental office, but tips or complaints provided through this web site will be reviewed by the Regional EPA office responsible for your area for further action. Please try to include as much information as possible about the alleged violation and how you were able to find out about this alleged violation. While you are not required to identify yourself in order for EPA to review your concern, please be aware that if you do not identify yourself EPA will have no way of notifying you of our intent to pursue, refer, or gather more information regarding your concern.
Region 1 - (888) 372-8477 Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut. Or for Environmental Emergencies (800) 424-8802
Region 2 - (212) 637-5000 Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of New York and New Jersey. In Puerto Rico or US Virgin Islands, call (787) 729-6951.
Region 3 - (800) 438-2474 Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Also try here
Region 4 - 1 (800) 241-1754 Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina.
Region 5 - (312) 621-8430 or (800) 621-8431 Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Region 6 - (214) 665-2210 or (800) 887-6063 (Region 6 states only) Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Region 7 - (800) 223-0425 Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Region 8 - (800) 227-8917 (Region 8 states only) Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
Region 9 - (415) 744-1500 Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the territories of Guam and American Samoa.
Region 10 - (206) 553-4973 or (800) 424-4372 Call this number to report suspected violations within the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.