Baron has reviewed EPA's recent publication of COVID-19 Implications for EPAs Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program for how it may affect our clients. The EPA is providing flexibility in completing certain tasks such as compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, lab analysis, training and reporting/certification activities if certain requirements are met. This policy began on March 13, 2020 and will continue until 7 days after EPA provides notice that the program is ending. This policy does not cover state actions (i.e. NJDEP or NYDEC) nor criminal violations.
Should a facility find that it cannot maintain compliance due to a COVID-19 related shortage or outage, you must:
Minimize the effects and duration of the non-compliance;
Identify and document the specific nature and dates of the non-compliance;
Identify and document COVID-19 as the cause along with decisions and actions taken to respond, best efforts to comply and steps taken to return to compliance; and
Document return to compliance as soon as possible.
Notify the EPA regional office or authorized state as quickly as possible in the event there is an acute risk to human health or the environment or any pollution control devices or wastewater treatment system components fail.
EPA does not plan to ask facilities to "catch up" on monitoring or reporting activities that are required at intervals of three months or less once the current situation has ended. For requirements that are bi-annual or annual, the requirement must be met as soon as possible including late monitoring, training or reporting. There is no exception for training completed online or using a computer system. All submissions that require an original signature, a digital or other electronic signature will be accepted.
EPA specifically indicates the following information related to hazardous waste generators:
Any facility that follows the policy above (including documentation) and is not able to ship waste off-site within the allowable time frame will NOT be considered a treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSDF) requiring a permit.
Any VSQG/SQG facility that follows the policy above (including documentation) and exceeds the allowable quantity of waste on site will remain at its current status category during this period.
As of the date of this notice, the NJDEP has only issued guidance to drinking water systems and facilities with individual stormwater permits.
If you have any specific questions or needs related to this policy, please contact Baron for assistance.