DEEP: 1999 - DEP Office of Enforcement Policy and Coordination Formed

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Environmental Accomplishments of the Past 40 Years

DEP Office of Enforcement Policy and Coordination Formed
(1999)

Background

In 1999, Connecticut General Statutes, Section 22a-6x established an Office of Enforcement Policy and Coordination ("OEPC") to ensure consistency in implementation of environmental laws, oversee enforcement practices, promote multi-media enforcement and serve as liaison to the US EPA on matters relating to DEP enforcement programs. One of the primary tasks of OEPC is to work with enforcement programs across the Bureaus of Air Management, Materials Management & Compliance Assurance, and Water Protection & Land Reuse to develop various enforcement policies, guidance documents and formats including the Enforcement Response Policy, Civil Penalty Policy, Enforcement Action Summary and Administrative Civil Penalty Regulations. In addition, in early 2000, OEPC developed an intranet-based electronic Enforcement Desk Reference that is designed to give each staff person immediate access to the most current enforcement policies, formats, and instructions needed to process an enforcement action from initiation through completion.

From the time the agency came into existence in 1971, DEP recognized that effective and equitable enforcement tools were essential to achieving and maintaining regulatory compliance. To assure that DEP could compel compliance with environmental laws, the legislature enacted the Environmental Enforcement Act of 1973. This Act established the building blocks for enforcing regulatory requirements and gave the agency the power to impose administrative civil penalty assessments.

Today, by using a broad range of regulatory, permitting, assistance, and enforcement tools to maximize protection of public health and the environment and by maintaining a strong, credible enforcement presence, DEP can minimize the potential environmental impacts of regulated activities. Through its Enforcement Response Policy, CTDEP prioritizes its enforcement resources by focusing on the most significant environmental noncompliance to produce the maximum benefit to the environment.

The tools now available to TDEP to enforce regulatory compliance include Notices of Violation, Consent Orders, Unilateral Orders, Administrative Civil Penalty Notices, Civil Referrals to the Attorney General or EPA, Cease and Desist Orders, and Criminal Referrals to Chief State’s Attorney’s Office or EPA. CTDEP combines in its enforcement settlements, significant penalties, injunctive relief, and other innovative features that protect human health and the environment. In 2007, regulations were established that authorized CTDEP to administratively assess civil penalties through the issuance of a Penalty Notice for violations of environmental requirements pertaining to tidal wetlands, structures, dredging and fill, stream channel encroachments, dam safety, water diversion and pesticide management.

The following provides links to press releases that showcase the Department’s ongoing commitment to maintaining a strong enforcement presence. For additional information on CTDEP enforcement activities, please go to Enforcement Case Summaries

  • An industrial laundry company agreed to a $1.8 million settlement with the Department for emitting toxic substances that threatened public health. Press Release
  • The Department entered into an administrative consent order with a major national retail chain for numerous violations of environmental regulations at several stores across the state. The retailer agreed to pay penalties of $425,000 as well as make major improvements in its environmental practices. Press Release
  • A national pest control company doing business in Connecticut, entered into an administrative consent order with the Department for numerous pesticide application violations.  Press Release
  • An industrial laundry company agreed to pay a $450,000 penalty to the state to settle several water pollution violations. The company agreed to pay $93,500 to switch from laundering chemicals containing alkylphenol ethoxylate (APE), a chemical that is harmful to fish life, to more environmentally safe chemicals. Press Release
  • In another case initiated by CTDEP, the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered a fluorescent lamp manufacturer to pay a civil penalty of $857,000 and clean up three sites which it had contaminated with mercury. 
    Press Release