Monday, December 14, 2009

SDWA Compliance - New Enforcement Response Policy & Enforcement Targeting Tool

EPA is proposing a new approach for enforcement targeting under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for Public Water Systems. The new approach is designed to identify public water systems with violations that rise to a level of significant noncompliance by focusing on those systems with health-based violations and those that show a history of violations across multiple rules, This system-based methodology is intended to ensure consistency and the integrity of the PWSS national enforcement program. The new approach includes a revised Enforcement Response Policy (ERP) and new Enforcement Targeting Tool (ETT).

The Enforcement Response Policy and Enforcement Targeting Tool re-emphasize a focus on "return to compliance" (RTC) rather than simply "addressing" a violation. The policy is intended to increase EPA's effectiveness in the protection of public health. Together the ERP and ETT will prioritize and direct enforcement response to systems with the most systemic noncompliance by considering all violations incurred by a system in a comprehensive way. The policy and tool identify priority systems for enforcement response, provide a model to escalate responses to violations; define timely and appropriate actions; and clarify what constitutes a formal action.

In general, the goal of the revised ERP and new ETT is to allow States and EPA to:
  • Align public water system violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act within a prioritization that is more protective of public health;
  • View public water system compliance status comprehensively;
  • Ensure that both EPA and the States act on and resolve drinking water Violations;
  • Recognize the validity of informal enforcement response efforts while ensuring that, if these efforts have proven ineffective, enforceable and timely action is taken;
  • Ensure that EPA and the States escalate enforcement efforts based on the prioritization approach;
  • Increase the effectiveness of state and federal enforcement targeting efforts by providing a "tool" that calculates comprehensive noncompliance status for all systems and identifies those systems not meeting national expectations as set by EPA.

It also provides an additional resource for identifying systems possibly in need of other State/EPA assistance in the areas of Capacity Development and Sustainability.

Caltha LLP provides specialized expertise to clients nationwide in the evaluation environmental rules, developing compliance procedures, and preparing cost-effective compliance management programs.

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