Know the Difference: Environmental Violation vs. Emergency

Know the Difference: Environmental Violation vs. Emergency

An important part of conducting nearly any business is successfully following all federal and state environmental regulations. As we’ve explained in previous blogs and with clients during discovery meetings: The savings derived from risky or substandard compliance measures is almost always eclipsed by the cost of fines assessed for environmental violations. In short, it pays to be compliant.

One important distinction you should know is the difference between an environmental violation and an environmental emergency. They may feel like the same thing, especially if you’re running a business and will be faced with fines or at the very least cleanup fees — but they are distinct and your response to each must be distinct as well.

What is an Environmental Violation?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency: “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 an Environmental Emergency?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency:  “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, and accidents causing releases of pollutants.

“These emergencies may occur from transportation accidents, events at chemical or other facilities using or manufacturing chemicals, or as a result of natural or man-made disaster events. If you are involved in or witness an environmental emergency that presents a sudden threat to public health, you must call the National Response Center at: 1-800-424-8802.”

Learn more about how to report these occurrences from EPA here: How to Report Spills and Environmental Violations

Cost-Effective and Comprehensive Environmental Compliance

Here at T-Environmental, we’re always up to date on industry news. And that’s because our clients trust us to keep them up to date and compliant with the latest regulations.

Whether your concern is preventing fuel spills or ensuring that your employees are property trained and protected, T-Environmental can help. We specialize in consulting needs for regulatory compliance, preventing and remediating spills, managing liability, and safely constructing and installing storage tanks.

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