Temporary Advisory for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Reporting in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
On March 26, 2020, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, issued a Temporary Policy titled “COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program” . This EPA Temporary Policy applies retroactively beginning on March 13, 2020 and until further notice. EPA established this Temporary Policy to describe how EPA will exercise its enforcement discretion for noncompliance with routine monitoring and reporting requirements resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, if regulated entities take the applicable steps set forth in the policy. The Temporary Policy also states that EPA may exercise enforcement discretion for other noncompliance, but those decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. The Temporary Policy explains entities subject to EPA requirements should make every effort to comply with their environmental compliance obligations. If compliance is not reasonably practicable, facilities with such obligations should act responsibly, document and maintain records of instances of noncompliance and return to compliance as soon as practicable. The Temporary Policy notes that authorized states or tribes can choose to take a different approach under their own authorities.
Consistent with the Temporary Policy, this temporary Reporting Advisory provides further direction to EPA Regional Offices on how to implement the Temporary Policy as it relates to NPDES reporting requirements that are tracked in EPA’s Integrated Compliance Information System for the NPDES program (ICIS-NPDES). In addition, it provides recommendations to authorized NPDES Programs who may be addressing similar questions regarding NPDES reporting. EPA strongly encourages authorized states to follow this Advisory to ensure consistent national data.
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