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Hundreds of Municipal Facilities Participating in EPA-NE Environmental Audit Program - Rhode Island
Release Date: 04/26/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)
BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that more than 320 municipal public works facilities in New England, including 12 municipalities with 16 facilities in Rhode Island, are participating in a voluntary initiative to audit environmental compliance at their facilities and make environmental improvements based on those audits.
A joint effort between EPA and the region's six state environmental agencies, the EPA's DPW Audit Initiative includes self-audits by participating facilities, disclosure of violations to state and federal environmental agencies and prompt action to correct violations that are discovered. Participants in the initiative receive no fines or reduced fines if violations are disclosed and corrected within specific time frames.
"The potential environmental benefits from this program are enormous," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "Many facilities are reporting and correcting violations associated with inadequate waste management practices, improperly managed tanks and improper use of floor drains - problems which can cause substantial environmental harm."
Varney praised the New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association for taking a leadership role in offering the program to DPWs in the region.
Launched last year after several highly publicized enforcement actions against municipal highway garages, the initiative was created to help municipalities comply with environmental requirements. In return, EPA eliminates or substantially reduces fines for violations that were disclosed or corrected during the audit. While the audit program has been available to businesses and public agencies for several years, EPA added an extra incentive for public works garages that participate in the initiative – giving them a low inspection priority status through September 2002.
Participants have 21 days after completing the audit to report violations to EPA and 60 days to correct the violations and to tell EPA how they corrected them. To date, EPA has received close to 200 disclosure reports. Common violations include improper waste container labeling; inadequate emergency procedures, training programs and plans; and, improper storage and handling of hazardous wastes and petroleum products.
If you are interested in being proactive with environmental compliance issues at your facility, find out more about EPA's Audit Program visit: https://www.epa.gov/oeca/ore/apolguid.html or call Nancy Barmakian 617-918-1016.
The responses in other New England states:
- Massachusetts: 87 municipalities with 122 facilities
- Connecticut: 24 municipalities, 29 facilities
- Vermont: 3 municipalities, 3 facilities
- New Hampshire: 33 municipalities, 45 facilities
- Maine: 88 municipalities, 107 facilities