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State Innovation Grants

EPA 2005-2006 State Innovation Grants Competition Pre-Proposals

Pre-Proposal - State of Oregon

1. Project Category
Environmental Results Program (ERP)

2.Summary Page
Project Title

Self-Certification of Environmental Compliance in the Auto Repair and Salvage Industry

Project Location
State of Oregon

Applicant Name
State of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Project Contact
David P. Kunz, Oregon DEQ, 2020 SW Fourth Ave, Portland, OR 97201-1390; Phone: (503) 229-5336; Fax: (503) 229-6945; Email: kunz.david@deq.state.or.us

DEQ intends to develop and administer a new, voluntary self-certification program that enables participating facilities within the auto repair and salvage sectors to demonstrate compliance with a variety of environmental regulations.

Significant Components

Hazardous Waste management under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and compliance certification; Air Quality standards targeting VOC and particulate matter reductions; and, Water Quality regulations specifically stormwater and underground injection control requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility
It is anticipated there will be no regulatory flexibility requested from the Federal government in order to implement the project.

Project Endorsement
Official project endorsement letters will be provided by a representative of the National Automotive Trades Association and are anticipated by the following stakeholders upon final grant submission: Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) CAP Chair; Oregon Environmental Council, and AAA of Oregon.

Budget Summary (Proposed)

[Removed by EPA]

3. Pre-proposal Narrative


ODEQ’s core work includes regulating and providing technical assistance to thousands of businesses in Oregon. Most toxic waste generating businesses are not required to report to the ODEQ if they “earn” permit exemptions by generating less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month, or don’t exceed an Air Quality Discharge Permit threshold or assure that stormwater is not polluted onsite, before discharge. At many facilities, all three apply. Yet these permit-exempted businesses are required to understand and follow a significant number of environmental regulations. Typical ODEQ outreach to these generators include mailings; follow-up on complaints, and targeted geographic area coverage. Many businesses do not respond to typical outreach methods for a variety of reasons. It is unknown how many businesses understand and comply with the regulations on toxins. Complaint investigations regularly turn up evidence that many businesses are not aware of basic hazardous waste management requirements. Improper management of toxic air emissions and RCRA solid and hazardous wastes generated at these businesses threaten potable water supplies, and contribute to concentrations of heavy metals and petroleum into wastewater treatment plants, which may lead to degradation of surface waters.

This grant proposal is to help ODEQ determine how well a program based on the successful Environmental Results Program (ERP) will work in Oregon. The proposed grant project is a three-part investigation involving: 1) facility self-certification, 2) statistically-based performance measurement, and 3) on-site compliance consisting of pollution prevention, technical assistance and training. The self-certification tools include: web-based checklists, guidebooks, targeted business training, and development of success measures. Existing Environmental Business Practice Indicators (EBPI) for the targeted auto industry will be built upon to measure specific industry performance and direct environmental impacts. Improvements to existing electronic data management will be developed. Statistically significant improvements to regulatory compliance will be readily documented.

ODEQ resources will be more efficiently utilized as it leverages scarce resources, reaches a substantially higher segment of the regulated sector, and requires only a minor effort by the regulated sector. This program will enable ODEQ to utilize its budding cross-program partnership approach to better leverage already scare staff resources; establish Oregon’s first ERP program on a large sector of hazardous waste generators; and, meet EPA’s strategic goals by strengthening innovation partnerships with the States, focusing on priority environmental issues, diversifying environmental protection tools and approaches, and continue to foster “innovation-friendly” organizational culture and systems at ODEQ.

Program Criteria

Environmental and human risks associated with auto repair, maintenance and salvage operations are well documented and diverse. The potential for fire, vector breeding, air, surface and groundwater contamination, and health problems is significant. In Oregon, there is approximately 3000 auto repair and salvage related operations, many of them located within densely populated urban areas that are classified as air quality “non-attainment” areas. These businesses may generate air contaminants, universal and hazardous wastes. Oregon’s proposal builds on our existing partnerships with the auto sector, developed from our successful program, EcoBiz (www.ecobiz.org Exit Disclaimer), and with a recent Auto Recyclers Workshop developed from a Pollution Prevention Incentive for States (PPIS) grant. The Auto Recyclers Workshop provided best management practices (BMPs) and training to volunteer auto wrecker businesses. EcoBiz is a “green certification” program with marketing privileges for auto businesses going “beyond compliance” on environmental management practices. Statewide, only about 1% of the eligible auto businesses are currently EcoBiz certified as going “beyond compliance.” The majority of businesses need an easier way to understand and comply with the environmental regulations.

The targeted industry is subject to regulation by a number of state and federal agencies concerned with air and water pollution, and hazardous waste generation. The self-certification method developed within the Environmental Results Program (ERP) is recognized as an excellent template for addressing the full range of requirements that these businesses are responsible for complying with. An objective of this DEQ grant project is to learn from the five states with ERP projects in the auto business sector, borrowing Environmental Results Program ( ERP) tools (i.e., workbooks, certification questions, and implementation plans), as well as their learning experiences. This proposal uses the three ERP components: 1) facility certification, 2) statistically-based performance measurement, and 3) on-site compliance, pollution prevention and technical assistance. Another objective is to further ERP innovation by DEQ’s development of an automated data system, electronic workbooks, and an online self-certification checklist(s) process. Metrics will be built on from the work of other states through development of Environmental Business Practice Indicators (EBPIs). The indicators will provide a gauge of both the extent of industry wide regulatory compliance s and the direct impact of the compliance on the environment.

By incorporating knowledge from recent successes with other state’s ERP experiences particularly the auto industry focus of Maine and Rhode Island programs, this proposal will advance self certification for a sector in Oregon that is required to follow regulations without the benefit of a permit oversight program. Because the absence of regulatory presence, many businesses do not realize they are required to meet environmental regulations and some are even reluctant to contact DEQ with questions or concerns. This proposal provides for establishing a statistically valid baseline of current environmental regulation compliance for the auto sector; a self-certification process; specific compliance guidance tools for the target sector; statistically valid follow up for compliance measurement; and development of environmental performance indicators. The expected environmental outcome will be a measured reduction in the amount of waste mismanaged.

Another outcome will be establishment of a better program for providing compliance assistance to an unregulated industry. DEQ will administer the program biannually through notifications, data collection and analysis and targeted specific non-regulatory training to businesses identified as needing assistance. This self-certification program will also serve as an appropriate segue for businesses interested in the “beyond compliance” efforts of the EcoBiz program. B enefits to the industry include: reduced inspection priority, ability to correct existing violations without fear of fines/penalties, and free pollution prevention and compliance assistance with correcting violations.

This proposal meets EPA’s strategic goals by contributing to reductions in air, land and water emissions of hazardous materials; by contributing to healthier communities; and by enabling businesses to become better environmental stewards. The focus of the pilot outreach will be in the metropolitan Portland area, with the intent to expand statewide upon analysis pilot results. Existing regional staff resources would be used to implement the program statewide. The project will build on lessons EPA and Oregon Business Assistance Programs have learned regarding innovation assistance activities, including the following most recent pollution prevention and compliance outreach projects:

Grant Program Criteria

  1. Target Priority Environmental Issues
    The proposed project will include the major elements of environmental innovation and will:
    1. Strengthen the EPA’s innovation partnerships with the States by strengthening Oregon relationship with and EPA and further the goals of the Performance Partnership Agreement.
    2. Result in improvements in these priority environmental issues:
      Reducing greenhouse gases
      Restoring and maintaining water quality
      Reducing the cost of water and wastewater infrastructure;
    3. The proposed grant project will provide tangible positive impacts to the environment by targeting the auto repair, and salvage industry in Oregon and providing measurable results in the reduction of localized negative environmental impacts to air, surface, and groundwater. Compliance with regulations that apply to volatile organic compounds (VOC); incineration of used oils and other air quality issues will be included in the checklists. Discharges of toxic pollutants to wastewater treatment facilities and addressing the best management practices for eliminating polluted stormwater discharges will also be targeted through the proposed innovative compliance program.
    4. Promote better environmental information
      This proposal will provide a more effective and lower cost compliance alternative to a standard outreachapproach. By building on the existing relationship with the targeted sector, and by building on the existing ERP programs nationally, better information on environmental compliancewill get out to the generator businesses.
    5. (d) Diversify environmental protection tools and approaches:
      - Information resources and technology
      - Environmental technology
      - Incentives
      - Results-based goals and measures;
      This proposal will develop performance measures that provide information about environmental conditions, not just program activities.
      The proposed project will diversify environmental protection tools and approaches by establishing and providing a clear understanding of what environmental compliance is for the different types of business within the auto repair & salvage sector, and by encouraging the businesses to go beyond compliance by also considering the EcoBiz program. It will also build on the most current auto related Environmental Results Program models nationally and develop transferable electronic-based resources and web-based certification processes.
    6. Foster a more “innovation-friendly” organizational system.The proposal will expand the application of ERP within the auto business sector with in Oregon. New tools including web-based self-certification, electronically transferable databases and guidebooks, will lower transaction costs of ERP in this priority environmental sector, facilitate State-to-State export of technical assistance and sharing of data and results. The project will develop environmental results measurement and reporting metrics consistent with the existing ERP state projects and common to the targeted business sector. By providing businesses with a better understanding of compliance requirements and encouraging support for the innovative “beyond compliance” program called EcoBiz, the long-term success of both programs will be increased.
  2. Improvement in Results from Project Implementation
    The ODEQ Hazardous Waste program will administer the certification program for the targeted sector. There will be Hazardous Waste, Air and Water Quality program components in the compliance certification program. Traditionally, technical assistance services were marketed to the sector, with disappointing results. This approach is different, because we will build, with the targeted sector support, a program that will include random inspections, as an incentive for businesses to learn more about what their compliance responsibilities are. This proposal will build on all the available lessons learned from the states now administering the Environmental Results Programs. Clear measures will be developed using the statistically valid sampling approach. The relatively small cost to EPA and ODEQ to develop and implement the program is a cost effective approach. If the program proves successful, other sectors may be targeted. Cost savings to the targeted sector are expected both in the savings anticipated from pollution prevention and waste reduction techniques as well as costs associated with compliance enforcement. This project will enlist the aide of the targeted sector’s respective professional associations including NATA, and AAA of Oregon; the environmental community, including Oregon Environmental Council, and advertise to the general public for input.
  3. Measuring Improvement and Accountability
    This proposal uses the three ERP components: 1) facility certification, 2) statistically-based performance measurement, and 3) on-site compliance, pollution prevention and technical assistance. Metrics will be built upon from the work of other states through development of the Environmental Business Practice Indicators (EBPIs). The indicators will provide a gauge of both the extent of regulatory compliance industry wide as well as the direct impact of the compliance on the environment. Random targeted inspections are planned for the first and third years of the program. During the second year, an accuracy analysis comparing the self-certification vs. the random inspections will be done. The self-certification checklists will be able to be submitted electronically and via the web. The EBPIs will provide the means to statistically and uniformly analyze the sample inspection results before and after. Certifications will be reviewed for accuracy and the process analyzed for accuracy. The results expected in the short run will be measurable levels of compliance conformance and the related environmental impacts. In the long run, increased knowledge and behavior changes within the targeted sector are expected.
  4. Transferring Innovation
    As with the EcoBiz program, this program will become part of ODEQ’s resources and advertised appropriately. As the data will be captured electronically and made available on the web, the results of the program will be widely available. If successful, this program will be a model for other business sectors. ODEQ is also committed to providing information and training to other States wishing to learn from our experience.

Project Schedule and Timeframe

Year 1: Develop list of ERP candidate businesses through research.
Year 1: Conduct stakeholder meetings; secure sector commitments
Year 1: Develop Compliance Checklists
Year 1: Develop Environmental Business Practice Indicators with Stakeholders; develop specific areas of compliance to measure
Year 1: Conduct random targeted compliance inspections; collect data in overall compliance and specific compliance areas; assess rates of compliance
Year 2: Assess Environmental Business Practice Indicators rates
Year 2: Perform accuracy analysis for self certifications vs. random inspections; develop summary report
Year 2: Develop Guidebooks and workshop materials
Year 2: Complete Mailing: ERP certification notification and workshop notifications
Year 2: Review Certification submission requests
Year 3: Conduct Certification reviews; compliance analysis
Year 3: Conduct Compliance follow up inspections; follow up compliance plans and agreements
Year 3: Conduct Stakeholder Review of process

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