Notice of Violation (NOV)
A Notice of Violation (NOV) notifies a recipient that the EPA or a state agency believes the recipient committed one or more violations and provides instructions for coming into compliance.
The purpose of an NOV is to initiate corrective action that will stop the violation. To provide an incentive for continuing compliance, NOVs usually include projected monetary penalties that may be assessed if corrective actions are not taken. Serious or repeated violations may lead to criminal prosecution.
The financial and potential criminal penalties should quote a published penalty schedule. You will have the right to question the NOV at the contact information provided on the document. If corrective actions are not taken, a facility may receive an Administraive Consent Order (ACO) or an Administrative Order and Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessment (AONOCAPA). Each action will include a penalty, but there are processes in place to mitigate this penalty. For example the NJDEP allows up to 75% of a penalty to be paid through an approved Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP).
In the event that you choose to contest the NOV, the Agency must be notified with the basis for contestation. If the reviewer finds cause to proceed further, a hearing will be scheduled.
Cemtek staff has experience with such hearings, (see Cautionary Tales at bottom of page). Please note that CAP is not a law firm and should not be viewed as legal advice. However, we are extremely familiar with the process and have settled ACOs for former clients.
Think of us as puzzle solvers. Often times the NOV is due to a paperwork oversight by the facility. Our staff is trained on what to look for and versed in the myriads of state and federal regulations being imposed on your company. If there is a way to reduce the fine, or redirect the funds to Supplemental Environmental Projects at the facility we will find it.
Most importantly though, each penalty assessment will likely request a revision to the site compliance plan. The goal of which is to achieve compliance and establish systems to help maintain that status.
DID YOU RECEIVE A NOTICE OF VIOLATION?
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I RECEIVE AN NOV?
First, read and understand the entire NOV.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. What are you being penalized for?
2. How much is the penalty?
3. When do you have to pay it?
Once you understand what the violation is, if possible, take immediate action is to stop the violation and to bring your operation back into compliance. In accordance with your states requirements, send a copy of the notice with a written description of the corrective action you have taken to prevent continued or recurrent violations.
If you have questions, call the District Compliance Department or consult CAP for advice.
WHAT IF WE ARE UNABLE TO CORRECT THE PROBLEM?
Should you need to continue operations that will cause the violation to continue you must immediately apply for a variance. This variance is a request for an administrative order granting temporary relief from a specific permit condition.
If the variance is approved, your facility will be allowed to continue operating while taking the steps to come into compliance. Contact a Cemtek Representative to find out if you are eligible for a variance.
WHAT ARE CRITERIA FOR RECEIVING AN NOV
A facility can receive an NOV for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons include: failure to submit compliance reports, failure to monitor, inaccurately reporting emissions, and operating outside of permitted authority.
Penalties vary from state to state, but the severity of these depend on the following:
The extent of harm caused by the violation
The nature and persistence of the violation
The length of time over which the violation occurs
The frequency of past violations
The record of maintenance
The unproven or innovative nature of the control equipment
Any action taken to mitigate the violation
The financial burden to the operator