Compliance monitoring evaluates whether a permittee is in or out of compliance with their IPDES permit. DEQ will receive, evaluate, retain, and investigate all notices and reports required of IPDES-permitted dischargers to determine a facility’s compliance status. These activities are performed by IPDES Compliance, Inspection, and Enforcement (CIE). The CIE staff verifies and documents whether entities regulated under the IPDES Program comply with the Clean Water Act (CWA) and IPDES permit obligations. To achieve this goal, IPDES CIE staff ensures compliance with permit and program requirements by using a combination of (1) compliance monitoring, (2) compliance assistance, (3) compliance incentives, and (4) enforcement.
Under Idaho Code §39-108(2)(b) and IDAPA 58.01.25.300.09, DEQ has authority to enter, at reasonable times, any private or public property to inspect or investigate possible violations of IPDES rules, permits or orders, and other program requirements. An IPDES applicant, as part of the application process, and once permitted, must allow DEQ to enter the premises to conduct the following
- Access and copy any records that permit conditions require the permittee to keep.
- Inspect facilities and equipment (including monitoring and control equipment), practices, or operations regulated or required under a permit.
- Sample or monitor any substances or parameters at any location to ensure compliance with an IPDES permit or the CWA.
DEQ will require permittees to submit discharge monitoring data through EPA’s NetDMR web application according to the self-monitoring and reporting timeline requirements of their IPDES permit. DEQ will review the DMR data through EPA’s Integrated Compliance Information System (ICIS)/NetDMR. All other self-reporting information (e.g., whole effluent toxicity testing results and annual reports) that a permittee currently submits as an attachment in NetDMR will be required to be submitted electronically using the IPDES E-Permitting system, unless a waiver has been granted for a facility to submit hard copies.
Compliance assistance includes any activity not considered part of a formal enforcement action and is designed to help a permittee achieve or remain in compliance with the CWA and their IPDES permit. Compliance assistance is a proactive tool to help a permittee when requested before a noncompliance event necessitates formal enforcement action.
Compliance assistance includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Helps the regulated community understand and meet its obligations under environmental regulations.
- Helps a permittee understand changes in or conditions of a permit.
- Assists the owner/operator in identifying and reducing or eliminating pollution sources.
Additional compliance assistance activities or tools to improve compliance rates include the following:
- Web links—DEQ provides links to compliance assistance centers and web-based support sites such as epa.gov. Users can search for regulations, pollution prevention opportunities, and voluntary programs created by EPA and other regulatory agencies.
- Workshops—IPDES Program staff participates in or conducts workshops for industry or assists in developing compliance assistance materials presented at non-DEQ workshops.
- Conferences—IPDES Program staff attends and presents at conferences to provide information, including prepared guidance, manuals, and technology transfer documents.
- Social Media and YouTube—DEQ uses social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) and YouTube to inform citizens and the regulated community of IPDES Program requirements or initiatives.
- Pollution Prevention—During routine inspections, DEQ encourages permittees to practice pollution prevention at municipal and industrial facilities as resources and opportunities allow.
- Operator Training and Certification Program—The Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses (IBOL) administers examinations and certifies wastewater system operators. DEQ collaborates with IBOL in developing training programs. Currently, DEQ’s Wastewater Program provides training for wastewater operators. Training materials are available to operators through the IBOL website. IBOL staff is available to answer questions and provide information about training opportunities.