On April 1, 2015, Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler announced his agency’s new approach to helping businesses achieve and maintain compliance with state environmental regulations. Many regulated businesses know what support services are available at the Ohio EPA, but unfortunately too many, particularly small businesses, do not have the resources to properly navigate between the Ohio EPA’s enforcement side and services side. Director Butler says he is now set to roll-out a “one-stop shop” for non-regulatory services, technical assistance and financial resources that he appropriately believes will be effective in improving environmental compliance in Ohio.
Effective May 1st, 2015, the Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention (OCAPP) will merge with the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA). The consolidated department will retain the name of DEFA. This new department looks to improve internal operations as well as industry access to compliance support services including: loans and technical assistance for public wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, on-site assistance and training for small business compliance, identifying and implementing pollution prevention (P2) measures, funding for recycling of materials (such as glass, plastics, rubber and construction and demolition debris) and recognizing efforts of businesses making commitments to compliance through the Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program.
Director Butler envisions the new DEFA taking a more proactive approach to informing Ohio’s businesses of the services available within the Ohio EPA, as well as improving and expanding the range of services they provide. You can click here to learn more about how Ohio EPA is changing, and what its emphasis on customer service means for your business.
But don’t fret – the EPA’s Ohio Chamber-backed environmental audit program is not affected. This program allows companies to perform a self-audit on a facility, to correct any state or federal regulatory compliance issues, and then to voluntarily submit that report to Ohio EPA – and qualify for immunity from any civil penalties for the violations disclosed.