Clean Water Act violations have always been serious business. This month, Hovnanian Enterprises agreed to pay the EPA $1 million for violations in 18 states. The EPA’s new portal for viewing Clean Water Act violations from its Annual Non-Compliance Report (ANCR) will make it more important than ever for businesses to steer clear of serious infractions.
“EPA is taking another important step to increase transparency and keep Americans informed about the safety of their local waters,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Making this information more accessible and understandable empowers millions of people to press for better compliance and enforcement in their communities.”
The website provides a map of the country, allowing users to view violations by state and company. The new tool could potentially make lawsuits more common as it makes it easier for the public to identify violations in their community. The tool also increases the likelihood that serious Clean Water Act violations will be picked up by the local and national press.
Visitors to the EPA webpage will be able to use interactive tools to view information on 40,000 Clean Water Act dischargers throughout the US, as well as giving summary information for every state, including a record of enforcement acts taken by state environmental agencies.
The ANCR debuts in the wake of an agreement by the EPA to begin evaluating water acidification due to CO2 emissions, in response to a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity settled last month. Should the EPA decide to regulate CO2 emissions through the Clean Water Act, the ANCR may soon make it possible for the public to easily identify the largest CO2 emitters in their area.
The interactive map is available at www.epa-echo.gov/echo/ancr/us/.