With updates pouring in every day regarding the coronavirus and government responses, we at Trinity Consultants are striving to bring you up-to-date and accurate agency information from both the US EPA and Ohio EPA. We will update this page as new information becomes available so feel free to come back and check for the latest guidance.
Ohio EPA Updates
Ohio EPA Working Status:
- Following Governor DeWine's guidance, district offices and Central Office are closed and agency staff are working from home.
Permit Application and Plan Submittals:
- Due to the remote work of the staff, Ohio EPA is requesting that all entities submit permit applications, plans, etc. electronically through the eBusiness Center, if possible.
- If a facility does not have an eBusiness account and does not wish to set one up, Ohio EPA has provided that documents smaller than 25 MB may be emailed to the agency contact. For documents larger than 25 MB, the submitter should work with the reviewer/division to upload via LiquidFiles.
- As of March 24, the district offices do not have consistent access to Air Services (STARS2). Ohio EPA is requesting that submitters notify the county contact or program manager via email when submitting a document in Air Services. Small sources not submitting via Air Services can email the documents to these contacts directly. Additionally, without this access they do not have the ability to issue permits. Central Office is working to mitigate this issue. Staff are actively working on permit terms and getting them ready for issuance once the issue is resolved.
- Please note, local district offices and air agencies have varying levels of access email. Therefore, please do reach out to your local office to ensure the best method for submittal.
Compliance Deadlines and Noncompliance Concerns:
While at this time Ohio EPA is not providing any formal extensions to reporting deadlines, the agency has issued guidance related to unavoidable noncompliance during this time. For noncompliance caused by workforce or facility changes due to impact from the coronavirus, Ohio EPA has provided a designated coronavirus email. Facilities may use this address to request regulatory flexibility such as reporting deadline extensions, consideration of waiving late fees, and enforcement discretion. Ohio EPA is requesting specific details regarding each request, including, at a minimum:
- The regulatory or permit requirement that cannot be complied with
- A statement describing the circumstances preventing compliance
- Anticipated duration of time the noncompliance will persist
- Mitigative measures that will be taken to protect public health and the environment
- A central point of contact for the regulated entity, including email address and phone number
US EPA Updates
US EPA announced their enforcement discretion policy for the COVID-19 pandemic in a news release on March 26.
- The temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion for facilities facing difficulty maintaining compliance with all federal regulatory requirements due to COVID-19's impact.
- To be eligible for enforcement discretion, facilities must document decisions made to prevent or mitigate noncompliance and demonstrate how noncompliance was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- EPA expects facilities to maintain compliance where practicable and to return to compliance as quickly as possible when transgressions occur.
A more detailed overview of this guidance can be found here.
If you have any questions about how Ohio EPA or US EPA are handling compliance during these times, please reach out to your Trinity contact, or Bill Bruscino at 614-433-0733.