Compliance Evaluations (Inspections) modules:
Our compliance and enforcement workforce is responsible for protecting the environment and public health. The Department determines whether a site/facility, located within the State, has complied with applicable environmental law, regulation or permit conditions and investigates alleged environmental resource and public health concerns reported by the public. Some permit conditions are preventative, that is the facility may be “out of compliance” well before any failure is imminent. This deliberately conservative approach underscores the Departments primary effort to avoid any spills or releases that could threaten the environment of public health. When a non-compliance is detected that does not result in a spill or release the Department provides facilities with written recommendations to abate or rectify issues. MDE “Compliance Evaluations” may include, but are not limited to;
- Site/Facility Pre-Screening- a collective and historical research and review of relevant information of a site/facility.
- Audits- a comprehensive review of applicable facility records and reports for errors, omissions or exceedences,
- Unannounced and Announced(scheduled) and Site Visits- interviewing site personnel and other potential witnesses, and documenting the conditions at the site/facility observed during an on-site or remote inspection,
- Sampling- collecting and Analyzing air, soil or water parameters to determine if a site/facility has released a regulated pollutant that exceeds limits established in a permit or an environmental regulation.
- Other evidence collection methods-
- Photographic- captured during a site visit or made publicly available (ie; MD MERLIN, Google earth, other Geographic Information Mapping (GIS) systems)
Ideally the facilities are working hard to meet or exceed state and federal standards. Occasionally facilities and their operators fall short. MDE decides whether non-compliance issues are minor or significant in nature and the extent to which the transgression has or could impact public health or environmental resources. When MDE makes a final compliance status determination it will also recommend in the inspection report, the next course of action needed to attain or maintain full compliance at a site/facility. To preserve the public’s trust in the enforcement process, MDE provides transparency on compliance evaluations conducted within agency program areas.