Ohio EPA guidance for navigating compliance-related issues during COVID-19
Ohio EPA has acknowledged its awareness that regulated entities may be impacted by a reduced workforce necessary to maintain normal operations at some facilities and issued guidance in response. To address instances in which regulated entities will have an unavoidable noncompliance situation directly due to impact from the coronavirus, Ohio EPA has created a specific email address to accept requests for the Director of Ohio EPA to provide regulatory flexibility when possible to assist entities in alternative approaches to maintaining compliance, including extending reporting deadlines, consideration of waiving late fees and exercising enforcement discretion.
Ohio EPA instructs regulated entities to email EPA.COVID-19REGFLEX@epa.ohio.gov with specific information related to enforcement discretion requests and to, at a minimum, include the following information:
- The specific regulatory or permit requirement that cannot be complied with
- A concise statement describing the circumstances preventing compliance
- The anticipated duration of time that the noncompliance will persist
- The mitigative measures that will be taken to protect public health and the environment during the need for enforcement discretion
- A central point of contact for the regulated entity, including an email address and phone number
Lastly, Ohio EPA specifies that, when alternative compliance options are authorized by Ohio EPA, regulated entities must maintain records adequate to document activities related to the noncompliance and details of the regulated entity’s best efforts to comply.