The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has achieved major improvement in compliance with Clean Water Act (CWA) permits over the past five-year period. In FY 2018, EPA and 47 states agreed to collaborate on a goal to reduce significant noncompliance among facilities permitted under the Clean Water Act by 50 percent over five years. EPA is now announcing that this collaborative effort has achieved its goal – the national significant non-compliance (SNC) rate has been reduced from 20.3 percent at the start of 2018 to 9.0 percent. This reduction in violations advances EPA’s strategic plan goal to ensure clean and safe water for all communities.
For decades prior to this initiative, over 20% of CWA individually permitted facilities had “significant non-compliance” (SNC) level violations with their water discharge permit, including violations for exceeding permitted pollutant discharge limits, not meeting enforcement order or permit requirements, and not timely reporting compliance data or sometimes at all. In response to these persistent CWA non-compliance problems, EPA in 2018 set a goal to cut the level of SNC violations at roughly 46,000 CWA regulated facilities in half over 5 years. EPA immediately reached out to the states to partner with them in this effort and to find ways to achieve the goal together. In 2020, EPA took another step and made this effort one of the EPA enforcement program’s National Compliance Initiatives (NCIs).