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EPA Calls for Enforcement and Compliance Discretion During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Utah DEQ’s enforcement of regulations that directly affect human health will take priority

By DEQ Communications Office

Thursday, March 26, 2020, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a memo defining steps for enforcement and compliance discretion during the COVID-19 pandemic. This memo outlines temporary guidelines for loosening monitoring, reporting and enforcement of some environmental protections during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will work with regulated communities on a case-by-case basis to determine reasonable exemptions to environmental rules. Enforcement of regulations that directly affect human health will take priority. The department will continue monitoring sources of pollution to protect the safety and health of Utah residents.

“We are living in unprecedented times. As an agency, our mission to safeguard and protect Utah’s air, land and water has not changed,” said Scott Baird, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. “We are working with the regulated communities on a case-by-case basis to determine the most effective and reasonable approach to ensure compliance with environmental protections during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Some of the difficulties regulated communities are facing at this time include the loss of key employees due to illness and environmental contractors that are restricted from traveling to and around the state. This has hampered these organization’s efforts in complying with certain monitoring and reporting requirements.

The scientists, engineers and staff at Utah DEQ are focused on ensuring safety and compliance. The department will work closely with EPA and the regulated communities to determine a reasonable course of action with respect to environmental compliance that protects the health and welfare of Utah residents.

DEQ’s Regulatory Guidance During COVID19 Pandemic

Below are links to regulatory guidance memos for each division. Regulated entities should contact DEQ with any questions about how EPA’s memo will affect their compliance with environmental protections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Division of Air Quality

Division of Water Quality

Division of Drinking Water

Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control

Division of Environmental Response and Remediation