Protecting Oregon's Environment
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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Office of the Director 

Compliance and Enforcement 

  Compliance and Enforcement Overview
Supplemental Environmental Projects
Calculation of Civil Penalties and Regulations
Questions and Answers

Supplemental Environmental Projects

DEQ’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement assesses civil penalties for environmental law violations. Violators are sometimes given the opportunity to offset their monetary penalty by agreeing to pay for a supplemental environmental project. The project can represent up to 80 percent of the total penalty amount. These projects must improve Oregon’s environment in some way, and are not available in all cases. In 2008, DEQ approved 39 projects valued at about $1.18 million.
To obtain an application for a supplemental environmental project, call DEQ’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement, Portland, at (503) 229-5340, or call toll-free in Oregon at 1-800-452-4011, x5340.

Types of Supplemental Projects

Supplemental environmental projects can include activities that improve air quality, reduce hazardous waste, encourage more efficient use of resources, improve water quality, reduce or clean up solid waste, or aid in environmental emergency preparedness.

   Crew installing large culvert

Suggested examples:

  • Air quality — Woodstove change-out programs; diesel retrofits for school buses and semi-trucks
  • Hazardous waste — Community mercury thermometer exchanges or collections; household hazardous waste collection events
  • Resource efficiency — Conducting energy audits for schools, municipal buildings
  • Water quality — Stream bank restoration to reduce erosion, provide shading and increased natural habitat; constructing bioswales to collect and filter stormwater runoff
  • Solid waste — Abandoned garbage dump cleanups, cleanups of waste tire piles.
  As part of a supplemental environmental project, workers build a new aluminum culvert to remove a barrier to fish passage in Rowdy Creek in Lincoln County. Environmental law violators can help offset their penalties by electing to pay for a project that improves the environment.  

Qualifying for a Supplemental Environmental Project

In order to qualify for a supplement environmental project:
  1. The project must primarily benefit the environment or public health in Oregon.
  2. As much money must be spent on the project as is sought in the penalty reduction.
  3. The project cannot be an activity or result that is already required by law or set to become a future requirement.
  4. The portion of the project attributable to penalty reduction is not funded by government contracts, loans or grants.
  5. The project does not create a significant market or economic advantage for the violator.
  6. The project does not result in DEQ controlling the funds or implementing the project.
  7. If the violator is doing the project itself, the project must be commensurate with the violator’s expertise and capabilities.
  8. The violator must provide a final report on the project.

Recent Examples of Supplemental Projects

  • The city of Portland is funding projects valued at more than $500,000 to settle a penalty stemming from sewage discharges that occurred between 2001 and 2007. The projects include: restoration of a portion of Errol Creek basin in southeast Portland’s Johnson Creek watershed; retrofitting of the Cathedral Park boat ramp parking lot for improved stormwater management in north Portland; and construction of several water quality swales in the Fanno Creek basin area of southwest Portland to help filter polluted water that runs off nearby roads, lawns and other areas.
  • The city of Sheridan, penalized for a wastewater discharge permit violation, contributed $3,600 of a $4,500 penalty to the Yamhill Basin Council for a streamside restoration project on the South Yamhill River.  The project will reduce stream erosion and provide shade for cooler water temperatures that benefit native trout. The project, which has a total cost of $7,000, is to be completed in spring 2010.
  • LDN Construction contributed $5,280 of a $6,600 civil penalty to Cascade Sierra Solutions to assist independent owners and operators to upgrade their semi-trucks to clean diesel technology, greatly reducing diesel particulate and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Kinzua Resources is partnering with the city of Pilot Rock by contributing $1,120 of a $1,140 penalty for a community improvement project valued at nearly $1 million. The project provides new trees and shrubbery along the Highway 395 corridor near the Kinzua mill to reduce dust and noise and to provide shade, reduce temperatures and provide wildlife habitat.

The full internal management directive is available at "Evaluating and Approving Supplemental Environmental Projects".

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For more information about the Office of Compliance and Enforcement, call 503-229-5340.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204-1390
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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