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