The Compliance Section ensures compliance with air permits and regulations by conducting inspections, responding to complaints, verifying stack test data, gathering actual emissions data annually, reviewing compliance reports, issuing burn permits and, when necessary, carrying out enforcement actions. The Compliance Section also conducts ambient air monitoring to ensure that Nebraska’s air quality is maintained and that the public’s health and welfare are protected.
NDEQ is headquartered in Lincoln and has six regional field offices located throughout the state. Our field offices provide better public access to NDEQ, reduce response time to citizen complaints, and allow the agency to have a better understanding of local issues. Our field office staff conduct compliance inspections, complaint investigations, sampling, monitoring, and outreach activities for almost all of our regulatory programs.
Three of the field office inspectors, located in Holdrege, Norfolk, & North Platte, have assignments to conduct work for the Air Quality Division. They participate in the same training, meetings, and other compliance program activities as the Lincoln-based Air Quality inspectors.
Through the Nebraska Environmental Protection Act, the Air Division attempts to obtain compliance with environmental regulations first through voluntary efforts. Voluntary compliance has helped bring about a better working relationship with the regulated community without sacrificing environmental quality.
Enforcement actions are pursued by the agency when compliance issues are serious, chronic, or cannot be otherwise resolved. NDEQ’s maximum penalty is $10,000 per day per violation. The NDEQ works with the Attorney General’s Office on enforcement actions. All penalty monies collected are distributed to the local school district where the violation occurred.
As part of a settlement, the source may voluntarily agree to undertake an environmentally beneficial project related to the violation in exchange for mitigation of the penalty. This is referred to as a Supplement Environmental Project or a SEP. SEPs must be activities that go above and beyond with is necessary to comply with the law.