To offer solutions to municipalities with on-going compliance issues with the state wastewater (LPDES) permit program requirements by assessing the needs and tools necessary to bring these municipalities into compliance. Achieving compliance through this partnership between the municipalities and LDEQ provides real environmental change resulting in a positive quality of life for all citizens of the state and solutions to avoid costly penalties and lengthy consent decrees.
Challenges Facing Municipalities
Past experience indicated the compliance issues facing most municipalities are the result of challenges in one or more of the following areas:
1. Funding for much needed facility upgrades and ongoing maintenance
2. Commitment from local governments and municipalities to address the issues
3. Operational knowledge to properly maintain advanced systems
4. Coordination of system-wide improvements
5. Education of LPDES program requirements such as reporting
6. Knowledge of funding opportunities and technical assistance available to municipalities
How DEQ can offer Solutions
One of the primary missions of DEQ is to ensure that the water resources of Louisiana are clean and free of adverse health-related pathogens. One of the tools that DEQ uses to help LPDES permit holders come into compliance with their permit is through civil compliance orders. The compliance process offers many solutions for municipalities by working with DEQ. These include:
1. Compliance Schedules to document progress with compliance issues
2. Providing training classes for town employees on various areas and requirements of the LPDES permit
3. Providing qualified representatives to speak at town council meetings/public meetings
4. Providing resources for facility operation and maintenance assistance
5. Providing information on funding opportunities
How Municipality Leaders can be the Solution
Municipalities can offer solutions by offering a commitment to clean water from the administration to address these issues and work with the department to offer a better quality of life for their citizens. The key to success for municipalities is for the local administration to sign on to the solutions offered by the Department which could delay or even remove any risk of monetary fines. However, the consequences of continued non-compliance by choosing to work outside the program is a return to civil penalties and other inflexible enforcement tools used in the past.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the DEQ Customer Service Center at 1-866-896-LDEQ (5337).