Region 10's Oversight of Washington State's Air
Compliance and Enforcement Program
EPA Office of Inspector General
Region 10's Oversight of Washington State's Air
Compliance and Enforcement Program
The purpose of the audit was to determine whether Region 10 (the Region) implemented effective oversight of
the Washington State's Air Compliance and Enforcement Program. While delegated state and local air agencies
have primary responsibility for ensuring adequate air quality, EPA retains responsibility for ensuring fair and
effective enforcement of federal requirements, and a credible national deterrence to noncompliance. In order to
ensure that states and locals are effectively carrying out federal requirements, the EPA implemented a program
to track and report on significant violators (SVs) of air pollution. The intent of the program is to ensure that
violations by major air stationary sources, namely SVs, are addressed and resolved in a timely and appropriate
This audit was initiated because of a concern from the Headquarters' Office of Enforcement and Compliance
(OECA) that states and locals were under reporting SVs to EPA, which if not addressed could gravely injure
EPA's ability to protect human health and the environment through a credible compliance and enforcement
program. The audit focused on major stationary sources of air pollution in Washington State (the State).
The objectives were to determine whether:
	The Region's corrective actions planned in fiscal 1997 were adequate to address the under reporting of
SVs by the State.
	The State identified SVs consistent with EPA's compliance and enforcement guidance.
The Region could improve its oversight activities to ensure more accurate reporting of SVs by: (i) implementing
the corrective actions planned for fiscal 1997; (ii) conducting evaluations of State and local air programs; (iii)
assisting State and locals in implementing SV programs; (iv) reviewing enforcement data contained in the
Aerometric Information Retrieval System Facility Subsystem (commonly known as AFS); and (v) finalizing a
new compliance assurance agreement with the State and locals.
Additionally, we noted numerous errors in the categorization for the types of stationary sources maintained in
AFS. Sixty percent of the sources in AFS were categorized using obsolete classification codes. We have not
included this matter as a finding with recommendations because the problem appears to be nationwide and EPA
Headquarters is aware of it. Nevertheless, we believe management should be aware that: (i) the extent of errors

in the classification codes jeopardizes the reliability of the data; and (ii) policy or management decisions should
not be made based upon the data. This issue is discussed further in APPENDIX B of this report.
Our findings are summarized below and discussed in detail in CHAPTERS 2 and 3 of this report.
Under Reporting of SVs
During fiscal 1996, the Region reported 7 of the 178 major stationary sources listed in AFS as SVs. However,
another 17 (55 percent) from our sample of 31 major sources were not reported as SVs. The Region recognized
that some states were not reporting all SVs and developed a corrective action plan for implementation in early
fiscal 1997. However, as of June 30, 1997, it had not implemented any of the planned actions. The Region
stated that implementation of the planned actions was delayed because it was considering more complete
evaluations to include States' inspections and enforcement follow-up on violations, in addition to identification
and reporting of SVs. Although the planned actions were not implemented, some other actions were taken to
increase the accuracy of reporting SVs by the State. While all of these actions would result in improved
reporting, if fully implemented, we believe they are insufficient to completely address the problem of under
reporting by the State. Accurate reporting of SVs is essential for the Region to monitor the compliance status of
SVs and evaluate whether timely and appropriate enforcement actions were taken.
To assess the extent of under reporting of SVs by the State and identify specific causes for the reporting
problems, we focused on the reporting practices by the Region and selected Washington Air Quality Authorities
(WAQAs) for fiscal 1996. The causes of under reporting of SVs were related to weaknesses in the Region's
oversight and to WAQAs' reporting practices. Some weaknesses in the Region's oversight include not: (i)
routinely conducting formal air compliance program evaluations; (ii) ensuring that WAQAs understand the
definition of S V, as defined in EPA's Guidance on Timely and Appropriate Enforcement Response to
Significant Air Pollution Violators; and (iii) ensuring that enforcement data recorded in AFS were routinely
used to identify SVs. Some reasons why WAQAs did not report SVs were because they: (i) had not established
procedures for reporting SVs; (ii) had failed to apply the EPA's SV definition; (iii) had not reported violations if
the facility achieved timely compliance; and (iv) considered some violations insignificant.
Accordingly, we believe the Regional Administrator needs to: (i) implement its corrective action plan; (ii)
develop procedures to evaluate the adequacy of WAQAs air programs in accordance with EPA guidance; (iii)
work with WAQAs to ensure they fully apply the SV definition; (iv) review enforcement actions recorded in
AFS by WAQAs; and (v) finalize a new compliance assurance agreement with the WAQAs.
Some SVs Not Identified
Two of four WAQAs reviewed were not identifying SVs consistent with EPA's compliance and enforcement
guidance. Inspections conducted at 11 of 20 major stationary sources by the two WAQAs did not meet EPA
level 2 inspection criteria. In addition, inspection reports on two other sources did not contain sufficient detail to
verify that level 2 inspections were conducted. As a result, the Region was not assured that major stationary
sources were in compliance with the Act and SVs might go undetected for long periods before corrective action
is taken. This occurred because the Region had not implemented an effective oversight program for assuring
inspections were thorough enough (equivalent to level 2) to determine whether the sources' operations met the
requirements of the Act.
Specific recommendations follow the findings in CHAPTERS 2 and 3. In summary, we recommend that the
Regional Administrator improve the accuracy of reporting SVs by:

1.	Implementing the Region's corrective act plan.
2.	Conducting evaluations of State and local air programs to ensure they are implementing their program
consistent with EPA guidance.
3.	Reviewing enforcement data recorded in AFS to identify potential SVs.
4.	Giving priority to completing a new compliance assurance agreement.
A draft report was provided to the Region for comment on December 30, 1997. Copies of the draft report were
also provided to the WAQAs that were included in the review. The Region responded to the draft report on
February 20, 1998 and its response is included as APPENDIX D to this report. The response incorporated some
of the WAQAs' more significant concerns and included as an attachment their responses for our review
regarding specific details of fact and opinion. The WAQAs' responses are not attached to this report but are
available upon request. The Region concurred with the report recommendations and described corrective
actions that have been taken or will be taken.
We agree with the corrective actions taken or planned by the Region. We believe that these actions should
improve the identification and reporting of SVs by the State.