All About NDEE: Return to Compliance process
To make compliance easy, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) simplified its return to compliance (RTC) process in the summer of 2020.
The new process allows for NDEE to work with facilities and permit holders to obtain voluntary compliance while making paths to compliance or enforcement clearer and more understandable.
In the past, facilities that had an inspection- or reporting-related violation at their facility could receive a variety of correspondence from NDEE, depending on the severity of the violation. This made the compliance process complex and more time consuming for both NDEE and the facility. Under the simplified RTC process, NDEE issues one type of correspondence to communicate issues found at a facility – a letter of non-compliance (LNC) – which helps NDEE communicate more effectively with facilities.
Facilities or permit holders who receive an LNC have the opportunity to discuss alleged violations with NDEE and discuss the actions they can take to return to compliance.
In general, if the inspection results in an LNC, the process works like this:
1) NDEE will provide a schedule for the facility to return to compliance.
2) The facility may contact NDEE with any questions to gain a clear understanding of the violations and corrective action the agency has requested.
3) The facility takes corrective action, returns to compliance and notifies NDEE as requested in the LNC.
4) If the facility believes the corrections cannot be made within the timeframe NDEE provided, they may propose an alternative schedule, along with justification for any delay.
If the facility does not come back into compliance in the agreed upon timeframe, NDEE may refer the matter for enforcement. This may include an administrative order or a referral to the Attorney General. Please note that the described actions above are how the RTC process works in general, and each step may not be followed in every instance, depending on facts and circumstances.
NDEE developed two guidance documents to assist facilities with inspections and with understanding the RTC process. Inspection Tips for Regulated Facilities and A Guide to NDEE’s Return to Compliance Process can be found on the agency’s website.