While inspections have decreased since 2011, the ratio of enforcement to inspections has increased.
In the 2020 Federal Fiscal Year (FFY20: October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020), there were 1,835 inspections performed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP); a decrease from the 3,151 inspections completed in FFY 2019. The decline in DEEP inspections is due, in part, to the state of emergency issued in Connecticut as a result of the COVID 19 virus outbreak. While the impact of COVID 19 may have resulted in fewer inspections in FFY20; there has been a significant decline in the number of inspections over the last ten years. The number of DEEP inspections in FYY20 was roughly one-third of the inspections performed in 2011 and less than half of the inspections of the ten-year average (4,062). In FFY20, there were 998 enforcement actions, which included 925 “Informal Enforcement Actions”, consisting of Notices of Violation (NOV), Notice of Non-Compliance (NON), and warning letters; 65 “Orders”; and eight “Referrals” to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Attorney General, and/or Chief State’s Attorney. While the number of enforcement actions in FFY20 (998) was less than last year, it was still approximately 90 percent of the ten-year average of 1,117.
The Informal Enforcement Actions are enforcement tools, generally issued whenever DEEP detects one or more violations at a facility or permitted use. They can be issued for relatively minor or major violations; in cases of the latter type, the recipient might also receive an order, which might carry a financial penalty. In FFY20, DEEP assessed administrative penalties totaling $484,505 and required violators to fund supplemental environmental projects (SEP) totaling $432,500.81
81 DEEP, Department-wide Federal Fiscal Year 2020 Enforcement Statistics (10/01/19 - 09/30/20); portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/enforcement/reports/2020-totals-enforcement-statistics-5_year-average-website.pdf