Dust Violations Matrix 101
Air Quality Violations can be costly. However, they can be avoided - Earthworks continues to keep our clients violation free (sorry for the shameless plug).
Clients ask me all of the time how much a violation would be if they did this...or that. The answer is not a simple $100.00 or $10,000.00, fines fluctuate due to a number of variables.
Air Quality Violations (dust violations fall into this category) are assessed by an enforcement officer and listed below are a few of the items that are taken into consideration when assigning a monetary fine.
Items that are given a numerical value (0 being negligible and 4 being extremely high):
*Level of violation
*Toxicity of Pollutant
*Risk to Environment - Is the county in attainment or non-attainment for this pollutant?
*Risk to Population - Were you creating dust a crossed the street from a school or hospital?
*Size of the violator - Net worth of the permit holder - lesser fines for smaller organizations
*Extent of Deviation - Did you have 40 feet of track out or 700 feet of track out?
*Potential for Harm
*Length of Time in Violation - Did you correct immediately or did you correct the following week?
Items that are considered "Adjustments" given a % (+25% to -5%):
*Degree of Willfulness or Negligence
*Degree of Cooperation - Before vs. After Discovery of Violation - correcting a violation after an inspector points it out is still a violation
*History of Non-Compliance - Similar Violations, Most Recent Violations, Number of Prior Violations
There are also a number of other factors that are considered in evaluating a monetary fine such as ability to pay, litigation risks, avoided costs and illegal profits.
I hope this information is useful. Feedback is welcomed and appreciated. I realize this information is both invigorating and flashy - thank you for taking the time to read.