The Compliance Division’s goals are to provide companies with assistance in complying with air quality rules and regulations and when they cannot comply, to apply an appropriate level of enforcement action proportionate to the non-compliance. These levels of enforcement action include Notices to Comply (NTCs) or Notifications of Violation (NOVs).
If you receive a NTC or NOV, you should take immediate and appropriate steps to correct the situation, including ceasing operations, following the breakdown procedures, or remedying the problem.
Notice to Comply (NTC)
NTCs are issued to businesses for first time violations when the violation does not result in additional pollutants being emitted into the atmosphere. A Notice to Comply will not be issued, however, when the business has a prior breach of the same requirement in the last three years.
A business which receives an NTC is allowed seven working days to correct whatever violations were discovered by the inspector.
Notification of Violation (NOV)
When an inspector discovers a violation that does not qualify for a Notice to Comply, A Notification of Violation (NOV) is issued. A questionnaire will be provided to the source to provide back to the inspector. The questionnaire is important. It is designed to gather information which could lead to either a dismissal or reduced penalties.
All NOVs undergo an internal management review before being referred through the Mutual Settlement Program, for further action. If the NOV is referred, the business will receive a confirming Notice of Violation, which will be mailed along with a letter.
Mutual Settlement Program
This program provides an opportunity to settle violations through a participatory process for the primary purposes of achieving compliance and preventing future violations without going through formal court proceedings. Settlements can include civil penalties, emission reductions and supplemental environmental projects. When a settlement has been reached, and its obligations fulfilled, the individual or company is released from further liability for that incident. MBARD's Mutual Settlement Program is operated from within the Compliance Division by MBARD staff.
Violations of air quality regulations are subject to civil and/or criminal penalties as specified in the California Health & Safety Code (H&SC). The H&SC sets maximum penalties for violations, however, MBARD can offer to settle these violations for a portion of the maximum penalty based on an assessment of three distinct penalty elements: a gravity based penalty related to the severity of the violation, an economic benefit penalty intended to remove any financial gains associated with noncompliance, and a cost recovery assessment to recover MBARD's costs related to the investigation.
While standard objective criteria are used to determine civil penalties, a case by case determination will guide the specific settlement offer for each individual notice of violation. MBARD sets the settlement terms; usually involving payment of a penalty, proof of correction, and current compliance. Settlement can be discussed to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution. The proposed settlement is then formalized in a written offer.