Any regulated entity in Indiana may apply to Indiana’s Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) regardless of type, size, or complexity. To qualify for ESP, applicants must demonstrate that they have:
- A standard of environmental compliance;
- Implemented and will maintain an environmental management system (EMS); and
- Committed to continuous environmental improvement.
Together, the EMS and the steward's commitment to continual environmental improvement will increase their efficiency, decrease environmental impacts, and may save the business time, money, and resources. Once a facility has determined it meets these eligibility requirements [PDF], the facility can apply for membership to IDEM. Applications to the Environmental Stewardship Program are accepted two times each year. The spring application round occurs April 1 - May 31 and the fall application round occurs September 1 - October 31 each year.
The following resources are available to help you complete the ESP application:
- Verify that the U.S. EPA's ECHO database represents your facility’s compliance history accurately.
- For confidential assistance with an environmental compliance or regulatory question, contact IDEM's Compliance and Technical Assistance Program.
- Ensure that your EMS meets the guidelines, complete the EMS Checklist [PDF].
- Conduct an independent audit of your Environmental Management System (EMS).
- Review the ESP Application Instructions [PDF].
- Reference the Environmental Performance Table [PDF] when determining continued environmental improvement initiatives.
Application Review Process
After the application solicitation period ends, the application review period is approximately 90 days:
- Days 1 - 30: IDEM completes the administrative review and does an environmental compliance check within the last three years.
- Days 31 - 60: The ESP manager will conduct a site visit to tour the facility and review the Environmental Management System. In addition, an IDEM CTAP staff member will be present to discuss any regulatory requirements. (Notes and information gathered while at this visit are not confidential under the CTAP confidentiality clause.)
- Days 61 - 90: IDEM senior management reviews the application. Upon approval, IDEM’s Commissioner signs the acceptance letter and certificate. The certificate can be mailed or presented in an onsite ceremony after acceptance, depending on your preference. You will also be invited to request environmental regulatory incentives upon acceptance into the program.
Responsibilities of ESP Members
Once a facility has successfully become an ESP member, the facility must meet the ESP member responsibilities for the membership term.
The ESP membership term lasts for four years, and renewals must be requested when submitting the fourth APR to ensure that the facility continues to meet the stringent membership requirements. Businesses must have had an independent assessment of their environmental management system completed within the past thirty-six (36) months to renew membership. An independent assessment is one that is performed by someone who is neither directly employed by the facility, nor someone who has played a substantive role in developing the environmental management system. The renewal process for current members is very similar to the process of becoming a new member, and the review process takes approximately 90 days to complete. Businesses continuing to meet ESP program requirements will be notified of their membership renewal and will be provided with a new ESP certificate documenting the newest membership term.
Per Rule 329 IAC 18-1-10, IDEM is required to “post the organizational name and location for all new and renewal applications on the department web site within twenty-one (21) days of the receipt of each application.”
For More Information
If you have questions, please contact the ESP Program Manager.