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Pollution Prevention Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)

IDEM Enforcement uses supplemental environmental projects (SEP) as tools for negotiating settlements of enforcement actions. At the discretion of the agency, SEPs may be included in enforcement settlements to improve the environment beyond what is required by law.

IDEM encourages supplemental environmental projects (SEPs). SEPs often provide a unique opportunity and incentive for the implementation of environmental improvements that could not easily be accomplished in any other way. As a matter of policy, IDEM Enforcement deems the performance of SEPs that are consistent with the State's definition of pollution prevention and can be credibly documented as such, worthy of special consideration and preference. In fact, Pollution Prevention SEPs may receive an offset of 90% of the gravity portion of a penalty compared to 80% for other types of SEPs.

For more information, contact the Office of Program Support at (317) 234-9730 or (800) 988-7901.

How can I benefit from a Pollution Prevention SEP?

Pollution Prevention SEPs benefit the Respondent in several ways. Eliminating a pollutant eliminates the risk and liability associated with the pollutant. Pollution Prevention SEPs may eliminate the need for additional pollution control equipment and possibly the need to be regulated by a Federal or State Agency. Additionally, the implementation of a Pollution Prevention SEP may result in an offset of up to 90% of the gravity portion of the penalty imposed in the relevant enforcement action.

Consequently, IDEM Enforcement encourages interested parties to evaluate Pollution Prevention projects for SEPs. Resources are available to assist in the development of Pollution Prevention SEP ideas for your facility. These resources may be contacted through the IDEM Office of Program Support (OPS). OPS may be contacted at (317) 234-9730 or (800) 988-7901.

What qualifies as Pollution Prevention?

Pollution prevention (P2) is any practice that reduces or eliminates the creation of pollutants through increased efficiency in the use of raw materials, energy, water, or other resources. P2 also includes any practice that reduces the amount or toxicity of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal. Therefore P2 results in a direct, overall decrease in the release of those pollutants to the environment.

Pollution Prevention means:

  1. Source reduction as defined under the federal Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, and
  2. Other Practices that reduce or eliminate the creation of pollutants through:
    • increased efficiency in the use of raw materials, energy, water, or
    • protection of natural resources by conservation.

Source reduction, as defined under the federal Pollution Prevention Act, means any practice which:

  1. Reduces the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment (including fugitive emissions) prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal; and;
  2. Reduces the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of such substances, pollutants, or contaminants.

The following are the (6) basic approaches to pollution prevention that would be eligible for credit:

  1. Equipment or technology modification:
    • New facility process design for pollution prevention incorporates environmental objectives with minimal use of toxic materials in the production process using state of the art technology. Redesign options include retrofit upgrading, modernizing, or replacing production unit equipment to reduce the use of toxic materials in the production process.
  2. Process or procedure modification:
    • This pollution prevention approach is usually considered after the process equipment is already in place. Frequently, changes that prevent pollution can also provide production improvements as they reduce the quantity or toxicity of in-process hazardous materials. Process modifications include adjustments to flow rates, temperature, pressure or residence times. Procedure modifications include layout or plumbing changes, in-line filtration, and the use of automation. This is often a continuous method of improvement, and a viable option to incorporate pollution prevention into an already existing process.
  3. Reformulation or redesign of products:
    • Product reformulation or redesign for pollution prevention incorporates environmental objectives with minimal loss to the product's performance, useful life, or functionality. The reformulated product's composition is rendered less toxic or nontoxic to ensure environmental protection and consumer safety for its intended use, reuse, recycling, and ultimate disposal.
  4. Substitution of raw materials:
    • A less toxic or nontoxic input material is substituted for one that is toxic or that causes a waste treatment problem. Raw materials integral to and necessary for the production of a product or the providing of a service are carefully selected to ensure the least degree of toxicity or potential contribution to the creation of environmental pollutants, hazardous substances or contaminants. This approach to pollution prevention reduces or eliminates hazardous materials entering the production process and minimizes waste treatment requirements.
  5. Energy and natural resources conservation:
    • Energy conservation minimizes power plant emissions through design changes to increase energy efficiency or by substituting environmentally benign fuel sources. Such practices reduce environmental damages from the extraction, processing, transport, and combustion of fuels. Natural resource conservation ensures the prudent use of water and mineral aggregates.
  6. Environmental Management Systems:
    • Environmental management systems identify pollution prevention opportunities in order to implement one or more of the above pollution prevention methods.
    • Improvements in housekeeping, maintenance or inventory control are considered pollution prevention activities under Indiana's definition but would not be eligible as a SEP because they are considered sound business practices which do not confer substantial, long-term public health and environmental benefits.

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