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Ecology Services

Compliance and Enforcement

Philosophy and Principles

As Washington’s principal environmental protection agency, Ecology uses education, technical assistance, and cooperation-based programs to achieve voluntary compliance with state and federal laws and rules. At Ecology, enforcement is not an end, but a means to achieve compliance with environmental laws and rules, and protection of the environment.

We advise on and approve permits, conduct inspections, perform on-site technical visits, and provide guidance materials written in clear and understandable language. Most people and businesses subject to Washington’s environmental laws voluntarily comply. When they fail to comply and the failure may be corrected, we provide education and technical assistance which frequently is enough to correct the problem.

Unfortunately, a small percentage of people and businesses require a more direct response to achieve compliance. In these cases, we use other enforcement tools, ranging from warning letters that inform of noncompliance to administrative enforcement actions. When Ecology issues enforcement actions, we carefully match the significance of the violation to the type of actions we take. Our enforcement actions are based in fact and law, well documented, appropriate to the violation, and issued in a professional, fair, and effective manner.

More Information

USEPA Compliance and Enforcement (external link)