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Enforcement Definitions

Explains the various documents the TCEQ may issue as part of the enforcement process. Includes notices of violation, notices of enforcement, agreed orders.

Enforcement

Enforcement is the process in which the TCEQ responds to serious or continuing environmental violations by requiring corrective actions to be taken and/or by assessing monetary penalties against businesses or individuals in Texas for those violations.

Notice of Violation (NOV)

An NOV is written notification that documents and communicates violations observed during an inspection to the business or individual inspected. Most NOVs are prepared and sent out by our regional offices, although other areas of the TCEQ do so as well.

If you receive an NOV, that means we have observed one or more violations, and you will have a prescribed time period to return to compliance and provide documentation that all violations have been corrected. We may elect to visit the site and verify that the violations have been corrected, or it may be enough for you to submit documentation to us.

If you have received an NOV and correct the violations within the time given, you will not be referred for enforcement. If you do not correct the violations in time, you may then be referred for enforcement action.

Notice of Enforcement (NOE)

An NOE is a written notification that the TCEQ is initiating formal enforcement action for violations observed during an inspection. This notice informs the business or individual, known as the respondent, what violations are being pursued and provides contact information for questions regarding the enforcement action. Most NOEs are prepared and sent out by our regional offices, although other areas of the TCEQ do so as well.

Administrative Orders

The TCEQ has authority to issue administrative orders, as opposed to civil or criminal orders issued in court. Administrative orders are TCEQ orders enforcing or directing compliance with any provisions - - whether of statutes, rules, regulations, permits, licenses, or orders - - that we are entitled by law to enforce or with which we are entitled by law to compel compliance.

Agreed Orders: This type of administrative order is used when the respondent agrees to the terms and conditions of the administrative order, including the penalty. There are two kinds of agreed orders:

  • 1660 Orders may include a reservation that:
    1) the order is not an admission of a violation of a statute within our jurisdiction or of a rule adopted or an order or a permit issued under such a statute;
    2) the occurrence of a violation is in dispute.
    These orders are named for Senate Bill 1660 (74th Legislature), now codified as Texas Water Code, Section 7.070 Exit Site.
  • Findings orders are used if the Findings Criteria are met. Findings orders do not contain denial language and do contain findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Default Orders: This type of administrative order is issued when the respondent fails to answer the Executive Director's Preliminary Report and Petition within the time frame allowed by the Administrative Procedures Act.

Executive Director's Preliminary Report and Petition (EDPRP)

The EDPRP notifies the respondent of the violations and the penalty assessed, and of any corrective actions needed to bring the respondent back into compliance with the regulations. This document is not an order, but a petition filed with our Chief Clerk's Office to start the administrative hearing process.

The Enforcement Process: From Violations to Actions
Explains the various phases of action that can occur when environmental violations are found. Includes discussion of notices of violation, notices of enforcement, agreed orders.

Track Complaints and Enforcement
Track the status of complaints and pending enforcements actions.


Make an Environmental Complaint
We are available 24 hours every day to receive complaints under our jurisdiction.

How the TCEQ Handles Environmental Complaints
Explains our process for handling environmental complaints.