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Enforcement Definitions

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


Enforcement is the process in which TCEQ responds to environmental violations by requiring corrective actions to be taken and/or by assessing monetary penalties against businesses or individuals 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 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 all violations listed in the NOV, within the time given, you will not be referred for enforcement for those violations. If you do not correct the violations in time, you may then be referred for enforcement action.

If you are interested in viewing data related to NOVs issued by TCEQ, visit the NOV webpage.

Notice of Enforcement (NOE)

An NOE is a written notification that 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. NOEs are prepared and sent out by our regional offices and also Central Office Program Areas.

Administrative Orders

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 authorized by law to enforce or with which we are authorized 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 are names for Senate Bill (SB) 1660, 74th Legislature, (codified in TEX. WATER CODE §7.070
    1) A statement that the occurrence of any violation is in dispute and that the entry of the agreed order shall not constitute an admission by the Respondent of any violation alleged in the agreed order.
    2) A statement that the agreed administrative order, issued by the Commission, shall not be admissible against the Respondent in a civil proceeding, unless the proceeding is brought by the Office of the Attorney General to: (1) enforce the terms of the order; or (2) pursue violations of the Water Code or Health and Safety Code.
  • Findings orders are used if the Findings Criteria is met.

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.

To view a list of Administrative Orders issued by TCEQ, visit the Texas Open Data Portal.

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.