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FAQs for Third-Party SEP Administrators

General questions about Supplemental Environmental Projects asked by third-party administrators.

Requirements for Receiving SEP Funds

Use of SEP Funds

SEP Reporting Requirements

Q: What are the requirements for receiving SEP Funds?

A: Only qualified tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profits or government organizations are eligible to receive and administer SEP funds. Each organization is reviewed to determine whether it is willing and able to meet the requirements of the SEP program.

Q: How can my organization become a third-party SEP administrator?

A: Potential Third-Party SEP Administrators are required to complete a Third-Party application and provide the following:

  1. Basic information about your organization;
  2. Previous history in administering SEPs or grant funds;
  3. Project budget; and
  4. Other detailed information about the proposed project.

Once your project is approved, your organization will enter into an “Agreement Concerning SEP Funds” with the TCEQ. The agreement will outline the terms of the SEP, as well as where and how your project will be performed.

Q: Will my project be fully funded? How long will it take?
Contributions are dependent upon the number of respondents in enforcement actions who select your project. Penalties range in amounts, so it may take some time for your project to become fully funded.

Q: Can my organization use SEP Funds for administrative costs?

A: Yes. Administrative costs must be related to your project and can be up to 10 percent of the direct cost of your project. We ask that the administrative expenses be kept separate from the project expenses.

Q: Can my organization provide gratuities for volunteers, such as T-shirts, hats, food, refreshments, etc., with SEP Funds?

A: : No. Administrative costs include overhead, personnel salary, fringe benefits, travel and per diem expenses directly associated with implementation of the project.

Q: I am unsure about whether a cost would qualify under SEP program, what do I do?

A: Please refer to the budget section of the SEP agreement. If necessary, costs can be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine if the cost is an allowable SEP expense. You may contact the SEP program staff at 512/239.2223.

Q: Can SEP Funds help pay for operating costs for programs that have received budget shortfalls this year?

A: No.

Q: Does my organization have to keep SEP contributions in a separate SEP bank account?

A: Yes. SEP Funds cannot be commingled with other funds. A separate bank account is required for each SEP.

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Q: How often should my organization report and where do we send the reports?

A: Quarterly Reports must be submitted by Third-Party Administrators to TCEQ on the following schedule:

  1. Performance between January and March; report is due in May;
  2. Performance between April and June; report is due in August;
  3. Performance between July and September; report is due in November
  4. Performance between October and December; report is due in February of the following year.

Quarterly Reports may be sent via email to sepreports@tceq.texas.gov. The mailing address is:

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Litigation Division, MC 175
Supplemental Environmental Projects Program
PO Box 13087
Austin, TX 78711-3087

Q: My organization was approved as a SEP third-party administrator, but has not received any money yet. Do we still need to send in a quarterly report?

A: Yes. If SEP Funds have yet to be received, you may submit an email in lieu of the Quarterly Report stating, “No SEP Funds have been received.” This will ensure that your organization is counted as an active SEP participant and that it is eligible to receive funds that may be designated by a respondent towards your project.

Q: How do I know what the starting budget is for my project?

A: The starting budget is established during the initial approval of the SEP project. When your organization enters into a SEP agreement with TCEQ, the budget is included in the agreement.

If you have any questions about becoming a Third-Party Administrators, please contact the SEP program at 512/239-2223 or by email at sepreports@tceq.texas.gov.

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