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Supplemental Environmental Projects

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality enforces environmental laws to protect Oregon's air, land and water. The DEQ Office of Compliance and Enforcement issues fines and requires violators to correct violations. DEQ's Supplemental Environmental Project policy allows up to 80% of fines to go to projects that benefit human health and the environment. DEQ reviews proposed projects on a case-by-case basis.

Information sessions

DEQ held two meetings in January to share information on the updated policy on these projects. 

Following two listening sessions, DEQ has updated its policy on supplemental environmental projects to provide more opportunities for communities to participate in project selection.

Now that the policy is updated, DEQ enforcement staff will hold regular meetings where groups interested in getting project funding can come, ask questions and provide feedback. Make sure you sign up to our mailing list mentioned below if you'd like to hear about these. 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out at Join our Enforcement Actions email list on GovDelivery to stay informed.

This work is the result of a partnership between DEQ enforcement and a number of community-based organizations that have asked DEQ to provide more information about SEPs and to evaluate how the policy could be improved.

Qualifying for a Supplemental Environmental Project

In order to qualify, the project:

  • The project must primarily benefit the environment or public health in Oregon.
  • As much money must be spent on the project as is sought in the penalty reduction.
  • The project cannot be an activity or result that is already required by law or set to become a future requirement.
  • The portion of the project attributable to penalty reduction is not funded by government contracts, loans or grants.
  • The project does not create a significant market or economic advantage for the violator.
  • The project does not result in DEQ controlling the funds or implementing the project.
  • If the violator is doing the project itself, the project must be commensurate with the violator’s expertise and capabilities.
  • The violator must provide a final report on the project. 

For more information, see the DEQ fact sheet: SEP Frequently Asked Questions.

Types of Supplemental Environmental Projects

Projects can include activities that improve air quality, reduce hazardous waste, encourage more efficient use of resources, improve water quality, reduce or clean up solid waste, or aid in environmental emergency preparedness.

For a complete list of types of projects available and contacts for assistance, see the DEQ fact sheet: Project Ideas and Contacts.

Recent examples of supplemental projects

The following are just a few recent examples of Supplemental Environmental Projects, funded by civil penalties that provided real tangible environmental benefits to Oregon communities.

The project supports the planting of trees in the Sumner, Cully, Parkrose, Argay, and Wilks neighborhoods as well as within the Columbia Slough watershed. The specific plangent sites were developed through consultation with community. Urban tree planting provides significant human health and environmental benefits, including carbon sequestration, enhanced air quality (trees can hold small particles on their surfaces and reduce ground level ozone, shade and reduced urban heat island effect, habitat creation, and stormwater management. ​​

​This program helps residents replace old woodstoves with either non wood heating devices or new certified low-emitting woodstoves in Klamath Falls and Chiloquin. Exchanging old woodstoves for alternative energy-efficient unites, EPA-certified woodstoves, or certified fireplace inserts reduces particulate matter emissions in local airsheds. Particulate matter emissions are a serious public health and environmental concern because, once inhaled, these pollutants can affect the heart and lungs, causing serious health problems. This SEP contribution funded the replacement of 15 old woodstoves and the purchase of six air quality monitors for Klamath County to provide timely and accurate air quality assessments to residents to reduce exposure to elevated pollutant levels. ​​

​​This program helps increase groundwater elevations and improve local groundwater quality in the shallow alluvial aquifer and the spring-fed streams that are tributaries to the Walla Walla River. The SEP contribution helped fund two managed aquifer recharge sites (the Gallagher site and the Ringer Road site) in the Walla Walla Valley, near the communities of Milton-Freewater and Umapine.

​SOLVE was founded in 1969 by Oregon Governor Tom McCall. Its mission is to “bring Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship." This SEP contribution helped fund cleanup events in public areas along the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Participants removed hazardous substances, household wastes, marine waste and litter, preventing pollutants from going into waterways. Litter and marine debris are a serious environmental concern that may result in the malnutrition, entanglement and strangulation of wildlife. ​


Kieran O’Donnell
Office of Compliance and Enforcement