DEQ allows for settlement to include payments towards a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP). Violators may offset up to 80 percent of the total civil penalty by agreeing to pay at least the offset amount to a DEQ approved project. DEQ will review SEPs on a case-by-case basis.
To obtain an application for a supplemental environmental project, see the Supplemental Environmental Project Application form or call DEQ's Office of Compliance and Enforcement, Portland, at 503-229-5340, or call toll-free in Oregon at 1-800-452-4011, x5340.
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.
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.
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.
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.