Southwest Clean Air Agency Important Notice During COVID-19


Hold Off On Outdoor Burning

Because any form of air pollution can exacerbate the respiratory problems associated with COVID-19, the Southwest Clean Air Agency hopes residents and businesses will work together to protect public health by reducing the amount of smoke and air pollution they produce.

The COVID-19 glo​bal pandemic has greatly impacted everyone’s lives, with most U.S. Citizens staying home to reduce community spread of the illness. However, that means smoke from residential and land clearing burning near neighborhoods will impact even more people. So, for the good of everyone, SWCAA asks that folks refrain from firing up their yard waste and land-clearing slash piles until the need for ‘social distancing’ relaxes.

Residents may make use of alternatives to burning, including curbside pickup services offered by their trash pick-up providers. Compost piles can turn yard waste into valuable soil additives for yard and garden. And chipping can create good ground-cover materials.

SWCAA Office Status

Due to public health concerns, our office is temporarily closed to walk-in customers. The agency is otherwise operating as normal with a number of staff working remotely. Please call 360-574-3058 for assistance.

EPA Temporary Policy Regarding Enforcement Discretion

EPA has announced a temporary policy regarding EPA enforcement of environmental legal obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. EPA’s temporary enforcement discretion policy applies to civil violations during the COVID-19 outbreak. The policy addresses different categories of noncompliance differently. The policy describes the steps that regulated facilities should take to qualify for enforcement discretion.

The temporary policy makes it clear that EPA expects regulated facilities to comply with regulatory requirements, where reasonably practicable, and to return to compliance as quickly as possible. To be eligible for enforcement discretion, the policy also requires facilities to document decisions made to prevent or mitigate noncompliance and demonstrate how the noncompliance was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This policy does not provide leniency for intentional criminal violations of law. EPA’s policy will apply retroactively beginning on March 13, 2020. To read the policy click here: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/covid-19-implications-epas-enforcement-and-compliance-assurance-program.

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