What is a Notice of Violation?
A Notice of Violation is a formal record of the District's finding that a violation of a state law or District regulation affecting air quality has occurred. In most cases, a violation can be settled by taking corrective action and paying a penalty. A Notice of Violation may subject you to monetary penalties, civil suit, or in serious cases, criminal prosecution.
If you receive a Notice of Violation, what should you do?
First, take immediate corrective action to prevent the violation from recurring. Each additional day could be considered an additional violation. Advise the District in a letter within ten working days of the action taken to correct the violation. Your response does not preclude the possibility of further legal action. A penalty may be assessed at this point. If you are unable to correct the violation immediately and must continue to use the equipment or process which resulted in a Notice of Violation, you must petition the Hearing Board for a variance. If granted, a variance allows you to legally operate the equipment causing the violation while you are working to correct the problem. If you would like to know how to apply for a variance, contact the clerk of the hearing board at (530) 757-3650.
What happens next?
Notices of Violation are handled in one of three ways:
- By the District's Mutual Settlement Program,
- By civil prosecution, or
- By criminal prosecution.
Violations which the Mutual Settlement Program are unable to resolve may be handled by District Counsel or the County District Attorney. Some of these cases may be settled out of court. The referral of a violation to the County District Attorney for further action may result in civil or criminal prosecution. Unusually serious violations which could have been prevented or which show willful disregard for public health and air pollution control laws may be referred for criminal prosecution. Criminal penalties for such violations may be as high as $50,000 for each day of violation or one year in jail, or both.
When Rules Change
Rule changes and changes in state and federal law can affect your business. It is your responsibility to know the current rules and laws. To help you keep current, the District maintains a subscription list for those who wish to receive updated rules and regulations. You may also find it helpful to subscribe to trade journals and participate in trade associations to keep up-to-date with current regulations affecting your industry. When you receive a new or modified permit from the District, you are responsible for complying with all the permit conditions. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all the required permits and permit conditions which affect your facility.
If you have specific questions about your Notice of Violation or permits, contact the District at (530) 757-3650.