The goal of the Mutual Settlement Program is to settle Notices of Violation (NOVs) in a manner that is acceptable to both the District and the source, without the time and expense of litigation. The goal of mutual settlement, as with all District enforcement actions, is to best protect human health and property from the harmful effects of air pollution.
The California Health and Safety Code allows penalties for air quality rule violations from $1,000 per day for minor violations up to $75,000 per day for willful conduct. Through mutual settlement, the District can issue penalties at lower levels if good faith efforts to address violations and prevent future violations are made.
Criteria for Penalty Settlement
Once a source is brought into compliance, the District can commence mutual settlement. The District will present settlement terms after consideration of the following aggravating and mitigating factors.
- Extent of harm caused by violation
- Length of time the violation occurred
- Past violations
- Nature and persistence of violation
- Economic benefit of non-compliance
- Degree and record of maintenance
- Factors associated with control equipment
- Action taken to mitigate violation
- Good faith effort to comply
- Financial burden to violator
The District will the settlement terms, usually involving payment of a penalty, proof of correction, and current compliance with the violated rule.
You should respond to the offer within the time indicated and schedule a settlement conference. A settlement conference may be held over the phone or at the District office. If you do not respond, or if the matter cannot be resolved, it may be referred to District Counsel or the appropriate County District Attorney.