Notice of Violation
Air Pollution Control Districts (APCD) are mandated by the California Health and Safety Code to protect public health by making and enforcing rules regarding air emissions. Violation of these air quality rules will likely result in monetary penalties and may end in civil, or even criminal prosecution.
A Notice of Violation (NOV) is the APCD's "official notice" that a facility has violated a District rule or permit, or a state air pollution law.
The District's decision depends on the gravity of violation. In most cases, violations can be resolved by an office or telephone conference through the District's Mutual Settlement Program. This program offers an opportunity to settle the case out of court by reaching an agreement with the District. More serious cases are prosecuted in civil or criminal court.
Most NOVs are processed through this program, which gives violators a chance to settle their case through the District rather than in court.
If an NOV is referred to this program, the District will send a letter offering to settle the violation after an office or telephone conference. The District sets settlement terms, which usually require a penalty and written proof of current compliance. The maximum civil penalty established by the California Health and Safety Code is $500,000 for an individual and $1,000,000 for a corporation for each day of violation.
The District considers all relevant information in determining a settlement amount, which may be reduced if special circumstances are involved.
Factors affecting settlement include:
The Districtís Compliance Division considers civil or criminal prosecution when the Mutual Settlement Program does not yield an agreement or if a response is not received within the time limit specified by the District.
The District may seek criminal prosecution if the violation:
A source may petition the Hearing Board for a variance if it needs to continue using non-complying equipment after receiving an NOV. If granted, a variance allows a source to legally operate the equipment causing the violation while efforts are made to correct the problem.
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