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Procedures for Self-Disclosing

Environmental Audits & Self-Disclosures

Before self-disclosing, you may wish to consult one or more of U.S. EPA's policies which deal with self-disclosures and incentives for compliance.  To view these policies see "Policies and Resources"


EPA often needs to request additional information from facilities self-disclosing violations. The information is used to help determine whether the conditions of the "Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and Prevention of Violations" (Audit Policy), 60 FR 66706 (December 22, 1995) have been met as set forth in Section II. D of the Audit Policy. We prepared a generic summary of information to help guide facilities through the criteria. You need to refer to the Audit Policy for a comprehensive understanding of the requirements.

Facilities are not required to include all of this information in the initial disclosure. The initial disclosure must be made in writing to EPA within 21 days of discovery, stating that a potential violation has occurred. Voluntary Self-disclosures of potential violations at facilities in U.S. EPA's Region 3 (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) should be made to:

Samantha Phillips Beers, Esq., Director
Office of Enforcement, Compliance and Environmental Justice
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3 - 3EC00
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia PA 19103

or contact
Betty Barnes
Phone: (215) 814-3447
Fax: (215) 814-2905

I.   INFORMATION ON THE VIOLATION: EPA will need the name and complete address of the facility where the violation(s) occurred; describe the violation(s) and the specific regulatory or statutory provision violated. Listed below is a description of some of the information EPA needs to evaluate the disclosure.


  1. Condition 1: Systematic Discovery: EPA needs to know whether the violation was discovered by means of a systematic, internal, environmental audit or through due diligence. "Due diligence" refers to the company’s systematic efforts, appropriate to the size and nature of its business, to prevent, detect and correct violations through appropriate compliance policies, standards and procedures.

    1. If the violation was discovered through "due diligence," as defined in EPA's Audit Policy, you might be asked to explain how the company's practices and procedures leading to the discovery of the violation constitute such due diligence and to identify the name, title, and employer of each individual who discovered the violation.

    2. If discovered through an audit, EPA might request the following information to substantiate the audit because EPA’s policy states that generally the agency does not request copies of audits:

      1. The date (s) on which the environmental audit or systematic procedure or practice were conducted that identified the violation.

      2. A copy of written environmental audit policies and procedures for this facility, including any policies and procedures that indicate the scope of the audit, the process for examining audit findings, the protocol for communicating audit results to management, auditor conflict of interest policy, auditor education and training requirements, and follow-up measures.

      3. The frequency of environmental audits at the facility, and the frequency of audits related to compliance with the law involved in the disclosure, including date(s) of the most recent environmental audits that were conducted.

      4. Written policy or directive to follow up on audit findings to correct identified problems and prevent their recurrence.

      5. Description of how the company ensures that the auditor's tasks or inquiries are carried out in an objective and unobstructed manner.

  2. Condition 2 - Voluntary Discovery: Was the violation identified through an activity which your company was legally required to perform and/or report, such as under a federal or state statute, regulation or permit, judicial or administrative order or consent agreement?

  3. Condition 3 - Prompt Disclosure:

    1. The date on which the violation was initially discovered. If the violation was discovered by an independent auditor (a person not employed by your company), provide the date and the manner in which your company was made aware of the violation. If your company believed additional analysis or information was needed after the initial discovery to determine whether a violation existed, state the reasons for the additional analysis.

    2. Whether disclosure of the violation was within ten (10) days of the date of the initial discovery, or such shorter period as may be provided by law. If not, provide the reasons.

  4. Condition 4 - Independent Discovery and Disclosure:
    1. Whether the company previously received notification of a citizen or third party suit for the violation disclosed or a closely related violation.

    2. Whether the company previously received notice of commencement of a federal, state or local agency inspection or investigation or received an information request from a federal state or local agency.

  5. Condition 5 - Correction and Remediation: Measures taken to correct or remediate the violation. If more than 60 days will be needed to correct the violation, a full explanation including opinions of any technical or engineering expert relied upon to arrive at that estimate. Estimated length of time it took or will take to complete these measures.

  6. Condition 6 - Prevent Recurrence: Measures taken or to be taken to ensure that the violation disclosed will not be repeated including improvements made to the company’s auditing or due diligence procedures to prevent recurrence of the violation.

  7. Condition 7 - No Repeat Violations: Information on compliance status at the facility or any parent organization.

    1. Whether the same, or a closely related, violation occurred at the facility within the past three years that was identified in a federal, state or local agency judicial or administrative enforcement action or settlement thereof.

    2. Whether there has been the same, or a closely related act or omission at the facility within the past three years for which the company previously received penalty mitigation from EPA or a state or local agency.

    3. Identity of your parent organization, if any. If you have identified a parent organization, indicate whether there has been the same or a closely related violation identified in a federal, state or local agency judicial or administrative enforcement action or settlement thereof in the past five years within your parent organization.

    4. Whether there has `been the same, or a closely related act or omission at the facility’s parent organization within the past five years for which your parent organization has previously received penalty mitigation from EPA or a state or local agency?

  8. Condition 8 - Other Violations Excluded:

    1. Whether the violation resulted in any serious actual harm to human health or the environment with an explanation of how this conclusion was reached.

    2. Whether the violation presented or may present, any form of endangerment to public health or the environment with an explanation of how the conclusion was reached.

Additional Information

Mid-Atlantic Office of Enforcement
Compliance and Environmental Justice

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