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Small Businesses

If you are small business as defined by the Small Business Administration (defined at 13 C.F.R. 121.201; in most cases, this means a business with 500 or fewer employees), below is information you may find helpful.

The EPA offers small businesses a wide variety of compliance assistance resources and tools designed to assist businesses to comply with federal and state environmental laws. These resources can help businesses understand their obligations, improve compliance and find cost-effective ways to comply through the use of pollution prevention and other innovative technologies.

EPA Websites

EPA offers a great deal of compliance assistance information and materials for small businesses on the following Websites, available through public libraries:

EPA's Home Page
 Region 3 Business Assistance Center
EPA's Small Business Home Page
Small Business Assistance Programs
Enforcement Policy and Guidance
Compliance Assistance Home Page
Mid-Atlantic Region Enforcement and Compliance
Environmental Audits & Self-Disclosures
Small Business Policy

Press Release 
Should a Small Business Turn Itself in to the EPA When Environmental Violations Are Discovered?

Small Business Policy Self-Disclosure Questionnaire
Energy Star
Small Communities Guidance

Regulatory Flexibility Act / Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (RFA/SBREFA) webpage providing a voice for small businesses, small communities, & small non-profit enterprises in EPA's rulemaking process."


EPA sponsors approximately 89 hotlines and clearinghouses that provide free and convenient avenues to obtain assistance with environmental requirements. Key hotlines that may be of interest to you include:

RCRA/UST/CERCLA Hotline (800) 424-9346
Toxics Substances and Asbestos Information (202) 554-1404
Safe Drinking Water (800) 426-4791
Stratospheric Ozone/CFC Information (800) 296-1996
Clean Air Technical Center (919) 541-0800
Wetlands Hotline (800) 832-7828

Compliance Assistance Centers

EPA, in partnership with industry, academic institutions, environmental groups and other federal and state agencies - has established national Compliance Assistance Centers for nine specific industry sectors heavily populated with small businesses and entities that face substantial federal regulation. The BACs provide on-line and fax back assistance services in the following sectors which also may apply to multi-facetted facilities.

Access to All CentersExit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Mid-Atlantic Region Business Assistance Center (BAC)
Agriculture (1-888-633-2155)
Automotive (1-888-GRN-LINK)Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Chemical Industry (1-800-672-6048)Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Metal Finishing (1-800-AT-NMFRC)Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Local Governments (1-877-TO-LGEAN)Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Paints and Coatings CenterExit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Printing (1-888-USPNEAC)Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Printed Wiring Board ManufacturingExit EPA Click for Disclaimer

State Agencies

Many state agencies have established compliance assistance programs that provide on- site as well as other types of assistance. Please contact your local state environmental agency for more information. EPA's Small Business Ombudsman can provide you with State Agency contacts by calling 800-368-5888 nationally or 800-228-8711 in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Compliance Incentive Policies

EPA's Compliance Incentives for Small Business Policy and Small Communities Policy are intended to promote environmental compliance among small businesses by providing incentives such as penalty waivers and reductions for participation in compliance assistance programs, and encouraging voluntary disclosure and prompt correction of violations. These policies can not be applied to an enforcement action that has already been initiated. Contact Ginger Gotliffe (202-564-2310) for information on the Small Business Policy and Ken Harmon (202-564-2310) for information on the Small Communities Policy.

EPA revised its two self-disclosure policies, the Audit Policy and the Small Business Compliance Policy. Both policies protect human health and the environment by encouraging companies and other regulated entities to voluntarily disclose and correct violations. After a two-year evaluation, EPA revised the policies based on extensive public outreach and the Agency's experience in handling self-disclosure cases. Businesses that meet policy conditions are eligible for penalty reductions and waivers and other benefits; however, both policies prohibit benefits to companies for certain violations, such as those that may result in serious harm or risk, those that reflect repeated noncompliance, or those in which corporate officials condone criminal behavior.  See the Small Business Policy Self-Disclosure Questionnaire for applicability.  In addition, the policies allow EPA to recover economic benefits from violating companies to ensure businesses that comply with environmental laws are not put at a competitive disadvantage by those not complying. The key revisions to the Audit Policy include: lengthening the amount of time from 10 to 21 days that entities have to disclose a violation after it is discovered; clarifying that a facility may qualify for Audit Policy credit even if another facility owned or operated by the same parent organization is already the subject of an inspection, investigation or information request; clarifying that companies will have at least 21 days to disclose violations discovered at newly-acquired facilities; and clarifying that the repeated noncompliance condition will not disqualify disclosures from newly-acquired facilities. The Small Business Policy, available for companies with 100 or fewer employees, reduces or waives penalties for small businesses that disclose and make good faith efforts to correct violations, provided they meet the criteria in the policy. The key revisions to the Small Business Compliance Policy lengthens the amount of time from 10 to 21 days that entities have to disclose a violation after discovery and expands the number of ways that the violations can be discovered.

Other Information

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES - Click on the Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office homepage: or call the hotline: 1-800-424-9346 or publications warehouse: 1-800-490-9198 for more information

Links to Programs and Information

Mid-Atlantic Office of Enforcement
Compliance and Environmental Justice

OECEJ Home | Mid-Atlantic Region Home

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