Storage Tank Program
Environmental Results Program
Click here for printable versions of the Self-Certification Workbook and Checklist
for the electronic Return to Compliance (RTC) Form
In 2005, we randomly selected 100 facilities for inspection to determine our Baseline Compliance Rate. The compliance rate was 68% (95% degree of confidence). After the first round of self-inspection and certification in 2007, we randomly selected another 100 facilities to determine the compliance rate. We were very happy to see the compliance rate rose to 84%!
In 2009, we conducted another round of compliance inspection and found the compliance rate to be 81%. For a more detailed look at the compliance data, click here.
About the Environmental
Results Program (ERP)
Protecting the Environment and Helping Small Businesses
ERP is a unique environmental performance initiative first developed by
the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The VT Department
of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is targeting Underground Storage Tank
(UST) facilities for our first ERP. ERP features a multimedia, sector-based
regulatory approach that features annual certifications of compliance
by facility owners/operators. ERP applies three innovative tools to enhance
and measure environmental performance:
- Annual self-certification of compliance by companies
to increase self evaluation and accountability;
- Compliance assistance from the agency through outreach
Performance measurement methodology
to track results, determine priorities and strategically target inspections
and compliance assistance efforts.
• Self-certification. ERP requires
that a senior company official annually certifies that the facility
is and will continue to be in compliance with all applicable state
UST, Air, Underground Injection Control (floor drains) and hazardous
waste management performance standards. DEC provides compliance assistance
(see below) for facility managers so they can better understand the
information that is the basis for their certification. Facilities
that are not in compliance must file a "Return to Compliance"
plan, which describes the corrective actions that the facility will
take and a schedule to achieve full compliance.
• Compliance Assistance. DEC assists
the self-certification process by providing compliance assistance
for all ERP facilities. Compliance assistance includes sector-specific
workbooks and workshops that clearly explain facilities' environmental
obligations as well as sound environmental practices that go "beyond
• Performance Measurement.
DEC is utilizing an evaluation methodology that uses random sampling
and statistical analysis to measure the performance of ERP facilities.
This methodology validates the performance of the program itself,
and is used to target facilities for inspections and compliance assistance.
The evaluation tracks environmental business practice indicators (EPBIs),
which are industry-specific performance measures that provide snapshots
of facilities' environmental performance before and after certification
and on a long-term basis.
DEC hopes to be able to expand the program into other sectors, as
an innovative approach to regulating facilities.
Why is the Environmental Results Program Unique?
The ERP approach is unique in
• The compliance certification process
involves industry proactively in ensuring its environmental compliance.
Yearly facility reviews and annual certifications of compliance lead
to more comprehensive environmental performance than short-term compliance
resulting from infrequent inspections.
• Making information about industry's environmental performance
and the effectiveness of ERP readily available to the public makes
both industry and government more publicly accountable for their performance.
Periodic reports provide the public with meaningful information about
industrial environmental performance.
• DEC oversees the program by reviewing certifications and conducting
random and targeted compliance inspections, to make sure that the
program is working. DEC can focus its limited resources on companies
and facilities that are not performing adequately by targeting inspections
and assistance efforts to facilities with specific compliance problems
(including failure to file their certifications), and to demonstrated
sector-wide problem areas.
What is an EBPI?
An Environmental Business Practice Indicator (EBPI) is one of the tools
developed by the Environmental Results Program. EBPIs are industry-specific
performance measures that provide a snapshot of a facility's environmental
The EBPIs include both traditional program
compliance measures (e.g. level of compliance with labeling, record
keeping) as well as measures that go beyond program compliance.
DEC conducts statistical analysis of the EBPIs
along with random inspections and review of self-certifications to evaluate
the performance of individual facilities, sectors and ERP as a whole.
We use its evaluation to:
1. Determine industry-wide compliance
rates and actual environmental performance;
2. Make more informed and strategic resource allocation decisions for
inspections and compliance assistance efforts; and
3. Evaluate ERP's programmatic effectiveness.
What Problems Is ERP Designed To Solve?
DEC undertook ERP to address several concerns, in its view, about the
effectiveness of the existing regulatory system for small business and
the agency's limited resources. DEC believes that the traditional regulatory
• Does not efficiently cover all facilities
regulated by the state; we were only inspecting approximately 100
UST facilities per year, meaning it might be 10 years between inspections
at some facilities.
• Does not sufficiently encourage multimedia compliance;
• Needs to encourage more pollution prevention;
• Could benefit from more compliance assistance to inform small
businesses of their environmental requirements.
• Does not achieve a desired level of environmental performance.
• Does not promote lasting change and improvement in environmental
performance at facilities because of: the sporadic nature of inspections;
facilities' staff's limited understanding of regulatory requirements
and beyond-compliance possibilities; and the frequent turnover of
facilities within the regulated sectors.
of ERP Approach and Tools
ERP can achieve measurable reductions in environmental impact of covered
facilities. ERP prompts industry to increase its focus on complying
with environmental laws, and on overall environmental performance. For
example, in the dry cleaning sector in MA, 77 percent of the indicators
showed either high performance or a statistically significant increase
in performance in a comparison between the baseline and first year ERP
results. High performance includes such practices as not discharging
to septic systems and installing appropriate pollution control equipment.
Industry: ERP can assist facilities
in understanding their environmental regulatory requirements and in
monitoring their environmental performance. It also engenders high-level
management commitment to environmental performance by requiring company
owners to certify their compliance, and allows facilities to project
a positive environmental image to the public.
Public: ERP holds industry
accountable for its environmental performance and increases public awareness
of industry's environmental impacts. Stakeholders participate in the
development of the ERP compliance workbooks and program design. The
public also benefits from ERP through improved environmental results
for limited government resources. In addition, ERP documents environmental
achievement in a manner that can be more easily understood by the public.
Agency: DEC hopes to benefit
from ERP through its improved ability to track environmental performance
trends and specific environmental practices of whole industry groups
and individual facilities. ERP increases government's cost effectiveness
by allowing DEC to dedicate its limited resources to the areas of greatest
concern. ERP results in a multimedia, incentive-based regulatory system
that is designed to produce lasting improvements in industry's environmental