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Record of enforcement actions for violations of City sewer or stormwater requirements and regulations

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The City’s Environmental Compliance Division assesses fines or civil penalties for violations of local, state, and federal environmental laws and permits. Learn more about the enforcement process. Find current and past records of enforcement actions.

The City's Role

Federal and state laws such as the Clean Water Act require cities to set rules and enforce regulations to protect the city's sewer and stormwater systems and its watersheds. Environmental Services works with Portland residents, industries, and businesses to meet those regulations and to protect public health, infrastructure, city workers, and the environment from harmful pollutants.

What are enforcement actions?

Enforcement actions are a written notice to a Responsible Party of a violation that may include corrective actions and require payment of civil penalties. The City's Bureau of Environmental Services Environmental Compliance Division assesses civil penalties for violations of Portland City Code, BES administrative rules, and BES-issued environmental permits. 

Enforcement goals are to:

  • Prevent future violations that may be harmful to the environment or public health.
  • Protect publicly owned infrastructure.
  • Encourage compliance with local, state, and federal environmental laws by removing an economic benefit for non-compliance.
  • Recover any costs associated with the repair, cleaning, or replacement of public infrastructure, such as parts of the sewer system or stormwater facilities. 
  • Provide notification to the public when a practice by a business or industry threatens public health, the environment, or publicly owned infrastructure.

Penalty amounts for violations are based on:

  • Level of threat or impact to public infrastructure, the environment, or public health;
  • Severity and duration of the violation;
  • Responsible Party’s actions to correct the violation upon discovery or notification from BES; and
  • Compliance history of the Responsible Party. 

How to respond to an enforcement action

If you have received an enforcement action from Environmental Services, then you should:

  1. Review the notice and all enclosures. 
    1. Find the BES Program Administrative Rules listed in the notice.
    2. Find the Portland City Code sections listed in the notice
  2. Contact the Case Manager or Permit Manager listed in the cover letter for questions on required actions and listed violations.
  3. Complete the required actions and meet the deadlines listed in the notice.

If the enforcement action has an associated civil penalty, a separate notice will be sent within 20 business days with a final determination of civil penalties. The final determination letter will be followed by an invoice with payment instructions.

Your right to request an administrative review

A Responsible Party may request a review and/or reconsideration of a BES-issued enforcement action, notice or decision. The purpose of this review is to determine if City Code and BES Administrative Rules were applied accurately and consistently when issuing the enforcement action, discharge permit, written order, required actions, or penalty amount. The BES Enforcement Program Administrative Rules ENB-4.15 describe how BES assesses violations of Portland City Code, administrative rules, and permits related to our environmental programs. Learn more about the administrative appeals process and download an administrative review request form. 

How to prevent violations

Help prevent pollution by following these best management practices. Each page provides links to relevant City Code and guidance on ways to prevent pollution.

Current and past enforcement actions

Environmental Services posts quarterly reports of enforcement actions that are beyond minor violations and which resulted in warning notices. Find previous enforcement actions.

Request a public record

Want more information about an enforcement action from the report? Submit a public record request. Be sure to include the enforcement action reference number from the report in your request.

Report a spill 

 If you see a spill or suspect pollution, learn how to report an environmental concern.