What is the Environmental Protection Agency?

  • The EPA is a federal agency responsible for enacting and enforcing laws that protect the environment.
  •  The EPA began as the Council on Environmental Quality but was later reorganized as the EPA by the Nixon administration on December 2, 1970. 
  • The creation of an independent agency dedicated to protecting the environment, was largely in response to public concern during the 1950’s and 1960’s of the effects of human activity on the environment.
Logo of the EPA.

United States Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA has 14,172 active employees and is separated into 12 headquarter offices each in charge of different aspects of the environment

1.    Administration and Resources Management

2.    Air and Radiation Management

3.    Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

4.    Enforcement and Compliance Assurance

5.    Environmental Information

6.    General Counsel

7.    Inspector General

8.    International and Tribal Affairs

9.    Land and Emergency Management

10.  Research and Development

11.  Office of Water

The agency maintains 10 regional territories that spread across the United States

1.    Region 1 / Boston

2.    Region 2 / New York

3.    Region 3 / Philadelphia

4.    Region 4 / Atlanta

5.    Region 5 / Chicago

6.    Region 6 / Dallas

7.    Region 7 / Kansas City

8.    Region 8 / Denver

9.    Region 9 / San Francisco

10.    Region 10 / Seattle

What does the EPA do?

  • The EPA does a variety of important things. 
  • More than half of the EPAs full-time employees are scientists, engineers, and environmental protection specialists. 
  • The EPA is also made up of legal, financial and public relations experts.
  • Research projects are conducted within each of the agency’s offices. 
  • Research is overseen by an internal science advisory board and conducted mainly in laboratories owned by the EPA. 
  • Clean Air Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • Energy Policy Act
  • Oil Pollution Act
  • National Environmental Policy

Environmental Compliance Audit

Industries are expected to remain in compliance with environmental standards set by the EPA. Compliance monitoring is a critical component in ensuring that industries obey environmental laws.

The EPA has a regulatory investigation department that conducts audits of various sectors including construction.

Strategies employed to curb the impact on the environment include:

EPA Enforcement

Environmental laws written by Congress are directly enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency. Air, waste, chemical & clean up, water and criminal prosecution are all parts of the EPA enforcement strategy.

Industry-specific approaches to regulation are often carried out in the form of certifications and permits.

Industries that are particularly hazardous to the environment have stricter laws and regulation that they are required to follow.

How the EPA regulates the Construction Industry

Several areas of construction are regulated heavily by the EPA. Historically the primary focus of the EPA’s efforts has been directed towards large-scale public works projects.

The development of:

  • Highways
  • Bridges
  • Utility Lines
  • Buildings
  • Waterways
  • Farms

can all pose significant threats to the environment without strict standards in place. Regulations in the construction industry set by the EPA include:

Asbestos

Asbestos Abatement is the process of removing asbestos fibers using the following techniques:

  • Removal
  • Encapsulating 
  • Sealing 
  • Disposal
  • Testing
  • Inspection
  • Remediation
Two contractors on a roof removing asbestos from a roof

Asbestos Abatement is one of the areas regulated by the EPA

Asbestos removal contractors that hold the C-22 license play a critical role in the safety of the public. Learn more about the C-22 Asbestos Abatement Contractor License!

EPA 608 Technician

This certification is for technicians that are servicing, repairing or disposing of equipment that release ozone-depleting refrigerants into the atmosphere. 

HVAC and Refrigeration contractors are required to hold the 608 Technician Certification. 

Lead

A large underground pipe, that contains lead

Lead exposure can lead to adverse health effects

  • When working in structures built before 1978, Contractors may need to contain lead paint if it is present.
  •  Knowing the correct procedures required by the Environmental Protection Agency is critical for tradesman working in a residential or commercial setting.
  • Lead paint can travel miles through the air, rest on soil, and enter air ducts causing potentially fatal respiratory damage.

All tradesman must be a source of information for their clients and community if they want referrals and repeat business. Learn more about how to get an EPA Certification in 8 hours!

Mold 

Mold can create considerable problems for homeowners looking to protect the health of their families as well as the value of their property. At some point, every property owner will likely need mold remediation services.

Mold caused by water damage can create long-term problems for any structure. The adverse effects of mold growth can directly impact the health of a community.

The EPA has guidelines and free educational resources available. Learn more about the Mold Remediation Certification!

Waste

Construction site cleaning services usually are contracted out to third-party companies that specialize in clean up and environmentally friendly disposal of excess debris.

Leaving a job site clean once construction is finished is a critical phase in the building process.

This may include disposing of hazardous materials, asbestos, lead, and other environmentally harmful debris.

The construction clean up process. What is the environmental protection agency

C-61/D-63 Construction Clean Up Contractor License

Growing Your Construction Company through EPA Compliance

Whether you are reading this and thinking about getting a Contractor License, looking to add on certifications, or just trying to gain knowledge.

Understanding the Environmental Protection Agency will be vital in your journey. 

I would encourage you to read the other articles we have and become familiar with some of the government agencies you may encounter throughout your career.

If you have found this article helpful, be sure to share it or drop a comment below!  

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