The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is the state agency that develops and enforces policies and regulations relating to air, soil, and water quality.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s (LDEQ) mission is to provide service to the people of Louisiana through comprehensive environmental protection to promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of citizens while considering sound policies regarding employment and economic development. This mission is fulfilled by regulating point and non-point pollution sources to protect air, soil and water quality; issuing permits and standards and enforcing their compliance; assessing air and water quality; and responding to environmental emergencies.
LDEQ partners with many federal, state and local agencies focused on natural resources, environmental protection, marine resources, engineering and geology. Specific partners include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, and local governments. Partnerships are facilitated by six regional offices that are located across the state. The LDEQ also partners with the private sector, including individual enterprises, associations, and NGOs.
Among many initiatives, the LDEQ is undertaking the Water Monitoring Program that collects surface water data at approximately 125 sites across the state each month. These data are used to establish water quality standards, assess conditions, and develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for priority impaired water bodies (EPA’s 303(d)) listed under the framework of the TMDL Program. Once the TMDLs are established, LDEQ is responsible for their compliance. In the case of point sources, this is done through Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (LPDES) permits; in the case of non-point sources, watershed implementation plans are developed, describing the types of voluntary actions that are necessary to achieve compliance and the delivery mechanism to implement them. To better manage point pollution sources, the Environmental Results Program (ERP) aims to enhance the traditional permitting processes by creating online air and water permit applications and self-certification modules to promote timely submission of permit applications and processing.
The Louisiana Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) provides a mechanism – administrative, technical, and legal incentives – by which property owners and others can clean up contaminated properties and receive a release of liability for further cleanup of historical contamination at a site.
The LDEQ is also engaged in many outreach and capacity building activities. For example, the Enviroschool Program provides training for communities, businesses, and other organizations on the environmental regulatory process and how to maintain and improve environmental compliance. The Community Cares Program provides an online clearinghouse that facilitates public awareness of environmental issues and empowers members of the public to envision environmental projects to address particular issues and fulfill project resource needs. Through the Small Business/Small Community Assistance Program (SB/SCAP), LDEQ provides environmental regulatory assistance and information to eligible small businesses and small communities. This includes assisting businesses better understand complex federal and state regulations and providing advice on how to comply with these regulations, as well as identifying and estimating emission sources and developing pollution and prevention plans.