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nopropulsion t1_jdihnff wrote

I think the state (or EPA if they oversee your programs) are supposed to do annual audits or review annual reports. I'm not personally familiar with how things work on the regulator's side of things, but I'm pretty sure people will be asking questions at that point if you've got serious noncompliance issues.

I will say that there are some times where fines are preferable for both parties. A parameter like BOD or TSS, which is not likely to harm a wastewater treatment plant, is where I see this. Typically that is built into the permit in which a municipality just straight up charges extra after a certain amount.