Rhode Island Environment - General regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Rhode Island Environment - General: What you need to know

Overview of Rhode Island's Environmental Rules


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In Rhode Island, the counterpart to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM). DEM is responsible for protecting Rhode Island's land, water, and air from pollution. Rhode Island has been delegated authority by EPA to administer and enforce its own state air, water, and waste management rules. Various state regulatory requirements for water quality protection and waste management are more stringent than corresponding federal requirements.


Rhode Island's air program is shaped by its state implementation plan (SIP), which sets forth basic strategies for implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Rhode Island's SIP was officially submitted to EPA in January 1972 and is frequently amended to comply with the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) amendments. The SIP focuses on permitting, emissions standards, hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and various other air-related requirements.

DEM's Office of Air Resources is responsible for administering and enforcing Rhode Island's air pollution rules.


Rhode Island has developed a water pollution permitting scheme that follows the federal regulations. However, Rhode Island is more stringent, as it protects both surface and groundwater. The state is authorized by EPA to administer the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program for wastewater discharges, including general permitting authority for stormwater discharges (known in Rhode Island as the Rhode Island Pollution Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES)). In addition to RIPDES permits, ...

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