The EPA is intensifying the review of previous certifications performed by professional environmental engineers in accordance with the new mechanism stipulated in the Standard Review Procedures for Professional Environmental Engineer Certifications, which was revised in 2019.
The EPA pointed out that according to the analysis of 2020 review results, common deficiencies in certifications performed by professional environmental engineers include: not listing pollutants such as heavy metals and agrochemicals; using incorrect bases or estimation methods in pollutant discharge calculations; incomplete documents; incorrect basic information; and unmarked pollution sources. In addition to reporting professional engineers who are negligent in upholding standards to the Public Construction Commission of the Executive Yuan (hereinafter referred to as the Construction Commission) for related penalties, additional education workshops will be held to assist professional engineers carry out certification operations correctly.
In accordance with current regulations, if certified by professional engineers, applications by enterprises for air and water pollution permits can be exempt from review by the relevant competent authorities. Thus in recent years, the number of permit documents certified by professional environmental engineers has been increasing. As of 2020, a total of 3,058 documents had been certified by professional engineers.
To safeguard the quality of certifications, in addition to conducting reviews of engineer certifications and reporting negligent engineers to the Construction Commission to be penalized, the EPA also completed the revision of the Standard Review Procedures for Professional Environmental Engineer Certifications on 7 Jan 2019 to intensify review operations.
The EPA pointed out that after intensifying reviews in accordance with the new regulations, among the 80 certifications reviewed in 2019, two were determined to require disciplinary action by the Professional Engineer Discipline Committee of the Construction Commission. As for the 60 certifications reviewed in the second half of 2020, three have been transferred and are currently under evaluation. Compared with the situation in 2018, where one out of the 42 certifications reviewed was determined to require disciplinary action, the revised review mechanism and stricter implementation of engineer certification reviews appeared to be more effective in finding deficiencies in certifications.
After the strengthening of standards to determine deficiencies in certification and the intensification of reviews for previous certifications by negligent engineers, if a professional engineer under review is determined to be responsible for a Class 2 or Class 3 deficiency, the engineer will be listed as a target for intensified review in the following year, since the certifications performed by the engineer might also be deficient. Especially for engineers listed as being of the most serious class of deficiency, Class 3, the EPA will not only report them to the Construction Commission for evaluation and discipline, but will also notify local environmental agencies to require enterprises to make improvements as suggested by the review results. The applications for other water pollution or stationary pollution source permit documents certified by these engineers will also be reviewed in accordance with relevant regulations in the Water Pollution Control Act or the Air Pollution Control Act.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, August 2021
- Ministry of Environment