In order to insure compliance with the Virginia Gas and Oil Act and Regulation, field staff from Gas and Oil make routine inspections of well sites, gathering pipelines, facilities and other permitted sites and activities. Frequency of inspection is determined by a priority system which categorizes each permitted site or operation according to its level of activity or the stability of the associated disturbed area. Highest priority for inspection is given to sites that are under construction or being drilled or completed, while lowest priority is given to older permits with stabilized sites.
If inspections reveal a lack of regulatory compliance, actions that may be taken range from obtaining voluntary compliance through requests or warnings to revocation of permits. If voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, the problem involves off-site disturbance, or, at the discretion of the inspector, the infraction is sufficiently severe, a Notice of Violation may be issued to the permittee. The Notice of Violation may be accompanied by recommendations for Civil Charges.
If conditions causing the issuance of a Notice of Violation are not abated, or if a condition or practice on a permitted site creates an imminent danger to the health and safety of the public, a Closure Order may be issued which causes cessation of operations until the conditions are corrected. If compliance cannot be achieved by any of the means described above, permits can be suspended or revoked and bonds may be forfeited for the purpose of plugging wells or reclaiming sites.