Preparing for an audit by your state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may seem like a daunting task. However, knowing your responsibilities and keeping up to date with requirements will help you avoid fines.
How to Prepare
In many cases, you will not be informed that an inspector is coming to inspect your facility. Because inspections can happen without warning, you must be in compliance with all regulations at all times.
The key to preparation is reading through the Handbook for Hazardous Waste Generators and developing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). A SOP should be an all encompassing plan that provides personnel with guidance on hazardous materials operations and ensures your facility is always in compliance.
Maintaining compliance without properly trained personnel is nearly impossible. Not only does training help keep you in compliance, it ensures that all workers, property and the environment are in good health and always safe.
Federal vs. State Audits
While federal audits are less common than state audits, that’s not to say they cannot happen. Whether you are a small quantity generator like a small town high school, or you are a large quantity generator who makes pharmaceuticals for all of North America, operations each day should reflect the possibility of an inspector walking in at any moment.
Generally, the EPA and DEP give a grace period to address and fix violations found in an audit. However, repeat offenders are offered less leeway and may be subject to upfront fines.
Where to Get Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the rules and regulations you must follow to remain in compliance you are not alone. Frequent changes in regulations and the addition of more rules are often hard to keep up with. Your local hazardous waste disposal company is often a great resource for advice and guidance.
At Maine Labpack, Inc. we offer comprehensive, confidential audits to help you stay in compliance. Whether your facility is large or small, our compliance experts are up on all state and federal regulations. For more information about our hazardous waste audits, visit our environmental health & safety audit page or contact us.