Steps to preparing for an EPA inspection

Written By Steps To Faculty Published July 15th, 2010

Per federal and state regulation, nearly all businesses, especially those involved in manufacturing or chemicals, must comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Generally, the inspection process involves an initial meeting to set up the time and date and to give you time to get your records in order. Then an EPA inspector visits your company and does a walk through of the facilities. Finally, you will receive a report informing of the outcome of the inspection and the next steps you need to take to become compliant (if you fail) or a thumbs up (if you pass). There are steps that you can take ahead of time to prepare for such an inspection. It is much easier to pass one than to fail an inspection given the consequences on your business. Let’s take a look.

Step 1 Contact your local EPA office

Prior to an inspection you should communicate, even anonymously, with your local EPA about the current environmental rules and regulations. Fnd out what inspectors focus on during their inspections. This information is provided at no charge and can save you money and time in the future.

Step 2 Review your environmental records

Be sure that your environmental records for each unit, i.e., chemical, hazardous waste, is curernt and easily accessible. Most likely, during an inspection, the inspector will want to know where your records are and what information is contained on them. Also make sure the records are in order and filed chronilogically so that past inspection information is easily found.

Step 3 Check for possible violations

There are certain common violations inspectors look for. The first is air quality violations, which include not having proper permits and not maintaining pollution control equipment leading to the release of unauthorized contamination in the air. The second type of violation is hazardous waste, which includes items such as the proper removal of such materials and the appropriate training and safety equipement for workers thqt must handle hazardous waste. The third type of violation is water, which includes the release of wastewater into drains without proper permits and lake and river pollution.

Step 4 See the inspector’s identification

Upon the on-site inspection, it is imperative that you request to see the insector’s badge and identification when he or she arrives to perform the inspection. Thre are numerous EPA offices at varying governement levels. You need to have the name and id number of the inspector for your recrods so that it is documented for the next inspection. Also follows the inspector during the investigation and answer any questions asked. The inspector may not understand your unique business setting (for example, why a ladder is located where it is) and you need to be able to explain in detail how your business operates.

Step 5 Request the standard letter of the report

Although it is common procedure for you to receive the letter of violation or no violation report, request this information and also find out when the results will be available. Since this information is public, you need to know what is contained in the report so that you can rectify any violations found (should you receive a notice of violation) before your customers learn of them.

Remember, EPA inspections can occur at any time so be sure to have a point person who understands the process in the event that you cannot be available for the inspection. Please visit for more great business advice.

Roger Due

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