What is an EPA Audit Checklist?
Compliance monitoring is one of the essential components of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make sure facilities and organizations comply with all applicable regulations.
An EPA audit checklist guides organizations across industries to self-audit their processes, resources, and materials whether they are compliant with or violated environmental laws.
A checklist ensures that you have not overlooked anything that may result in a penalty. Aside from the EPA RCRA checklist, the following questions will help assess your readiness when a surprise checkup happens:
- Is there a written protocol that guides employees on how to respond to an inspection?
- Do you know your organization’s point of contact?
- Do you have all copies of all the required permits, forms, and regulatory submissions?
- Do you have a dedicated place to store all the confidential and privileged documents?
Having all the documents ready gives you confidence no matter what time an EPA inspector comes in.
This article covers the following topics:
What Are The Most Common EPA Violations?
Typical violations that may result in investigations include, but are not limited to:
Improver removal and disposal of regulated asbestos
Although banned in several countries, it is legal in the United States. However, legislation issued regulation of its use because of the health risks it poses. The law also strictly imposes the proper removal and disposal of this substance. Not doing so will result in the violation of the EPA’s Clean Air Act.
Unlawful discharge of pollutants to water
The Clean Air Act requires plants or facilities to treat wastewater first before flushing it into the sewer system. Skipping this step is harmful to the environment and can revoke the facility’s permit.
Illegal dumping of hazardous waste
Hazardous waste can come from different sources, such as harmful chemicals, industrial wastes, and hospital waste. Disposing of hazardous waste inappropriately is not only toxic to the environment but to public health as well.
The EPA advises organizations to use a hazardous waste identification process to pinpoint specific dangerous substances. Improper handling and disposal of such toxic waste can lead to accidents, injuries, and illnesses.
Unlawful importation of some restricted chemicals
The EPA RCRA audit checklist helps organizations identify whether the chemicals they import or are using violate environmental laws. These hazardous chemical wastes include mercury-containing batteries, pesticides, paints, fluorescent bulbs, and industrial solvents.
Tampering with a drinking water supply
The penalty for such action is 20-year imprisonment if found guilty. EPA sets legal limits on more than 90 contaminants in drinking water. These contaminants are divided into three categories:
- Chemical pollutants – arsenic, lead, copper, radionuclides
- Microbial – coliform, disinfectant byproducts, etc
- Right-to-know – this is a consumer’s right to know the quality of their drinking water
Having an EPA audit checklist and regular compliance monitoring can help businesses evaluate their environmental status. It will also help them eliminate work hazards and costly penalties.
How to Prepare for an EPA Inspection?
According to the EPA statistics, companies have spent $63 million in combined civil, administrative, and criminal fines. Furthermore, they spent $9.7 billion in actions and equipment to curb pollution and tidy up contaminated areas.
Your organization can avoid paying hefty fines because of non-compliance by following these steps:
Prepare the following information and documents:
- Facility map and description
- Organization’s regulatory history
- Current compliance programs of your organization
- Compliance procedures/process records
- Employee training records
- Medical examination records
- Existing environmental licenses and permits
Prepare an EPA audit checklist to identify potential problems, and create a corrective action plan.
Have a regular schedule for the following tasks:
- Visual inspections of your plant/facility
- Interviews with selected facility personnel
If certain areas in your facility have been flagged for non-compliance during an inspection, acknowledge them. Also, describe the corrective actions you will take to comply.
Identify the following processes, issues, and materials:
- The main operation at the plant/facility, including all applicable codes like the Standard Industrial Classification(SIC) code.
- A potential source of pollution in the workplace
- Raw materials used in the plant
- Waste and pollution control devices and processes used.
- The installation date of each process
- Accident history
Familiarize yourself with all the machinery and equipment used in the facility. Be aware of any of them using fluids that have PBCs.
Be aware of your organization’s environmental management history. You should be able to identify all the types of wastes produced by the facility.
Review all records and files that are related to your environmental management program documents regularly. Find out if any of them are still valid or near expiration. Some of these documents might include:
- Permits and documentations
- Sampling records
- Maintenance and operating logs
- Emergency action plan
- Notification procedures
- Analytical inventories
EPA audit software: A mobile solution from Lumiform
With this audit checklist, comply with all regulations in the blink of an eye and quickly intervene to assess compliance with EPA regulations to allow inspectors to validate if the organization is following the accepted environmental impacts on-site activity.
Using Lumiform’s visual inspection software, all data is stored securely, exclusively to your company, and encrypted on our servers, and corrective actions are tracked, documented, and attached to reports automatically.
- Increase the efficiency of your internal processes: Resolve incidents up to 4x faster than before through more efficient communication within the team, with third parties and with management, and faster incident reporting.
- Turn any custom paper list into digital EPA audit checklists in minutes using the flexible form builder.
- Take photos of discovered security issues with the intuitive mobile app.
- Address issues and breaches immediately and assign corrective actions on the spot.
- Bundle all inspection resultsautomatically with our inspection reportthat saves on all the post-processing.