8 Essentials for Every Hazardous Waste Inspection

Posted on 2/21/2017 by Roger Marks

This post is designed to help EHS managers responsible for hazardous waste compliance stay prepared for Federal or State inspections. Later this week, we’ll cover the crucial paperwork requirements that hazmat shippers should always have on hand.

What’s in your RCRA compliance binder? If you’ve worked in EHS compliance since the pre-Internet days, you probably remember when important documents were kept in folders, binders, and cabinets.  

hazardous waste paperwork requirementsWhile a compliance “binder” may seem like an out-of-date term, it is still a useful concept. When an inspector visits your site, there are certain key paperwork items he or she will want to see. When you keep all these crucial EHS documents together, it can reduce your stress during the inspection and make for an easier, faster process.

Even if you’re not keeping these items in a single binder, do you know where all of these items—whether in hard copy or digital—can be found at your site? The list below is not meant to be exhaustive, but to provide a starting point for thinking about effective hazardous waste paperwork compliance.

Note: The RCRA regulatory references to sections of 40 CFR 260, 262, and 265 below are undergoing major change due to EPA’s Generator Improvements Rule, which takes effect in May 2017. Watch Lion News for help navigating the reorganized regulations when these changes are in place. 

1. Hazardous waste contingency plan

If you store hazardous waste as a large quantity generator (LQG) or a treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF), you must keep a hazardous waste contingency plan at your facility under 40 CFR 265, Subpart D.  

It is also crucial that your contingency plan is kept up to date. Check your plan periodically to ensure all phone numbers are still valid, emergency plans are up to date, and personnel know their responsibilities under the contingency plan.

2. Personnel hazardous waste training records

Per the RCRA training rules for large quantity generators at 40 CFR 265.16(d) and (e), hazardous waste personnel must complete annual training. Records of training must be kept for at least three years after any employee leaves work at the facility. For current personnel, training records must be kept until your facility closes. 

3. Waste determination records

Identifying hazardous waste and determining what hazards the waste poses is (obviously) a crucial step of RCRA management. Per 40 CFR 262.40(c), generators must keep waste records for three years after the waste is last sent for treatment, storage, or disposal.  

What about when we determine that a material is NOT a solid waste? While there is no direct regulatory requirement to keep records of this determination, EHS managers must be prepared to challenge an inspector who disagrees with the non-solid waste assessment. To this end, documenting how you determined a secondary material to NOT be a solid waste is required under 40 CFR 261.2(f), and keeping this document as a record is a best management practice.

Need help with RCRA waste ID records? Check out Best Management Practices for Documenting Waste ID.  

4. Generator’s biennial report

Per 40 CFR 262.40(b), hazardous waste generators must keep a copy of their biennial report for three years after the due date (March 1 or even number years).

5. Hazardous Waste Manifests

Hazardous Waste Manifests are a part of most hazardous waste inspections, and there are multiple recordkeeping mandates to keep in mind:

A generator’s copy of the Manifest with transporter’s signature for a hazardous waste shipment must be kept on site for three years. [40 CFR 262.40(a)]

A confirmation copy of the manifest with the TSDF’s signature must also be kept as a record for three years after the waste is accepted by a transporter. [40 CFR 262.40(a)]

If a confirmation copy is not returned, the generator must keep an exception report on record for three years following the 45-day “waiting” period during which the manifest is not received. [40 CFR 262.40(b)]

6. Land Disposal Restriction documentation

When you ship hazardous waste off site to be treated before disposal, certain records must be kept on site. These include LDR determination records and copies of the LDR notifications and/or certifications, both of which must be kept for three years from the last shipment per 40 CFR 268.7(a)(6) and (a)(8). 

7. Tank and storage area inspection records

If you manage hazardous waste in tanks, daily tank inspections are required under 40 CFR 265.195(c). Records of tank inspections must be kept on file at the facility until the facility closes. You must also keep an engineer’s assessment of the integrity of your storage tank system on file until your facility closes. [40 CFR 265.191(a) and 192(a) and (g)] 

In addition, large quantity generators of hazardous waste must perform weekly inspections of container storage areas. While there is no requirement to keep records of these weekly inspections, having some documentation is a best practice. Without some form of recordkeeping, proving that weekly inspections took place as required will be difficult.

8. Hazardous waste incident reports

When an incident occurs that requires the activation of your site’s contingency plan, you must keep records of the time, date, and details of this incident until your facility closes, per 40 CFR 265.56(j).

These are just some of the hazardous waste paperwork elements that are essential to every facility. When an inspector asks for these items, keeping them organized in a “binder,” or simply knowing where to find what you need, will make the inspection process run smoothly and cut down on needless and costly paperwork violations.

RCRA Training in Phoenix, Denver, Portland, and Salt Lake City

Are you prepared for major changes to RCRA under EPA’s Generator Improvements Rule? Find out what’s changing, what to expect, and be confident your site will remain in compliance when the new rules take effect in May 2017! Don’t miss RCRA training in Phoenix, Denver, Portland, and Salt Lake City next month!

Trusted by EHS managers nationwide for 40 years, the RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Workshop is designed to satisfy EPA’s annual RCRA training mandate at 40 CFR 262.34(a) and 265.16. Build a streamlined approach to managing your site’s hazardous waste from “cradle-to-grave” and protect your facility from EPA fines now as high as $71,264 per day, per violation


Tags: hazardous, RCRA, reporting and recordkeeping, waste

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