Four Common EPA Violations Concerning Handling Waste Materials

Like it or not, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulations in place that affect local, state and federal government and their agencies. In addition, the EPA has regulations for almost every industry imaginable as well as for landlords, homeowners, and rental residences. With so many regulations it is almost impossible to keep track of them all.

Yet, most violations relate to the following issues culled from state records. State records are used as the EPA doesn’t keep a national list of the most common violations. The guidance for EPA enforcement comes from the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA), that is the part of the EPA regulations all readers should be aware of. Punishment for EPA violations can be an order for corrective action, fines that can be hefty, and even jail time. Following are the most common violations of the RCRA as recorded by several states.

1. Dumping hazardous waste down the drain or into sewers. This is an important violation as hazardous waste disposed of this way often finds its way into streams, rivers, lakes, or the ocean. Polluting waterways and aquifers contaminates drinking water and makes pristine waters unable to sustain life.

2. Lack of or improper labeling of hazardous waste. This violation stems from many of those considered waste generators failure to properly label onsite containers or tanks.

3. Inadequate training or no training at all for employees. This is a big deal! It’s so because the safety of employees is at stake as hazardous waste creates many health risks and long-term exposure to some hazardous waste can cause death (think asbestos and mesothelioma).

4. Open containers of hazardous waste are another common violation. The EPA mandates that all hazardous waste containers be closed and latched when not in use except when opened to add or remove the hazardous waste.

These are just four of the top 20 violations that have been recorded as most frequent by several states. This list is not exhaustive and businesses that generate waste, especially hazardous wastes, should turn to an experienced waste removal vendor to help them formulate an effective waste management program.