What to Expect from a DEP Inspection

Attention small and large quantity hazardous waste generators: is your business following proper protocols and procedures to avoid violations during a DEP inspection? 

If you are unsure about the regulations surrounding hazardous waste and your business, you may be breaching regulations and face serious financial penalties.

All generators of hazardous waste must follow Resource Conservation and Recovery Act protocols which entitle the EPA to control hazardous waste from cradle to grave. This framework provides Department of Environmental Protection inspectors guidelines for the inspections.

If your business generates hazardous waste, you must know what a DEP inspection entails and how to prepare to avoid unnecessary violations and/or fines.

*Note: Department of Environmental Protection agencies are run by individual states and may utilize a different name in your state

What is a DEP Inspection?

A DEP inspection comprehensively evaluates a business’s compliance with environmental regulations. Using the RCRA as a guide, DEP inspections are formalized procedures for conducting hazardous waste facility inspections to ensure that companies follow all necessary regulations.

More often than not, DEP inspections are unannounced during normal business hours. On occasion, DEP inspectors will inform your business beforehand to ensure certain employees and any necessary staff are present to answer questions.

If your business is flagged as a common violator, or problem facility, DEP inspections will be conducted unannounced.

DEP inspectors review records, observe operations, and inspect facilities during an inspection. A certified inspector tours the facility alongside representatives from your company, and there is no time frame for how long or short an inspection takes. If everything is up-to-code, expect a quick visit, whereas a more comprehensive assessment may take a few days.

DEP inspectors are occasionally trained in hazardous waste sample gathering as they may be required to test samples from your facility. The DEP and EPA authorize inspectors to enter your facility and conduct the inspection.

Common DEP Inspection Violations

While walking through your business or handling hazardous waste, pay attention to these common DEP inspection violations.

Improper Disposal of Hazardous Waste

Regulations require specific handling of hazardous waste. Since your business is in charge of hazardous waste from cradle to grave, working alongside trained hazardous waste removal professionals is necessary to avoid breaking any regulations or rules.

The experts at HWH Environmental are licensed and insured, following best practices for proper handling, transport, and disposal of your hazardous waste. Whether chemical waste, excess hand sanitizer, or any other kind of waste, HWH Environmental ensures proper disposal to protect your business from costly fines and your employees from dangerous materials.

Overaccumulation of Hazardous Waste

Businesses must store hazardous waste in approved containers and comply with storage limits. Failure to comply with storage requirements results in fines and legal action.

Small-quantity hazardous waste generators can have up to 1000 kg of waste in their facility. They trigger large quantity generator regulations if they have more than 1000 kg. It’s important to understand that SQG and LQG regulations are different.

To avoid an overaccumulation violation, contact HWH Environmental today and schedule removal for your hazardous waste.

Improper Hazardous Waste Labeling

Hazardous waste must be appropriately labeled to ensure it is handled and disposed of safely.

Hazardous waste labeling must follow these protocols:

  • The words: “HAZARDOUS WASTE”
  • Name and address of the facility generating the waste
  • Waste accumulation start date (when the waste started to collect in the container?)
  • Physical state (solid or liquid?)
  • Composition (what is it?)
  • Hazard Classification (e.g. flammable, toxic, corrosive, reactive, etc.)

What Happens if You Fail a DEP Inspection?

If your business violates an RCRA violation, there are several different procedures. Depending on the type of violation, DEP inspectors may require a follow-up inspection, your business will be fined, and legal action is possible.

To avoid potential issues, fines, or penalties, it’s best to work with a licensed hazardous waste disposal company to guide your business through the process.

How Should My Business Prepare for a DEP Inspection?

Understand the regulations

Familiarize yourself with the RCRA and all EPA regulations for your business. Review all permits, licenses, and other compliance documents to ensure they are up-to-date and accurate.

Maintain accurate records

Keep accurate, organized, and easily accessible records of all environmental compliance activities, including training, inspections, and maintenance activities.

Train employees

Train employees on environmental regulations and best practices in case of a spill or emergency.

For example, when class 8 hazardous waste touches your skin, the corrosive materials may cause burns, tissue damage, and permanent scarring. Without proper training, you’re putting your employees at risk for serious injury.

Work alongside hazardous waste removal company

Hazardous waste removal companies are trained and licensed to remove waste according to local and federal regulations.

Perform regular inspections

Conduct regular self-audits and inspections to identify and address potential compliance issues before a DEP inspection.

Be prepared for the inspection

Have a designated point of contact to communicate with the inspector and ensure that all requested information is provided promptly and organized.

How does HWH Environmental Help with a DEP Inspection?

Avoid penalties, fines, and legal action by working alongside HWH Environmental for all of your hazardous waste removal needs. Our trained and licensed experts provide more flexibility and a broader spectrum of solutions than our larger competitors.

With our reduced lead time, HWH Environmental accommodates your scheduled audits and inspections. Our 25 years of experience in the hazardous waste disposal industry allows you to worry more about your business while we handle your hazardous waste.