Inspections are conducted for many reasons. And while they are regulatory in nature, our philosophy is to provide technical assistance and education to the business; by doing so, we have found that a high rate of compliance is achieved without any enforcement action being taken.
Types of Inspections
Initial inspections are the first hazardous waste inspection at your company. These usually happen when we come to your site to license your company for its hazardous waste generation.
Routine inspections are based on a company's industry risk category and when the last inspection was conducted. Industries that manage wastes that pose a greater environmental hazard, if not properly managed, are inspected more frequently than those with minimal environmental risk.
Follow-up inspections are performed when a significant violation, such as waste containers in poor condition or inadequate outdoor storage, is noted or when an inspection was incomplete. Since inspections are unannounced, the person responsible for the hazardous waste program at your business may not be available at the time of inspection. This could lead to an incomplete inspection.
Complaint inspections are done when we receive a complaint about your business. We will discuss the complaint with you and try to understand the situation that led to the complaint.
Closure inspections are done when your company is leaving a site. Ramsey County's Hazardous Waste Ordinance (pdf) requires that you remove all the hazardous wastes and hazardous products before you leave the site. You cannot take your hazardous waste with you to your new location. Call us to schedule a closure inspection, which documents site conditions, prior to leaving.
What to expect during a routine inspection
A typical inspection consists of two activities: a visual inspection of your site, and a review of your required paperwork.
While the length of the visual inspection depends on the size of your building, and layout of waste management locations, this is usually the shorter portion of your inspection. We look at several things, a lot of which deals with your storage containers:
- Are they in good condition?
- Are they properly labeled?
- Are they kept closed?
- Are they compatible with the waste?
We are also checking that you have not accumulated too much waste, or stored it for too long.
The paperwork review is usually the most time consuming portion of the inspection. We need to review:
Waste disposal manifests and recycling receipts
Weekly waste inspection logs
Waste evaluation information (test results or Material Safety Data Sheets).
All of these records must be kept on-site for a minimum of three years. If you are Small or Large Quantity Generator, we will also look your hazardous waste training records.
When the inspection is done, your inspector fills out the inspection report form, talks to you about what they found and lets you know what's expected from you.
Follow-up to your inspection
If your inspector noted some violations on your inspection report form, you may be required to send us a letter or an e-mail that outlines a plan, complete with a timeline, on how you will address these issues. Depending on the violation, you may want to submit additional documentation, such as a photograph or evaluation report, with the letter.
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