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Using the Federal Records Center: A Guide for Headquarters Staff

Getting Started: An Introduction

This toolkit provides Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Headquarters personnel with procedures on retiring records to Federal Records Centers (FRC) operated by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The FRCs across the United States store and provide access to inactive or permanent records pending their disposition according to the approved records schedule. EPA Headquarters uses the Washington National Records Center (WNRC) in Suitland, Md.

Your program can send contingent, frozen, permanent and non-paper-based records to FRC under certain conditions with the appropriate approval. Note that FRC does not accept mixed record groups (those that have different disposition authorities) without an approved exception. Non-paper-based records, such as tape recordings, videotapes, records on magnetic media, etc., should not be mixed with paper records because of temperature and humidity vulnerabilities.

The Agency retains legal custody, even though the records are in the physical custody of FRC, until they are either destroyed or transferred to the National Archives. Only persons with Agency approval may access records stored at FRC. Legal custody and access control of permanent records transfers to the National Archives upon their scheduled transfer.

The Headquarters Records Officer serves as the Agency's liaison with FRC. He or she coordinates records retirement and retrieval; assists offices in completing forms; handles special situations; and oversees staff training.

Retiring EPA Records

  1. Retiring Records to FRC
  2. Required Materials for Records Transfer
  3. Preparing Records For Retirement
  4. Packing the Boxes for Shipment
  5. Preparing the Box List
  6. Completing Standard Form 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt
  7. Obtaining SF-135 Approval
  8. Shipping the Records

Requesting EPA Records

  1. Requesting Records from FRC
  2. Authorized Requesters
  3. Submitting a Request Using the OF-11
  4. Permanent Withdrawal
  5. Relocation of Records at FRC
  6. The Inform Report (A01 Report)
  7. Returning Records to FRC

Disposition of Records

Records stored at FRC eventually become eligible for destruction, agency review for contingent disposal or transfer to the National Archives for permanent retention. The date of one of these three events is the disposal date, found in column (i) of the SF-135. Approximately 90 days before the disposal date, FRC will notify the Headquarters Records Officer of the pending disposition of their records. The Headquarters Records Officer will send notification to the RLO to get approval before any records are destroyed. If the RLO does not agree he or she must submit a justification with a proposed disposal date.

Instructions on How to Transfer Permanent Records Directly to NARA

Types of Disposition

Agency Review for Contingent Disposal Scheduled Disposition Transfer of Permanent Records
The Agency will receive a NA Form 13000 (Agency Review for Contingent Disposal) at the end of every fiscal year.

The Headquarters Records Officer must review the status of records to determine if a particular action or event, upon which the destruction of the records is contingent, has been completed.

The Headquarters Records Officer must sign and return the form, indicating approval or disapproval of disposal before the records can be destroyed. If the records cannot be destroyed, he or she must indicate a new review date.
FRC will send NA Form 13001 (Notice of Eligibility for Disposal) to the Headquarters Records Officer 90 days before the scheduled destruction date. The Headquarters Records Officer or his or her designee will review the records listed on the form.

FRC will only destroy eligible federal records with EPA's written concurrence, as per 36 CFR 1228.170(b). Therefore, the reviewer must submit in writing either concurrence in the destruction or justification for a request for extension of retention, and the estimated duration of the continued retention of the records.
If the records are scheduled for transfer to the National Archives, the FRC will send the Headquarters Records Officer a Standard Form 258 (Request to Transfer, Approval, and Receipt of Records to the National Archives of the United States), which documents the change in legal custody of the records and states terms of the transfer.

The Headquarters Records Officer must submit in writing a concurrence with the transfer or a request to extend the period of Agency custody before FRC will take any action.

If your records can be transferred to the National Archives immediately, complete Standard Form 258 and contact the Headquarters Records Officer.

Appendices

  1. Sample Records Schedule
  2. Sample Completed SF 135
  3. Sample Illustration - Records Retirement Box
  4. Sample Box List
  5. Sample Facilities Services Request (EPA Form 5100-8)

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