Compliance Evaluation Inspections
The Compliance Evaluation Inspection (CEI) is the primary compliance monitoring mechanism for assessing compliance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which establishes requirments for handling and disposal of solid and hazardous waste. CEIs are routine inspections of hazardous waste generators, transporters, and waste generators, transporter, and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) to evaluate compliance with the requirements of RCRA. The applicable RCRA standards can be found in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 260 - 270. Authorized States have regulations that are at least as stringent as these standards.
CEIs are used to:
- Evaluate compliance with RCRA regulations, closure plans, and permit provisions to gather information necessary to determine compliance.
- Support enforcement actions.
Identify and bring non-notifiers into the RCRA regulatory program.
- Determine the acceptability for off-site CERCLA waste (i.e., waste generated from remediation of Superfund sites.)
To evaluate compliance of generators and TSDFs, CEIs encompass:
- A review of facility records/files and previous inspection reports prior the site visit.
- An on-site evaluation of generation, treatment, storage, or disposal areas.
- A review of facility on-site maintenance, sampling, financial, and administrative records.
- An evaluation of a facility's hazardous waste management practices and its compliance with the applicable requirements of RCRA.
RCRA and the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA) and EPA guidance require that:
- All TSDFs will be inspected at least once every two years.
- All Federal or state owned/operated TSDFs must be inspected annually.
- Regions and authorized States must inspect their generators and Transporters as required by; the RCRA Implementation Plan.
Inspections may be initiated for:
- Routine purposes, or
- "For cause" (i.e., where probable violations have been observed or brought to the attention of EPA and/or State).
RCRA Subtitle C (Section 3007) gives EPA the authority to conduct compliance and evaluation inspections of hazardous waste facilities for the purpose of developing regulations, preparing permits, or ensuring compliance with RCRA regulations. Access to these facilities is granted to "duly designated" officers, representatives, or employees of EPA or authorized state hazardous waste programs.
Section 3007 allows authorized officials to:
- Have access to and copy all records at the hazardous waste management facilities at all reasonable times.
- Obtain samples of any waste, containers, or labeling for such wastes, including spills.
- Determine compliance with all applicable requirements of RCRA.
The RCRA enforcement program uses formal and informal mechanisms to address violations and ensure that hazardous waste management is protective of human health and the environment.
Evidence of non-compliance obtained during an inspection may result in:
A warning letter (Notice of Violation.)
An administrative order or civil action requiring compliance and a payment of a penalty.
A permit denial or modification.
A criminal investigation or action.