Hazardous Waste inspections and investigations are authorized by Vermont statutes (10 V.S.A. § 8005). A typical hazardous waste inspection includes a walk-through and viewing of areas of waste generation and storage; and a review of documentation including waste profiles, inventory and inspection documents, Contingency Plans, and Personnel Training records. Upon presentation of credentials, an investigator may seek permission to inspect or investigate any portion of the property, fixtures, or other appurtenances belonging to or used by a person whose activity is required to be in regulatory compliance. Inspections of Hazardous Waste Generators are typically unannounced so that normal operating conditions can be observed.
Facilities/Generators are chosen for inspections based on a number of factors, including:
- The size of generator or facility being inspected, which is based on the amount of waste they produce. Treatment, Storage, or Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) are required to be inspected every other year, Large Quantity Generators (LQG) and Small Quantity Generators (SQGs) are inspected approximately every five years, and Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQGs) (formally referred to as Conditionally Exempt Generators) are inspected at a less frequent rate.
- Whether or not the generator has been the subject of a prior enforcement action. The Vermont Hazardous Waste Program schedules inspections in order to determine if violations have been corrected or to confirm continuing compliance.
- If a complaint is received by the Vermont Hazardous Waste Program regarding an activity that may constitute a violation.
Types of Facilities or Sites Inspected:
- Generators - those that generate hazardous waste;
- Treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF) - those sites which use land and structures for treating, storing, and disposing of hazardous waste; and
- Transporters - those that transport hazardous waste.
- Non-Generators - those that have not notified as hazardous waste handlers are inspected typically in response to a complaint of improper handling/storage of hazardous waste.
Types of Inspections:
- Compliance Assistance Visit (CAV) is a technical, site-specific compliance assistance visit and is conducted onsite without the threat of enforcement (unless there is the discovery of a high priority violation or an acute violation). A CAV does not include evaluation events that would qualify as another inspection type, such as a compliance evaluation inspection (CEI).
- Compliance Evaluation Inspection (CEI) is an onsite evaluation of a hazardous waste handler's compliance with the Vermont hazardous waste management regulations (VHWMR) and permit standards. The purpose of the CEI is to gather information necessary to determine compliance and support enforcement actions, and it includes all aspects of hazardous waste generation and handling.
- Focused Compliance Inspection (FCI) is an onsite inspection that addresses only a specific portion or subpart of the VHWMR or to perform a physical site evaluation to verify hazardous waste activity.
- Follow-up Inspection (FUI) is a partial (focused) or full onsite inspection conducted to verify the status of violations cited during a previous evaluation.
- Generator Closure Inspection (GCI) is a focused, onsite inspection of LQGs undergoing closure.
Inspection Checklists (for facility use):
Checklists used by program inspectors during inspections to evaluate compliance:
Large Quantity Generator (LQG) Checklist
Small Quantity Generator (SQG) Checklist
Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG) Checklist
The inspector(s) will identify readily apparent alleged violations during a closing conference. The inspector will then prepare a letter with summary of violations observed during the inspection and compliance directives to the generator. If something has not been addressed through post-inspection correspondence, follow-up questions or requests for additional submittals will be made by the DEC inspector listed in the letter. In all cases, a response from the generator will be required.