If your facility creates or handles hazardous waste, it can be stored onsite without a permit for 90, 180 or 270 days — depending on your waste generator status and the distance that the waste will be hauled for treatment, recycling or disposal. While that waste is onsite, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires weekly inspections. Inspection records also must o be kept to verify compliance.
The purpose of weekly inspections is to make sure that each container is in good condition (free from rust, dents, cracks or any other signs of corrosion). If it is discovered early enough, contents of a container that is rusted or otherwise compromised can be transferred to another container before a leak or spill happens.
Weekly inspections are also beneficial in other ways. Inspections verify that wastes are being stored safely to prevent harm to employees or the environment. For example, a weekly inspection might uncover incompatible materials that are stored too close to each other or ignitable wastes too close to the property line. The earlier harmful situations are found, the earlier they can be corrected before an incident happens.
Compliance with container labeling requirements and storage time limits can also be verified during weekly inspections. Hazardous waste containers need to be clearly marked with the words “hazardous waste,” a description of the contents and an accumulation start date. The accumulation start date can be used to confirm that hazardous waste containers are moved offsite within the required 90, 180 or 270 days.
You tell us: How often do you inspect your hazardous waste containers? More than the weekly requirement by the EPA? Let us know in the comments section below!