Every business knows that along with regulations, come recordkeeping. And environmental regulations are no exception. If your business gets audited, one of the first items likely covered is a request to look at your records. So, what do you need to know about regulatory recordkeeping?

RegulationFrom an environmental and regulatory standpoint, we know there is a lot of information you have to keep on hand. But how much and for how long? Here we break down two of the most prevalent regulations recordkeeping that our clients are responsible for and must consistently maintain: RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) and Clean Air Act (Air Quality Permits).

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Regulations and requirements surrounding the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste are overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). To start, It’s important to note which size quantity generator class your organization falls under. There are three classifications based on the amount of waste generated and stored:

The following identifies the recordkeeping regulations required under RCRA.  Please note, employee training and emergency notification requirements do not apply to very small quantity generators.

TCLP Testing (Hazardous Waste Determination)

This requirement applies to all size waste generators.

Wastes that are potentially hazardous from toxicity require a hazardous/non-hazardous determination through laboratory analysis using the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) testing protocol. Submitting a representative waste sample for TCLP analysis is the only accurate and defensible way to determine if a waste is hazardous or non-hazardous due to the characteristic of toxicity.

Here is a list of the most common materials tested.

Employee Training Documentation

The next recordkeeping requirement applies to records regarding employee training. This specific part of RCRA also can be found in a large number of environmental regulations recordkeeping requirements.

Hazardous material training must include the following:

  • Safety training concerning the emergency response to protect employees from workplace hazards.

  • Specific training associated with workplace duties including facility and security (In-depth security training may also be required for some facilities).

  • Updates related to applicable regulatory changes.

Hazardous Waste Storage and Generation Logs

This requirement applies to all size waste generators.

The third requirement under RCRA is hazardous waste storage requirements and generation logs.

Proper hazardous waste storage includes acceptable quality containers, capable of safely holding hazardous waste, as well as being properly labeled. This would include what is being stored and the date of which it was stored; the labels used must be clearly legible.

Monthly hazardous waste generation and storage logs are required in order to document the generator category the facility falls under.  This, much like the TCLP testing, is the only defensible way to avoid fines regarding improper practices surrounding the storage and generation of hazardous waste. IWRC specialists have developed a tool to maintain these records. Download it here for free.

Emergency Services Notification and Documentation

This is another aspect of RCRA that a large number of organizations are not aware of. All local safety personnel should be aware of any potentially dangerous materials located on-site. This is important in the case of an emergency so that when first responders arrive, they can safely navigate your location.

It is also important to document all interactions with emergency personnel, and have those on file.

Hazardous Waste Disposal Documentation (i.e. Uniform Hazardous Wastes Manifests)

This requirement applies to all size waste generators.

Any and all hazardous wastes that are disposed of must be documented. Under this rule, these disposal documents must be kept on hand for a minimum of three years, but IWRC specialists recommend it is kept on hand as long as possible. This ensures that in any case, all necessary information is readily available if there is a potential issue with compliance.

Also note that for Iowa businesses, on June 30, 2018, the e-manifest national system for tracking hazardous waste shipments electronically will begin. EPA will be hosting free workshops in Iowa starting on June 7, 2018.

Air Quality Permits

Iowa air quality regulations require all new or modified equipment and control equipment that emit regulated air pollutants to obtain a construction permit, unless otherwise exempt.  The regulated air pollutants include:

  1. Carbon Monoxide (CO)

  2. Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs)

  3. Lead (Pb)

  4. Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)

  5. Particulate Matter (PM, PM10, and PM2.5)

  6. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

  7. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

For a list of common emission sources as well as common permit exemptions, download the Air Quality Construction Permit 101 guide.

It is important to know each construction permit issued by the Iowa DNR is unique.  Each individual permit should be carefully reviewed to identify applicable operating and recordkeeping requirements the facility must comply with.  IWRC specialist have developed several recordkeeping tools that Iowa businesses can utilize for free and specialists are available to assist your facility with your recordkeeping needs.

The above-mentioned aspects of regulatory recordkeeping by no means cover all aspects and details regarding your regulatory compliance. If you have any questions or concerns and would like more information, visit our Regulatory Summaries section online or give us a call!


Aaron JarnaginAbout the Author
Aaron Jarnagin
Marketing Intern
Iowa Waste Reduction Center

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