We inspect facilities to ensure they handle, store, and dispose of dangerous waste according to the Dangerous Waste Regulations.
- Conducted during standard business hours.
Learn how to prepare for an inspection and what to expect when one occurs.
What happens during an inspection?
When dangerous waste compliance inspectors arrive at your facility, they will ask for the contact person listed on your:
If this person is unavailable, another staff member who is knowledgeable about dangerous waste at the facility will need to act as the backup.
The contact person should expect to:
- Explain the facility's processes that generate waste.
- Explain how the facility has designated the wastes generated.
- Explain how the facility's waste is stored and managed.
- Provide records required for your generator category, when requested.
What areas will be inspected?
Inspectors will tour the facility to check for compliance against the Dangerous Waste Regulations. The areas that inspectors typically look at are:
Inspectors may take photos
During the tour, inspectors may take photos to document violations or examples of proper dangerous waste management. These photos help inspectors write their inspection reports.
Talk to your inspector if you have questions or concerns about this.
What happens after the inspection?
Inspectors will write an inspection report. The inspection report will include:
- A narrative of the inspection.
- A list of violations if any were found.
- Actions required to correct any violations if any were found.
- Concerns and suggestions.
Inspectors may contact you with follow-up questions as they write their reports to clarify observations or any other information from the inspection.
What if your facility has violations?
Once your facility receives the inspection report, you will have 30 days to:
- Complete the actions required to correct any violations that were found.
- Submit the following to Ecology:
- Supporting documentation that shows the violations were corrected.
- A signed compliance certificate, included in the report.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Inspections are unannounced.
A couple ways to stay up-to-date on regulatory changes include:
We have the authority to inspect facilities that generate dangerous waste. We choose facilities based on many factors:
- Generator status and facility size.
- When the facility was last inspected.
- History of violations.
- Unexplained changes in generator status.
- Referrals from other agencies.
- Containers labeled incorrectly.
- Missing the words "dangerous waste" or "hazardous waste."
- Missing the hazard (e.g., the word “flammable,” or the graphic label for flammable).
- Missing the accumulation start date.
- Universal waste is missing a label or labeled incorrectly.
- Failure to designate wastes.
- Universal waste is managed improperly.
- Containers are not closed.
Some violations can be easily resolved during the inspection.
When a site does not respond to an inspection report, we:
- Will contact the facility representatives after 30 days to discuss the site's compliance status.
- May return to the site for additional inspections to determine if the site remains out of compliance.
- Will, if warranted, escalate enforcement to protect human health and the environment.
Escalated enforcement may include:
- Civil administrative orders.
- Civil penalties.
- Referrals for criminal investigation.
We expect facilities that generate dangerous waste to operate in compliance with the Dangerous Waste Regulations. To ensure compliance we conduct informal enforcement through the inspection process. Informal enforcement is our preferred approach.
We may use formal enforcement if:
- There is an imminent threat to human health or the environment.
- There are repeated non-compliance with regulations.
- A facility refuses to comply through informal enforcement.
Formal enforcement actions may included administrative orders and civil penalties based on the number and severity of violations. Each violation can result in a penalty of up to $10,000 per day. In some cases, we may refer a facility to criminal investigators.