Hazardous Waste



EPA OIG: EPA Has Not Met Statutory Requirements for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility Inspections, but Inspection Rates Are High 

March 2016

OIG did this review to evaluate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) progress in meeting Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) minimum inspection requirements at hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs). 

Overall, the EPA had a high inspection completion rate of 91 percent (656 out of a universe of 718 TSDFs reviewed). However, specific inspection completion rates varied for the three types of TSDFs: 94 percent for private TSDFs; 85 percent for federal TSDFs; and 54 percent for state or local TSDFs. Although the EPA’s overall inspection completion rate is high, the agency did not fully meet the legal requirement for inspecting 100 percent of operating TSDFs for fiscal year 2014. 

OIG also found that the EPA recognizes state-conducted inspections of federal TSDFs as meeting the federal inspection requirement. Because this practice was inconsistent with the EPA’s documented compliance monitoring strategy, the agency updated its strategy in September 2015 to allow this practice. Report

Media Coverage

The Hill: Watchdog: EPA behind on hazardous waste inspections




EPA OIG: EPA Does Not Effectively Control or Monitor Imports of Hazardous Waste 

July 2015

The EPA’s actions to ensure that hazardous waste imports to the United States are received, processed and managed are incomplete and ineffective. The EPA is unable to (1) confirm that all imported hazardous waste shipments reach their intended destinations, (2) ensure hazardous waste shipments are received only by facilities that are properly permitted to handle the waste, (3) determine whether there are any lost or unaccounted for shipments of hazardous waste, and (4) block hazardous waste from coming into the country without the EPA’s consent

Based on OIG's assessment of data in EPA information systems, the EPA has an incomplete picture of hazardous waste entering the country. This can give rise to undetected and unenforced violations of federal hazardous waste laws, which could result in unknown human and environmental exposure to toxic substances. Report

Media Coverage

Free Beacon: Report: EPA ‘Does Not Effectively Track’ Toxic Waste Entering U.S.