Whether you are a novice or veteran in environmental compliance, there is always something you can miss while trying to maintain regulatory compliance for your facility. State regulatory agencies alone can have numerous rules — many of which will need to be combed through and fully understood in order to determine their applicability to your facility. An audit is a great way to determine what rules apply to your facility and the extent to which your facility is in compliance, but the term “audit” can be scary for many companies. It also isn’t the only option to understanding your company’s regulatory requirements. The other route, you ask? A high-level assessment that determines the regulatory applicability for your facility’s activities and provides a corrective framework for bridging compliance gaps, or in short, a regulatory applicability screen (RAS). A RAS is intended to identify which major environmental (or safety) regulatory areas apply to a site following a review of the facility processes by an experienced environmental professional.
Audit vs. RAS: Need to Report?
Many states have audit privilege and/or penalty immunity laws and self-disclosure policies regarding compliance gaps found during environmental audits. For example, if you are in Texas and your facility elects to conduct a voluntary audit under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act, you are required to confirm that you meet their criteria and submit a Notice of Audit (NOA) to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) prior to the audit being conducted. Any violations found during the audit must be reported in a Disclosure of Violations (DOV) notice to the TCEQ. Once submitted to the state, the NOA and DOV are publicly available records that provide immunity from enforcement actions for audited programs or regulations (with exceptions to immunity under specific conditions).
A RAS is not an audit, but more of a doctor’s checkup. In the same way an annual physical serves as a preventive health measure, a RAS is a high-level screen tailored to the facility to see what regulations or requirements your activities trigger. A RAS does not require an NOA or require that findings be reported through a DOV because it is activity-focused as opposed to violations-focused. A RAS does not report violations as findings, but rather documents on-site activities and provides a professional opinion about applicability and recommendations for further review, if warranted.
A Regulatory Applicability Screen consists of:
- A site walk-through
- Interviews with site personnel
- An abbreviated review of site records
- Letter Report with Applicability Analysis (Don’t worry, we can help you with this part.)
For your average facility, the site walk-through can be completed in a day and will entail collection and/or review of readily available records, Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), permits and their conditions, and interviews with facility personnel about typical processes and operations. The walk through, interviews, and limited records review will allow Braun Intertec to determine regulatory applicability and provide the client with a list of regulatory requirements and recommendations for improvement or further action.
In addition, Braun Intertec may determine that some requirements that do NOT apply which will also be included in the analysis. Usually the evaluation includes the major federal and state programs such as Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); Stormwater Pollution Prevention; Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC); water and wastewater discharge; air emissions permitting; water supply permitting, and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Tier II and Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting.
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If you would like more information on regulatory applicability screens, please give us a call or click the link below to fill out our Contact Us form.