In ourfirst post, we talked about the potential dangers of a regulatory audit and how to reduce the risk. As a followup to that post, we want to answer the following question: In today’s world with massive amounts of regulations that often overlap, how do you maintain compliance?

Navigating the sea of compliance can be challenging for a lot of companies, especially since regulations can change so drastically from region to region. For example, the Inland Empire in California has much stricter particulate matter (PM) regulations than in other areas because the levels are already so high.

These regulatory challenges can be tackled in an efficient and systematic way by taking the appropriate steps to create internal management tools.

The first step is to simply identify what your regulated entities are. A regulated entity is essentially an operation that is being told by the government what they can and cannot do. These operations will need permits or authorizations in order to operate, otherwise they would face massive fines.

The second step is to identify if local, state, and/or federal regulators govern these entities. For example, the federal EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations govern oil tanks over 1320 gallons. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) also has regulations governing such tanks at a state level. On top of that, local regulations can apply depending on the region or county.

As you might imagine it can get really challenging when these regulations overlap, but you’ll need to abide by all of them.

The third step is to identify the exact regulations that have been put in place by these regulators. The three primary areas are air, water, and waste regulations. If your operations pollute the air or water, or create waste, you’ll need a permit or authorization in that area.

The last step is to know what data to record and how often in order to stay compliant. The regulations often will specify how often you need to record data, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually, for example. Other regulations can limit your hours of operation, such as only being able to operate between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

Once you have gathered all of this information, a management tool should be created to streamline your processes. The best way to do this is by itemizing what your regulated entities are, each area you’re regulated under, and what the pertaining regulations are all in one checklist, then creating systems to meet these regulations.

Having all of this information in one place will go a long way toward maintaining compliance, and we have seen it help our clients greatly. Companies that wing it with their recordkeeping or don’t do it at all will be hit hard when an audit comes around. Trust us when we say that the cost of recordkeeping is nothing compared to the fines that can result from an audit.

As stated in the previous post, the team at RECES Environmental has decades of experience helping our clients maintain compliance by putting these internal regulatory systems in place. We would be happy to provide advice and work with you to abide by all regulations.

Contact Kevin Moin by email at or by phone at (281) 529-5087 to discuss how we can help.

Together we can maintain compliance!

We all know that there are countless regulations for air emissions, such as in AP-42 from the EPA or from state and local regulators. The permitting process is relatively straightforward when there are existing regulations for the operations you are trying to permit, but what should you do when there aren’t?

The best practice is to find the next closest thing when there are no specific guidelines or factors. When doing so, correspondence with the regulator is very important.

Ensure that open lines of communication are established with the appropriate regulator so you can work with them to permit your operations. Justifications for your methodology and any calculations will greatly help in the process as well. If no factors are available, use manufacturer data or stack testing.

For example, one of our clients in Texas wanted to permit a solids loading operation into a closed vessel, but there were no guidelines for this specific kind of loading from the EPA or TCEQ. There are, however, guidelines in AP-42 for solids loading into storage piles. We used this as our guideline since its the next closest thing and justified how and why we were doing so.

We worked with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on behalf of our client to ensure everything they needed was submitted and the appropriate justifications were made. The operations were permitted in a timely manner just like any other permit through TCEQ.

If you have operations you need to permit but aren’t sure how or if you found the right guidelines, the team at RECES Environmental would be happy to assist. Feel free to contact Kevin Moin by email at or by phone at (281) 529-5087 to discuss how we can help you permit your operations.

Together we can abide by all regulations!

What is your greatest fear? Heights? Spiders? The unknown?

I know one of my greatest fears is swimming in the ocean and not knowing what is under me, even though I absolutely love the ocean and being at the beach.

If you are responsible for environmental compliance at a regulated facility, one of the things that may keep you awake at night is most likely the fear of enforcement action through a regulatory audit.

Why are audits so scary? The findings resulting from an audit can be quite costly in terms of time and money, not to mention that they can damage the environmental credibility for the company. Audits can be specific to an incident, release, a permitted entity, environmental media, or an entire facility.

What triggers an audit? You can be audited at random, or if your facility receives a complaint. The random audits can come from local, state, or federal (EPA) regulators. The most common complaints come from residents, or employees of companies in the vicinity of your plant. The most common cause will be an odor complaint or complaints of feeling nauseated or sick.

How to be prepared for an audit? The best way to reduce the risk of unwanted results from an audit is to be proactive about your recordkeeping. Just like an IRS audit, it is almost impossible to avoid regulatory audits altogether, but the time to complete an audit can be reduced by having all required information readily available.

By having a well organized and proactive environmental compliance plan, you will significantly increase your chances of having successful auditing results. If you are not organized and prepared at the time of an audit, it will be a red flag for the auditor who will most likely assume that there is something to be found. If you are organized and prepared, the auditor will be able to complete the work faster and the opportunity cost of the downtime will be reduced.

A great way to do this is to create a pragmatic and simple to use system for your facility to record emissions data and to consolidate this information in one place. The team at RECES Environmental has decades of experience handling environmental compliance and recordkeeping for facilities around the country.

We are happy to provide advice and work with you to handle your recordkeeping and reporting needs. Contact Kevin Moin by email at or by phone at (281) 529-5087 to discuss how we can help you reduce your audit risk.

Together we can prevent unnecessary losses due to audits!