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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!