April 13, 2021

Updated Auditing and Self-Disclosure Guidance

EPA has updated guidance related to its audit policy and how that policy interfaces with self-disclosure and the eDisclosure system. The January 2021 document, EPA’s Audit Policy Program: Frequently Asked Questions, was prepared by the agency’s Office of Civil Enforcement. The guidance contains 49 Q&As on EPA’s general audit policy program, the owner audit policy, eDisclosure, and the small business compliance policy.

In general, the content describes what regulated entities should or should not do to satisfy a particular condition of one of the above-noted audit policies. Depending on one’s knowledge of the auditing and self-reporting process, some of the answers may come as a surprise. For example, Q&A 4 follows:

“A regulated entity discovered noncompliance that is required to be reported to the regulatory agency pursuant to the applicable statute, regulation, and/or permit. Does this mean the regulated entity does not meet the voluntary discovery condition?

“No, the voluntary requirement applies to discovery only, not reporting. That is, any violation voluntarily discovered may be still eligible for penalty mitigation, regardless of whether the regulated entity was required to report the violation after finding it.”

 


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.