clipboardGeneral Description

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hold educational Institutions to the same environmental standards applied to businesses and the rest of the regulated community. University and college administration must make a genuine commitment to environmental compliance and communicate this commitment to their staff.

Under Wis. Stats. 291.91, inspectors have legal authority to enter a regulated facility without warning and without delay.

Before the inspection

  • Obtain administrative buy-in to implement environmental compliance and best practices
  • Self-identify non-compliance issues and opportunities for improvement
  • Keep records organized and accessible. Have your records in order.
  • Designate qualified personnel, including backups, to accompany inspector
  • Prepare a plan and procedures to manage inspections

During the inspection

  • Verify inspector credentials and make note of identity
  • Inspector must be accompanied by EHS
  • Don’t argue with the inspectors
  • Take notes
  • Answer all questions directly and truthfully
  • If you can’t answer a question, provide follow-up as soon as possible
  • If a problem is found, correct it immediately
  • Split samples – take a sample each time the inspector takes one
  • Photograph what inspectors photograph
  • Keep an exact duplicate of all records provided

After the inspection

  • Seek management attendance at exit briefing
  • Clarify expectations and deadlines
  • Consult legal counsel if necessary
  • Keep communication open and constructive until issues are resolved
  • Complete and organize your notes promptly

If no violations are found DNR will send a letter indicating such. If violations have been detected you will receive either a notice of noncompliance (NON) or notice of violation (NOV). If noncompliance issues or violations are not corrected in a timely manner, escalated enforcement options include an enforcement conference, an administrative order or a referral to Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Top ten violations

  1. Failure to properly mark containers signs
  2. Open containers
  3. Improper disposal of hazardous waste
  4. Improper management of Satellite Accumulation Areas
  5. Storage greater than 90 days or 180 daysCombined signs
  6. Failure to regularly inspect and maintain documentation
  7. Improper management of Universal Waste (labeling, dating, and open containers)
  8. Inadequate contingency plan
  9. Inadequate personnel training
  10. Management of used oil

Record review

Inspectors will request records related to the cradle-to-grave management of hazardous wastes. These documents may include, but are not limited to:

  • applicable permits
  • training records
  • emergency procedures and contacts
  • contingency plan where applicable
  • inspection logs
  • waste analyses and profiles
  • hazardous waste manifests
  • other shipping documents
  • land disposal restriction notices
  • annual reports

Other Resources

EPA RCRA Audit Manual

WIDNR Large Quantity Generator Inspection Form

WIDNR Small Quantity Generator Inspection Form

WIDNR Very Small Quantity Generator – Inspection Form

WIDNR Very Small Quantity Generator – Acute Inspection Form

WIDNR Universal Waste – Small Quantity Handler Checklist

WIDNR Used Oil Management

DSPS Regulatory enforcement and workplace inspections (UWSA)



This publication was prepared for environmental, health and safety staff at University of Wisconsin System campuses, to assist in finding resources and information for regulatory compliance. It is not intended to render legal advice.

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