Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>



									Course 029


                                          CONNIE STROBBE

                         AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Starting in the 1970s, many companies in the United States began to conduct self-assessments to
determine if they were complying with the myriad of environmental laws and regulations applicable to
their operations. As environmental regulations became more complex, and the quantity of regulations
contained in the Code of Federal Regulations escalated, costs associated with non-compliance soared.
The chemical industry was the first to adopt self-audits, but the concept was soon embraced by other
industries, consultants, and attorneys.1

In 1978 President Carter issued Executive Order (EO) 12088, Federal Compliance with Pollution
Control Standards, which mandated Federal agency compliance with Federal, state, and local
environmental regulations. This EO was a milestone document, as it was the first time that Federal
agencies were held accountable for environmental compliance. While the EO did not explain how
compliance was to be determined, it directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
provide technical guidance to Federal agencies in adhering to the new EO. In response, in 1984 EPA
issued the Federal Facility Compliance Strategy, which emphasized the importance of conducting
internal compliance audits, as they had already proven very effective in the private sector. 2 To further
encourage this approach, EPA issued a number of Audit Policies that offered incentives to private
industry and federal agencies that conduct self assessments by committing to waive gravity-based
penalties and generally not seeking criminal prosecution for disclosing violations of environmental
regulations as long as certain provisions are met (such as promptly reporting the violation, taking
expeditious corrective action, etc.).3

In 1987 the Air Force began conducting test environmental compliance assessments, and the
following year Air Force policy was issued mandating that bases complete their first assessment no
later than January 1990. In 1990, the Air Force issued its first regulation governing the Environmental
Compliance Assessment and Management Program (ECAMP). Six years later, the Department of
Defense issued DODI 4715.6, Environmental Compliance, which mandated internal compliance self
assessments at least annually, and external compliance self assessments at least every three years for
all DOD installations.4 The latest trend is to incorporate safety and occupational health into the
environmental auditing program, with the Air Force calling the combined program ESOHCAMP −
Environmental, Safety, and Occupational Health Compliance Assessment and Management Process.

The Air Force requires bases to conduct internal ESOHCAMPs annually, with teams of volunteers
from across each base and relying heavily on the unit environmental coordinators. Every third year
there is an external assessment comprised of people from outside the installation. Current policies
allow bases to forego an internal assessment during the years in which an external is conducted,
though this may change as external teams become smaller and more focused on system‟s auditing. To
maintain a strong focus on compliance, internal assessments may be required annually in the future.

A large number of auditors are needed to conduct successful ECAMP/ESOHCAMP audits, and there
is frequently rapid turnover of personnel available as potential recruits. As a result, there are usually a
number of auditors on each team who are not experienced, and who consequently have a difficult time
correctly identifying and documenting findings. Due to the scope and magnitude of the Air Force
compliance audits, the entire process can seem quite daunting to new auditors.
Course 029

Most compliance audits use some type of checklists, where questions are asked of site personnel and
checklist items are used to verify compliance with specific regulatory requirements. Checklists are
typically developed for specific protocol areas, such as hazardous waste, storm water, and air quality.
Many federal agencies, including the Air Force and Army, use checklists provided by the U.S. Army
Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) which are updated quarterly. These
checklists are available on the DENIX (Defense Environmental Network and Information eXchange)
web site, at the following address: and on the FedCenter web site,
at: The CERL checklists
consist of three different components: the U.S. TEAM Guide which covers federal laws and
regulations, the State-Specific Assessment Manuals, and the Service-Specific supplement. In
addition, there is now an additional section on the web site containing Occupational Safety and Health
guides. While service-specific guides are on the DENIX site for the Air Force, Reserves, and Air
National Guard, state supplements are not yet included for safety and occupational health.

For those installations outside of the U.S., there is a section on both web sites called “OCONUS
Compliance Assessment Tools,” which contain the protocol checklists that should be used for each of
the overseas installations. These checklists are, of course, tailored to the Final Governing Standard of
the country in which each base is located. For example, the OCAP-Turkey contains all of the
protocol-specific checklists that should be used during ESOHCAMP assessments at USAFE bases in
Turkey. The checklists reflect the specific requirements to which the U.S. Air Force committed in the
Final Governing Standards (FGS) for the Republic of Turkey. Consequently, the protocol checklist
for air, hazardous waste, water, etc. would reflect the FGS, and not the laws and regulations of the
United States. Having all of these checklists readily available on a web site and updated on a frequent
basis is a tremendous advantage for Air Force and Army auditors.

It is the ESOHCAMP Team Leader‟s responsibility to ensure that all audit team members have a
complete copy of the U.S. TEAM guide, the State Supplement for the state in which the installation to
be audited is located, and the Air Force Supplement for the protocol(s) they are evaluation. These
documents are crucial for the successful completion of any ESOHCAMP audit, particularly for
protocols with which the auditors do not have first-hand experience.

Before moving into a discussion of findings and how to identify them, it is important to understand a
few basic definitions. First, of course, is the definition of “finding!” A finding is a situation that is
out of compliance with some legal, regulatory, or procedural requirement. According to the ECAMP
regulation, AFI 32-7045, a significant finding is one that requires immediate action, as it “poses, or
has a high likelihood of posing, a direct and immediate threat to human health, safety, the
environment, or the installation mission.” 5 A major finding is one that is “out of compliance with
Federal, state, or local law. Major findings require future action to avoid potential threats to human
health, safety, the environment, or the installation mission.” 5 A minor finding is any situation “that is
out of compliance with DoD or AF Instructions at any level. Minor findings are generally
administrative and procedural in nature.”5

Two remaining categories of findings are management practices and positive findings. A
management practice is a recommendation for “reducing environmental risks and improving
environmental management. These recommendations are not based on environmental regulations and
do not involve noncompliance. Instead, they are management practices that, if followed, will help
keep an installation in or ahead of compliance.” 5 Management practices do not have to be adopted by
the organization against which they are written, as they are recommendations only. However, they
should be given careful consideration as they may involve minor procedural changes that could
enhance operations and reduce environmental risk. Positive findings are the final category, and these
Course 029

are conditions or actions “in which an organization or individual has met and exceeded the compliance
requirements; sought innovative and creative management techniques to achieve compliance; or
improved operations to minimize environmental impact.” 5

In addition to the determination of level of severity of a particular finding, an auditor must also find
out if it is a repeat or a carry-forward finding. A repeat finding is one that was identified during a
previous audit and was subsequently closed out. If an identical situation is observed during a future
audit, it is classified as a repeat finding. A carry-forward finding is one that was identified and written
up in a previous audit and has not yet been closed out. Any open findings are written as carry-
forwards during future audits.

There are basically two ways in which auditors uncover noncompliant situations during an
ESOHCAMP audit. The first and most obvious way is by going through the checklist items in a
TEAM guide, and receiving an answer during the interview process or document review which
indicates that the organization is not in compliance. The second way is by observing a situation in the
field or while viewing an organization‟s operations that, based on the auditor‟s experience or common
sense, doesn‟t look quite right. Further investigation and review of the TEAM guide is then required
to determine whether or not a finding actually exists. While this is the more complicated way to
discover findings during an ESOHCAMP audit, it is probably also the most common.

As an illustration of the first method of discovering findings, take the example of an experienced
auditor using the Hazardous Materials Protocol on a recently-completed ESOHCAMP audit. The
auditor interviewed a technician in one of the base‟s research laboratories. She referenced Section 15
of the Protocol, which deals specifically with laboratory operations (Figure 1). The technician
indicated that he received initial training regarding the hazardous chemicals with which he would be
working when he started work in the lab. The auditor then asked how training was provided when
new hazardous chemicals were introduced in the work area. The technician replied that no follow-on
training had been provided, even though several new chemicals had been added to the work area since
the technician was hired 18 months ago. Clearly, this situation did not meet the requirements outlined
in the Hazardous Material TEAM Guide (Question HM.15.2.US) and the associated regulatory
reference (29 CFR 1910.1450(f)). Therefore, this situation was written as a major ESOHCAMP

 HM.15.2.US. Employees            Verify that information about the hazards of the chemicals in the
 engaged in the laboratory        work area is provided at the time of initial employment and prior to
 use of hazardous chemicals       assignment involving new exposure risks.
 (see definitions) are            (NOTE: The frequency of refresher training is to be determined by
 required to be provided with     the facility.)
 information and training         Verify that employees are informed of:
 concerning the hazards of          -the requirements to be trained and informed
 the chemicals in their work        -the location and availability of the Chemical Hygiene Plan
 areas (29 CFR                      -the permissible exposure limits for OSHA regulated substances or
 1910.1450(f)).                       recommended exposure levels for other hazardous chemicals
                                  where there is no OSHA limit
                                    -signs and symptoms associated with exposure
                                    -the location and known availability of known reference material
                                  such as MSDSs.

                                  Verify that training includes:
                                    -methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence
                                  of or release of a hazardous chemical
                                    -the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area
Course 029

                                    -the measures employees can take to protect themselves
                                    -applicable details of the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

                          Figure 1 – Hazardous Material TEAM Guide Excerpt

The second method of discovering findings typically involves follow-up research and investigation.
This method has five steps:

     Step 1: Observe an activity or situation in the field that doesn‟t look right.
     Step 2: Document the major issues involved. For example:
     -Was there a spill of hazardous materials?
     -Was there extensive run-off into a river or stream?
     -Was something burning, resulting in air emissions?
     -Did a situation look unsafe, such that it could easily result in a serious injury?
     Step 3: Determine what protocols could be applicable. In some cases, this step will be very
     clear. If the auditor sees black smoke billowing out of a base central heating plant, it would be
     easy to conclude that the air protocol would apply. However, what about the situation where a
     hazardous material is released into the storm sewer system? Two potential protocols could
     apply: hazardous materials and water quality.
     Step 4: Turn to Section H in the protocol TEAM Guide, which is the “Guidance for „Protocol
     Name‟ Management Checklist Users.” While there is no Table of Contents in the TEAM
     Guides, this section lists the main topic areas for that particular protocol, and the Checklist Items
     that apply to each topic. Determine which topic area seems most applicable to the observed
     situation, and note which Checklist Items pertain.
     Step 5: Review the relevant checklist items, determine if one of them is applicable, and then
     document the finding if the situation is indeed out of compliance. If during this step you
     determine that the checklist items don‟t quite match the situation observed, repeat step four using
     another likely protocol or perhaps the State or Air Force supplement portion of the TEAM
     Guide. Obviously you should seek assistance in this process from your fellow ESOHCAMP
     team members, as you could end up with a finding that‟s not in the protocol for which you are
     directly responsible.

Let‟s walk through an example of this method. An auditor observed a fuel bowser (a type of mobile
aboveground storage tank) that was badly rusted and corroded. The auditor knew this situation could
not possibly be acceptable, but he wasn‟t sure what regulations or TEAM Guide sections were
applicable. Observing the condition of the bowser completed Step 1. He then identified the poor
condition of the bowser and the potential this created for tank failure and a release of fuel as major
areas of concern, thereby completing Step 2. In Step 3 he identified Tanks and Petroleum, Oil, and
Lubricants (POL) as the most likely protocols to apply in this situation. In Step 4, he reviewed
Section H (Figure 2) of the Tank Protocol, and he immediately noticed that the section pertaining to
ASTs had been rescinded.

                                                               REFER TO CHECKLIST ITEMS:

 All Federal Facilities                                        ST.1.1.US.

 Missing, Risk Management, and Positive Checklist Items        ST.2.1.US. through ST.2.3.US

 Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs)                              ST.5.1.US. through ST.5.5.US.
 (NOTE: Checklist items deleted with revision of 40
 CFR 112 July 2002)

                                Figure 2 – Tank TEAM Guide Excerpt
Course 029

The remaining portions of Section H pertained only to underground storage tanks, controlling
emissions from tanks, and tanks that store used oil or hazardous wastes. As none of these were
applicable to the situation he had observed, he then decided to go back to Step 4 and investigate the
POL protocol. After reviewing Section H of this protocol, he decided that Checklist Items PO.20.1
through 20.5, POL Storage, would most likely yield the information needed.

                                                                 REFER TOCHECKLIST
    All Federal Facilities                                       PO.1.1.US.

    Missing, Risk Management, and Positive Checklist Items       PO.2.1.US. through PO.2.3.US.

    Transportation Spill Plans                                   PO.12.1 and PO.12.2

    Discharges/Spills                                            PO.15.1.US. and PO.15.2.US.

    POL Storage                                         PO.20.1.US. through PO.20.6.US.
           General                                      PO.25.1.US. through PO.25.7.US.
           On Vessels/Ships                             PO.30.1.US. through PO.30.6.US.
           Tank Vessels                                 PO.35.1.US. and PO.35.2.US.
           Cargo and Miscellaneous Vessels
                             Figure 3 – POL TEAM Guide Excerpt

In Step 5, the auditor read Items 20.1-20.5, and found that questions 20.1 and 20.2 dealt with
containment, which was not applicable to the situation he had observed. Question 20.3 had been
deleted, and then he read PO.20.4.US, a very lengthy section with portions that definitely applied to
the rusted and corroded fuel bowser (see Figure 4).

PO.20.4.US. Bulk             Verify that each aboveground container is tested for integrity on a
storage containers of oil    regular schedule, and whenever material repairs are made.
are required to met
specific parameters (40      Verify that the facility combines visual inspection with another testing
CFR 112.1(b), 112.1(d),      technique such as hydrostatic testing, radiographic testing, ultrasonic
112.7(i), 112.8(c),          testing, acoustic emissions testing, or another system of non-destructive
112.12(c)) [Added July       shell testing.
2002, Revised July
2004, Revised January        Verify that personnel frequently inspect the outside of the container for
2007].                       signs of deterioration, discharges, or accumulation of oil inside diked

                             (NOTE: Records of inspections and tests kept under usual and
                             customary business practices will suffice for purposes of this paragraph.)
                        Figure 4 –Excerpt from PO.20.4 in POL TEAM Guide

From the ESOHCAMP definitions, the auditor identified this as a major finding, since the fuel bowser
did not meet the required conditions specified in 40 CFR 112.8(c) and could have resulted in a notice
of violation.

Once a finding has been identified, there are a number of critical elements required to clearly and
concisely document it. Remember, this is the only documentation the base has when the audit is
concluded. Findings must be clearly written, easily understood, and verifiable once the team has
Course 029

departed. A previous study was conducted of ESOHCAMP findings in which it was determined that
just over seven percent of all negative findings were thrown out because they were poorly
documented.6 This is an unacceptably high number that could be reduced by careful investigation of
the original findings to ensure they are valid and written in clear, plain language that describes the
non-compliant situation.

The Air Force has adopted the Air National Guard ESOHCAMP database system, and it will soon be
the only system authorized for use in documenting and tracking ESOHCAMP findings. The Finding
Description and Location blocks are clearly critical information for this system. The building number
is obviously important, and if it‟s a large facility, additional location information will probably be
required. Is there a door, post number, or other means of identifying the precise finding location?
Ask yourself what information you would need to track down and locate the findings you‟ve
uncovered. If the finding is outside of a facility, perhaps in an undeveloped portion of the base, it can
be even more challenging to describe precisely where the finding was located. Obviously GPS
coordinates would be invaluable, but most of the time you won‟t have a GPS unit, and you‟ll have to
rely on maps and writing out clear directions to the site. Pretend that you‟re giving directions to
someone who has never been to that base before.

A regulatory citation is generally required for major and minor negative findings, and is derived from
the TEAM Guide or the State or Air Force Supplements. Did the situation observed violate a specific
provision of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the applicable state regulations, a permit, or local
regulation or ordinance? The citation needs to be accurate and as specific as possible. For example,
the owner or operator of a hazardous waste Treatment, Storage, or Disposal Facility (TSDF) must
have analytical results for a representative sample of the wastes stored in order to ensure that it is
properly managed and maintained. If they do not have this analytical data, they are not complying
with the requirements of 40 CFR 265.13(a). It is not sufficient in this situation to simply cite the
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 40 CFR, or even 40 CFR 265. Again, provide specific
information so the base personnel know exactly what the problem is and what they need to do to fix it.

You should avoid a number of common pitfalls when writing the Finding Description block. Make
sure that you clearly spell out what the problem is that needs to be fixed. You may want to ask
another ESOHCAMP team member to read the finding, and see if they understand it; if they don‟t, it‟s
back to the drawing board! Always write findings in the past tense because you only see the situation
at the time you‟re there. Several weeks or months can pass from the time you discovered the finding
to the publication of the final report. By writing in the present tense, it implies the situation still
exists, and that may or may not be true. State the facts as you observed them at the time of the audit.
Do not use names in the Finding Description, as this can give the strong impression of placing blame,
which is certainly not one of the goals of a good ESOHCAMP audit. An organizational point of
contact accompanies each finding in a specific block; this information is needed so the base
ESOHCAMP program manager will know who to contact to request a management action plan for
closing out the finding.

Avoid using soft recommendations and jumping to conclusions in the finding descriptions. An
example of a soft recommendation is “The tank program was deficient and could be improved.” This
doesn‟t provide any information upon which the base can act. How was the program deficient? Were
there base-wide problems with their secondary containment for their aboveground tanks, indicating an
inspection and maintenance deficiency? Was the base required to have permits from the state for their
tanks, and these permits were never obtained? You need to provide the base with specific information
regarding any deficiencies.

An example of jumping to conclusions would be “This is a serious concern.” Whether or not a
particular finding is a serious concern is your opinion. While this may be a valid conclusion, the
finding description should only include facts. Similarly, avoid making legal conclusions, such as
Course 029

stating that a particular situation is in violation of a section of the CFR or a particular law. Just state
that the situation exists (fact), and that this conflicts with the requirements of 40 CFR 262.1(a), for

When writing finding descriptions, it‟s important that you avoid using unfamiliar terminology and
acronyms, a common problem in both DOD and the environmental field. This occurs more frequently
with experienced auditors, who tend to assume that everyone knows what the acronyms mean. For
example, “The base exceeded the suspended solids limit specified in their NPDES permit for outfall
#3.” A reader who does not have an environmental background will not know that NPDES stands for
the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Another common problem to avoid is failing to
communicate the extent of a problem. For example, if you inspect five on-going construction projects
and find that one of them is not complying with the provisions of their NPDES construction permit,
you should include the extent of the inspections in the finding documentation. You could state: “Five
active construction sites were inspected to verify compliance with their National Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System construction permits, and one out of five sites was not in compliance. While the
required silt fences had been installed at the new fire station construction site, they were not
maintained and were no longer effective in containing soil on the site.” This situation is a
substantially different from one in which you‟ve inspected five sites, and all five of them had major
storm-water compliance issues.

Another common problem in writing finding descriptions is sending contradictory messages. Most of
the time auditors probably do this to soften the blow of the finding for the responsible organization,
but it can lead to confusion. An example of this would be: “The installation had an outstanding
Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan, but it did not include the required section on
wetlands.” Stick to the specific deficiency in the finding write-up, perhaps as follows: “The
Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan did not include a section on the base‟s jurisdictional
wetlands, as required by Section 3.5 of AFI 32-7064.” Provide positive feedback to the Natural
Resources Program Manager during the interview.

One of the greatest challenges for any auditor is to remain objective throughout the ESOHCAMP
process. If you‟re evaluating a protocol at a base which has a very poor program under that protocol,
it may be tempting to use inflammatory language in the finding documentation. Take the following
example: “The lack of backflow prevention devices at the Base Entomology Shop could result in
contamination of the entire base drinking water supply, poisoning thousands of base employees with
dangerous pesticides and leading to hundreds of deaths.” This description is likely to anger the
recipients and make them extremely defensive, so it will consequently be far less effective at ensuring
prompt action to correct the situation. It would be far better to state that “Backflow prevention
devices had not been installed at the Base Entomology Shop, as required by the Safe Drinking Water
Act, the state drinking water regulations, and Air Force Instruction 32-1066.” This objectively
conveys the deficiency, without making base personnel angry and defensive. Examples of
inflammatory terms that you should try to avoid include: careless, terrible, dangerous, intentional,
severe, reckless, kill, death, incompetent, stupid, dumb, irresponsible, illegal, and inadequate.

It is obvious from reviewing findings data from installations across the Air Force that there are
common areas in which many bases seem to have difficulty with compliance. It is important to
understand what some of these common findings are, so steps can be taken to avoid them in the future.
Although there are common findings in each protocol area, we will only review the most common
ones for those protocols in which we are most likely to receive enforcement actions. Therefore, we
will restrict this portion of the paper to Air, Hazardous Materials, Hazardous Wastes, and Water.
Course 029

Record-keeping deficiencies – Whether a base has a Title V permit or an individual operating permit,
record keeping will typically be required. The most frequent finding in the air program related to
deficiencies in this arena. It is important to conduct shop self-assessments on a regular basis, using
each organization‟s permit terms and conditions as a site-specific checklist.
Refrigerant program deficiencies – 40 CFR 82.156 requires that persons disposing of appliances
evacuate the refrigerant in the entire unit to a recovery or recycling machine. 40 CFR 82.34 requires
persons who repair or service motor vehicles in a way that affects refrigerant to be trained and
certified (similar certification requirements exist for those maintaining facility cooling systems). 40
CFR 82.166 requires that documentation and recordkeeping of service records for appliances
containing greater than 50 pounds of regulated refrigerants must be maintained for 3 years. In
addition, equipment used in maintenance and recovery of CFC-containing equipment must be
certified. To avoid problems in this area, ensure all personnel and equipment used on the refrigerant
program at your installation have required certifications.
Permit emission limits exceeded – There are very precise emission limits in most operating permits,
and bases sometimes exceeded those limits. It is important to closely track and monitor actual
emissions, so steps can be taken to cease operations if permit limits are reached.
Incorrect/missing emission calculations – Bases are required to complete a number of emission
calculations, as part of annual fee emission reporting, for permit applications, and as part of permit-
required record keeping and reporting. This finding was fairly evenly split between calculations that
were wrong and those that were just never done. As these calculations can be quite complicated, it‟s
important that they be validated before they‟re submitted to a regulatory agency.

Hazardous Materials:
Storage cabinets are not constructed or maintained to meet OSHA standards – 29 CFR 1910.106 and
AFOSH Standard 91-501 require that storage cabinets for flammable and combustible liquids be
designed and constructed to resist fire, be properly labeled, have a functioning three-point lock, and
have a two-inch sill at the bottom of the cabinet. The most common finding in this protocol was the
large number of storage cabinets found in use that did not meet these requirements because they were
not fireproof (some home-made wooden cabinets have been found in-use), they lacked a sill at the
bottom of the cabinet, and perhaps most common, the three-point lock was not functioning. Verify
that only approved hazmat cabinets are used.
Flammables are stored outside of cabinets within the shop area – Flammables can be outside of
storage cabinets when they‟re in active use. However, in some shops they are routinely stored outside
of a proper flammable storage locker. Verify that shop personnel are aware of requirements regarding
Hazardous material containers are left open and unattended – 29 CFR 1910.106 and AFOSH Standard
91-501 require that flammable liquids be stored in closed containers. If it‟s open because it‟s being
used, that is certainly acceptable. If it‟s not being used and was just left open, that is a violation of
this regulation.
Shop containers are unlabeled – 29 CFR 1910.1200 and AFI 90-821 require that all containers of
hazardous material in the workplace be labeled with the identity of the hazardous material and
appropriate hazard warnings. It is important that working quantities of material be properly labeled to
avoid inadvertent mishandling and potential harm to other workers in the shop.

Hazardous Waste:
Lack of RCRA training and/or documentation of training – This is the most common finding in the
General Hazardous Waste category due to the large number of people affected and the challenges
involved in tracking all of the training requirements.
Contingency plans not up-to-date or not reviewed – 40 CFR 262.34(a)(4), referencing 40 CFR 265.51
and 265.52, requires that large quantity generators develop contingency plans to describe
arrangements made with local police and fire departments, hospitals, contractors, and state and local
Course 029

emergency response teams to coordinate emergency services. This plan is also required to include an
evacuation plan for the facility, including a description of signals for evacuation, evacuation routes,
and alternate evacuation routes if primary routes were blocked. It is not uncommon to find that these
plans are incomplete or not current.
Manifest discrepancies, including no signatures/dates, incomplete data entry – 40 CFR 262.20(a) and
40 CFR 262.23(a) require that hazardous waste manifests accompany off-site shipments of hazardous
wastes. 40 CFR 262.40 requires that waste generators keep a signed copy of each manifest for at least
three years from the date the waste was accepted by the initial transporter. Some bases do not have
complete files of all past manifests for this time period or the manifests themselves are incomplete
Improper handling of soiled rags, fuel filters, paint wastes – 40 CFR 262.11 requires that waste
generators determine whether solid wastes qualify as hazardous wastes. This is frequently
problematic in shops that just generate small quantities of potentially hazardous waste. Without
proper characterization, this waste can end up being inappropriately discarded in the solid waste
stream instead of being disposed of as a RCRA hazardous waste.

At initial accumulation points (IAP):
Containers are left open – 40 CFR 262.34, referencing 40 CFR 265.173, requires that containers of
hazardous waste be closed except to add or remove wastes. Drums of waste have been found open,
which would definitely subject the base to an enforcement action if discovered by a state or federal
Containers improperly marked – 40 CFR 262.34(1)(ii) requires that hazardous waste containers be
labeled with the words “Hazardous Waste” or other words describing the contents. It is important to
verify that all containers are properly labeled.
Container is not at or near point of generation – 40 CFR 262.34 requires that satellite accumulation
points be at or near the point of waste generation and under the control of the operator of the process
generating the waste. This means that a shop located at one end of a large industrial facility can not
use the initial accumulation point in another shop at the opposite end of the building.
55-gallon limit exceeded – 40 CFR 262.34 limits the volume of waste at points of initial waste
accumulation to 55 gallons. When some sites have used more than one drum to collect this material
(perhaps to avoid mixing different waste streams), they have inadvertently exceeded this 55-gallon
limit. To avoid this, it would be best to obtain smaller individual containers to ensure the total
capacity for waste accumulation did not exceed 55 gallons.

At accumulation sites:
Improper labeling of drums – See similar finding under IAP.
Incompatible waste types stored in close proximity to each other – 40 CFR 262.34, referencing 40
CFR 265.177, requires that incompatible wastes be segregated by a dike, berm, or other device. 40
CFR 265, Appendix V identifies some incompatible wastes, including acids and bases. In several
accumulation sites, incompatible wastes were stored together at an accumulation site without the
proper segregation.
Leaking or open drums – See similar finding under IAP.
Deficient inspection logs – 40 CFR 265.174 requires weekly inspections of container storage areas.
Although the USEPA does not require inspection logs be maintained at accumulation sites, many state
regulatory agencies do. Inspections and their associated records or logs are required for permitted
(RCRA Part B) storage facilities. In any case where inspection logs are required to be maintained,
they must be maintained for a minimum of three years.


Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) not submitted on time – These reports must typically be
postmarked by a specified day of each month, and many bases have had difficulties in getting these
reports sent in a timely manner.
Course 029

DMRs improperly signed – These reports must be signed by the principal executive officer of the base
(Wing Commander) or a duly authorized representative (to whom this authority has been designated
in writing). Some bases had the head of the Environmental Flight sign the reports, when he/she had
not been given the designated authority to do so.
Oil/water separator not maintained/inspected – AFI 32-7041 requires OWS be inspected regularly and
maintained to ensure proper operation. Records of OWS inspections could not be found at a number
of bases.
Unpermitted discharge – NPDES permit requires Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3)
include best management practices to prevent HAZMATs from contacting storm water. At some
bases, heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) unit coils were cleaned outdoors using
phosphoric and hydrofluoric acids then rinsed onto ground, flowing into nearby storm drains.
Failure to obtain NPDES construction permit – 40 CFR 122.26(e)(8) requires construction activities
greater than one acre obtain NPDES permit. Several bases had construction projects that exceeded
one acre in size, but they had not obtained NPDES permit authorization for discharges of storm water
from the construction areas.

Water Quality:

No record of plumbing device survey – AFI 32-1066 requires facility survey of plumbing devices and
systems every five years and update of records. At multiple bases, the backflow program manager did
not have any documentation showing that the five-year facility survey on plumbing devices and all
water-using equipment was conducted.
Unprotected cross-connections – AFI 32-1066 and many state codes prohibit cross-connections within
public water system unless the system is protected by approved device or method. Several backflow
prevention devices failed inspections/testing and had not been repaired or replaced. The cross-
connections were consequently unprotected.
Inadequate consumer confidence reports (CCRs) – 40 CFR 141.155 requires community water
systems to make a good faith effort (utilizing a mix of delivery methods such as the local newspaper)
to deliver CCRs to consumers who do not get water bills (i.e., renters or workers). Some bases have
had a challenge in meeting this requirement. One base published an abbreviated CCR in the base
newspaper, but the published version did not provide all the required information for a CCR.
No record of disinfection - AFI 48-144 and many state codes require that any part or component of a
public water system that has undergone construction or modification be flushed, disinfected, and
sampled. Some bases have no documentation to demonstrate that disinfection is conducted when base
water distribution systems are repaired.

The U.S. Air Force has been conducting environmental compliance audits since the 1980s. The scope
of these audits has changed over time, to include most recently the addition of safety and occupational
health. From the beginning however, the basic methodology has remained largely unchanged. The
audits have relied on checklists for each protocol and a large pool of volunteers.

As a new ESOHCAMP auditor, one of your greatest challenges is learning to correctly identify a
finding and then to clearly and concisely document it. The two most common ways to discover
findings are: 1) use the protocol checklist and uncover an instance of noncompliance through
interviews and document reviews, or 2) observe something while reviewing a site‟s activities or
operations that doesn‟t look quite right and doing further investigation to determine if a finding exists.
The second means of discovering findings is certainly the most challenging, but by using the tools
available to guide you through the TEAM Guides, it is certainly a reasonable challenge if you‟re
willing to invest a little time and effort. By carefully researching your findings to ensure there is a
solid discrepancy or conflict identified, and then documenting the findings properly, you can ensure
that your findings will contribute to enhanced environmental compliance for the Air Force.
Course 029

Some common findings for air, hazardous materials, hazardous waste, and water have been included
in this paper to assist new ESOHCAMP auditors in identifying areas in which they are most likely to
discover findings. Steps can then be taken to correct these findings so the Air Force can continue to
strive towards a goal of zero notices of violation.

1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Environmental Audit Program Design Guidelines for
Federal Agencies, Spring 1997, EPA 300-B-96-001.

2. EO 12088, Federal Compliance with Pollution Control Standards.

3. Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 70, Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction
and Prevention of Violations, 11 Apr 00.

4. Department of Defense. DOD Instruction 4715.6, Environmental Compliance, 24 April 1996.

5. U.S. Air Force. AFI 32-7045, Environmental Compliance Assessment and Management Program
(ECAMP), 1 July 1998.

6. Whallon, Art. U.S. Air Force Briefing, “ESOHCAMP Overview and Trends – March 2003 -
January 2005,” AFCEE/TDE

The opinions and conclusions in this paper are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those
of the United States Air Force, or the Federal Government.

Connie Strobbe
DSN 785-5654, ext. 3535
Commercial: (937) 255-5654, ext 3535

To top