Many small business owners find the process of wading through the various rules and regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be a time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming process. Yet as a small business owner it is crucial that you comply with the EPA’s mandates.
Fortunately, there are now numerous services and resources in place to provide ongoing assistance to small businesses, including various EPA-sponsored Compliance Assistance Centers (for various industries), as well as Compliance Advisory Panels.
Compliance Assistance Centers
The government has set up different Compliance Assistance Centers to aid small business owners in understanding and complying with the regulations that pertain to their specific industry. These EPA-sponsored centers supply information through Internet sites, e-mail discussion groups, telephone assistance lines, and fax-back systems.
The Compliance Assistance Centers are sector-specific and address many kinds of businesses, including the following: agriculture, automotive service and repair, chemical manufacturing, healthcare, metal finishing, paint and coating manufacturing, printed wiring board (PWB) manufacturing, printing, transportation, construction, automobile recycling, and border compliance.
The center will provide detailed requirements, often in clear and simple language, for each regulation. Through the center you will find checklists, sector-specific regulations, technical information, as well as hot lines and other important contact information.
If you have any questions regarding how a certain regulation pertains to your business, or do not understand the regulations provided, the next step would be to call the hot line and/or contact the e-mail address provided.
To find links for your specific sector, visit the Compliance Assistance Centers page, accessible through the EPA’s Web site.
National Compliance Advisory Panel
Often acting as an advocacy group for small business, the National Compliance Advisory Panel (NCAP) is an additional resource that can help you with the EPA compliance process. NCAP aims to foster small business success by helping companies improve their environmental performance and to be in full compliance with EPA standards.
NCAP is broken down into smaller Compliance Advisory Panels (CAPs) that work to facilitate communication among business, state programs, the Small Business Ombudsman (SBO), tge Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) Steering Committee, and the EPA.
In addition to understanding and implementing the EPA’s requirements, it is important to determine when and how your business will be inspected. Understanding what kind of inspections you will receive, as well as who to contact if there is a concern, will aid your business in creating a realistic time frame for compliance.
Finally, continue to make use of the compliance assistance resources made available by the government; they will help you not only with compliance but will aid you in staying there by keeping you up-to-date regarding additions and/or changes to the EPA regulations.