You may not be in a Hatfields vs. McCoys situation now, but finding unexpected illegal dumping of hazardous waste on your premises could escalate into one.
Many a company that was minding their own business has found hazardous waste being dumped on their property. They have found it in their dumpsters, their yards and even their parking lots. After talking to the neighboring businesses to find out who may have done this…surprise, surprise no one saw anything!
They are obviously not going to admit they just dumped a few tons of waste on your doorstep. With no proof to indicate who dumped the waste on you, guess what…you are probably responsible for cleaning up the mess, which could end up costing you thousands of dollars.
In many cases, it’s not an issue of feuding with your neighbors that causes them to dump waste on your doorstep. Usually, it’s just a simple lack of knowledge of the law. Many business owners just don’t know that:
1. Their waste is actually classified as hazardous.
2. They need to dispose of the waste properly.
We have seen companies that were relocating or just moving down the street end up with piles of waste on their doorstep, because the neighbors thought they were leaving for good.
There are several things you can do to minimize the likelihood that this will ever happen to you. Here are a few items to look at immediately:
Seems like a no brainer, but securing your storage yard will deter people from trying to dump items on you. Put locks on dumpsters, fences and gates. Make it difficult for anyone to even think of breaking in to dump anything.
This is a big one! Installing 24-hour security cameras that will record round the clock is probably the single biggest prevention measure you can make. You will have all the evidence you need to prove the waste is not yours and was dumped by other people.
Keeping accurate records of what waste streams you have on hand at given moment will go a long way in proving the new waste is not yours. If the DTSC inspects your hazardous waste weekly checklists and sees that you have been keeping accurate records for some time, then they may not fine you and ask you to pay for the cleanup. However, sloppy record keeping will most likely leave you without a leg to stand on.
I know what you are saying, “I can’t afford a full-time security guard just for this purpose.” Then have several of your employees trained to act like them. Having to pay for a cleanup that you are not responsible for is a lot worse than getting a few employees to buy into the concept of protecting your workplace from illegal dumping.
We all know the potential that former employees have for getting back at you. Putting the previous suggestions into place will alleviate any problems a disgruntled employee may employ. If you have followed the correct procedures for terminating an employee effectively, then you should typically not see any repercussions from them.
The likelihood that one of your neighbors will take such a drastic measure and dump their waste on you is probably slim. BUT, we have seen instances where this very scenario has happened.
Thankfully, the waste streams were audited, the security cameras caught them in the act, and there were some witnesses to the incident. The perpetrators were caught and assessed the cleanup bill which was over $100,000. Without the proper precautions that this company had put in place, imagine them having to pay over $100,000 for something they had nothing to do with!