A federal oversight inspection evaluates the quality of the state inspection/evaluation program and the state inspector training program by reviewing and evaluating the findings of state inspections and evaluations. Oversight inspections identify strengths and weaknesses of state programs and develop mutually agreed upon commitments by the states and EPA to correct problems. When regions conduct oversight inspections, they should follow these guidelines:
• Generally only experienced EPA personnel should be used to conduct oversight inspections.
• The overall goal of oversight is to improve the state (and regional) compliance and enforcement program.
• Oversight should be tailored to fit state performance/capability, once it has been documented.
• EPA should observe procedures the state inspector follows or does not follow (e.g., credentials, purpose of inspection, entry conference, interview, field observations, record reviews, CBI procedures, exit interview, etc.).
• The EPA inspector should observe to determine whether the state inspector:
1. Follows state inspection and monitoring procedures
2. Detects potential violations, especially SNCs, and gathers evidence to support violations
3. Has adequate training and guidance
4. Has adequate safety equipment and field equipment
5. Has informed the facility of the subject regulations
EPA should coach/inform the state inspector of potential concerns observed or discovered through questioning the state inspector after any initial action taken by the state inspector, and report findings and observations to regional managers by preparing a separate oversight inspection report for each oversight inspection so that any issues observed can be addressed in discussions with state managers and/or during the SRF review process. Regions can utilize the procedures described in more detail in the RCRA State Oversight Inspection Guide, dated December, 1987 for conducting oversight inspections and for preparing inspection reports: http://www.epa.gov/Compliance/resources/policies/civil/rcra/rcrastosinspgu-rpt.pdf.
EPA oversight of state performance should be consistent with the following principles.
a. Both positive and negative findings should be identified.
b. EPA should provide technical assistance and training when needed
c. EPA action to correct problems should vary, depending on the nature and impact of the problem and if it reflects a single or multiple incidents
d. The States should be given an opportunity to formally comment on EPA's
performance relating to commitments made by EPA to the state, e.g., provide
training, assist with sampling, provide equipment, etc.
e. Regions should provide all information to the states that is available on their
f. The Region should report to the state on the Region's performance on
commitments to that state.
g. EPA should give states sufficient opportunity to correct identified problems
h. EPA should use oversight inspections as a means of transferring successful
regional and state approaches from one state to another.
i. Where state performance fails to conduct quality inspections or evaluations, EPA
may: (a) suggest changes in state procedures; (b) suggest changes in the state use of
resources or training of staff; (c) provide technical assistance; and/or (d) increase
the number of oversight inspections and/or require submittal of information on
The regions should also refer to the August 25, 1986 Memorandum Revised Policy Framework for State/EPA Enforcement Agreements for more information regarding procedures for conducting oversight.
ICIS Data Entry
There is a step by step process for entering oversight inspections. It can be done in either the ICIS FC&E or ICIS-NPDES compliance monitoring module:
- Enter the facility name
- Enter the statute
- Enter the statute section
- Under the Compliance Monitoring Category data field, select "Alternative inspections/monitoring" (this is one of three pull down choices)
- enter your region
- On the next ICIS screen (Compliance Information) find the data field titled "Compliance Monitoring Type". One of the pull down options for this will be "Oversight"
- Select "Oversight".
- Complete the rest of the Compliance Information Screen and save the inspection.