A compliance inspection is a more routine activity which can assess facility compliance broadly. More emphasis on on-site facility review activities. An inspection is an examination into the environmental affairs of a single regulated facility. The principle purpose is to assess the performance of the facility to see whether it is in compliance with applicable environmental requirements. Findings from the inspection form the basis for a variety of actions the Agency might take to bring a non-complying facility into compliance.
An investigation is a more complex assessment of a facility's compliance status than a compliance inspection defined through specific media guidance. Inspections typically assess facility compliance broadly. Investigations, on the other hand, generally focus on certain aspects of a facility's operations or on a predetermined set of compliance concerns, and do so in substantially more depth than an inspection. Investigations involve considerably more time (more than 1 day) and resources to complete. Typically, an investigation is initiated in one of two ways: 1) based on information discovered during an inspection, or 2) as the result of an overall industry sector or specific regulatory or statutory area.