December 30, 2016
EPA’s New Risk Management Program regulations Implications for LEPCs, Emergency Planners and Emergency Responders
This new regulation was submitted for publication in the Federal Register on December 21, 2016 and will become effective 60 days after it is approved for publication. The regulation contains numerous provisions which impact reporting of hazardous waste incidents. It is not the purpose of this guidance to review all those changes. Instead, it will focus on the Accident Prevention Program Revisions, Emergency Response, and Information Sharing requirements. The regulatory sections of concerns at §§68.67 - 68.175.
Under the new regulations, it is not the responsibility of LEPCs or local emergency planners/responders to find these facilities. Instead, those facilities will be coming to you and they will have expectations of the actions you will take under the new regulations.
The discussion below points out some of the key provisions with implications for LEPCs and local planners/responders. Not all of the requirements are mentioned. Where deemed useful the provision is quoted. In cases where the provision is quite long it is paraphrased. Readers are referred to the actual text of the regulation for additional information.
The new requirements include the following:
Accident Prevention Program Revisions
Root Cause Investigations - §68.60 & §68.81:
The rule requires all facilities with Program 2 or 3 processes to conduct a root cause analysis as part of an incident investigation of a catastrophic release or an incident that could have reasonably resulted in catastrophic release (i.e., a near-miss).
The rule does not require facilities to share these root cause investigations with LEPCs and first responders. However, local emergency planners may still obtain the complete incident investigation report from the facility through direct contact with the facility.
The rule gives facilities the right to decide whether an event is a near-miss or not.
Third Party Compliance Audits - §68.80:
Regulated facilities with Program 2 or 3 processes must contract with an independent third-party, or assemble an audit team led by an independent third-party, to perform a compliance audit after the facility has an RMP reportable accident.
The rule allows third party-auditors to come from a variety of technical backgrounds. A third-party auditor can meet the requirements to be trained or certified in proper auditing techniques by completing courses in environmental or safety auditing, obtaining certifications from recognized professional bodies, or having prior process safety auditing experience.
Safer Technology and Alternatives Analysis - §68.67 & 68.175:
The rule adds an element to the process hazard analysis (PHA), which is updated every five years. Specifically, owners or operators of facilities with Program 3 regulated processes in North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes 322 (paper manufacturing), 324 (petroleum and coal products manufacturing), and 325 (chemical manufacturing) are required to conduct a safer technology and alternatives analysis (STAA) as part of their PHA, and to evaluate the practicability of any inherently safer technology (IST) identified.
Note that this part of the rule only covers Program 3 facilities.
Emergency Response Preparedness - §68.90, §68.93 & §68.96
Facilities are required to coordinate an emergency response program with local responders.
– Owners or operators of all facilities with Program 2 or 3 processes are required to coordinate with the local emergency response agencies at least once a year to determine how the source is addressed in the community emergency response plan and to ensure that local response organizations are aware of the regulated substances at the source, their quantities, the risks presented by covered processes, and the resources and capabilities at the facility to respond to an accidental release of a regulated substance.
The rule also requires facilities to conduct exercises.
§68.96(a) – All facilities with Program 2 or 3 processes are required to conduct notification exercises annually to ensure that their emergency contact information is accurate and complete.
The next part of the rule divides facilities into two types – "responding" and "non-responding." This distinction is significant because responding facilities must meet certain requirements that non-responding facilities are not required to meet. Most importantly, this provision gives great power to the LEPCs. LEPCs are tasked with helping facilities figure out how often to conduct exercises required under the rule.
§68.96(b) – Responding facilities are required to conduct field exercises and tabletop exercises. The frequency of these exercises shall be established in consultation with local emergency response officials, but at a minimum:
• Full field exercises will be conducted at least once every ten years and
• Tabletop exercises will be conducted at least once every three years
Responding facilities that have an RMP reportable accident, and document the response activities in an after-action report comparable to the exercise evaluation reports may use that response to satisfy the field exercise requirements.
Furthermore, owners and operators of responding facilities that conduct exercises to meet other Federal, state or local exercise requirements may satisfy the RMP exercise requirements provided that the scope of the exercise includes the objectives of an RMP exercise.
Emergency Response Program - §68.95
The rule requires all facilities to provide certain basic information to the public, upon request:
• Regulated substances information. Names of regulated substances held in process;
• Safety data sheets (SDS). SDSs for all regulated substances located at the facility;
• Accident history information. Provide the five-year accident history information required to be reported under §68.42;
• Emergency response program. The following summary information concerning the stationary source’s compliance with §68.10(f)(3) or the emergency response provisions of subpart E:
o Whether the stationary source is a responding stationary source or a non-responding stationary source;
o Name and phone number of local emergency response organizations with which the owner or operator last coordinated emergency response efforts, pursuant to §68.180; and
o For stationary sources subject to §68.95, procedures for informing the public and local emergency response agencies about accidental releases;
• Exercises. A list of scheduled exercises required under §68.96; and
• LEPC contact information. Include LEPC name, phone number, and web address as available.
The owner or operator of the facility shall provide ongoing notification of availability of information elements on a company website, social media platforms, or through some other publicly accessible means that:
• The information specified above is available
o Specify the information elements can be requested; and
o Provide instructions for how to request the information (e.g. email, mailing address, and/or telephone or website request);
The rule also requires all facilities to hold a public meeting for the local community within 90 days of an RMP reportable accident.
To be clear, these regulations have the potential to provide new and useful information to LEPCs, emergency planners and responders. LEPCs should continue to practice their normal approach to gaining information and cooperation from facilities by simply asking, inviting facilities to meetings to discuss emergency preparedness plans, etc. Keep in mind that these requirements are new to the facilities as well and they will probably be very interested in the advice and involvement of LEPCs and first responders.
DOT Releases New Emergency Response Guidebook
PHMSA's 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook provides first responders with a go-to manual to help deal with hazmat transportation accidents during the critical first 30 minutes.
DOT's goal is to place an ERG in every public emergency service vehicle nationwide. To date, nearly 14.5 million free copies have been distributed to the emergency response community through state emergency management coordinators. Members of the public may purchase a copy of the ERG through the GPO Bookstore and other commercial suppliers. First Responders please contact Henry Jolly at 505-476-0617 for your copies.
First responders, we want your feedback! Submit your name, organization, contact information, and comments to ERGComments@dot.gov.