SPCC Compliance Update – Integrity Testing of Aboveground Storage Tanks Reply

In accordance with the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Oil Spill Prevention regulations found at 40 CFR 112.8(c) owners and operators subject to the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule are required to test or inspect each aboveground container for integrity on a regular schedule. Examples of these integrity tests include, but are not limited to: visual inspection, hydrostatic testing, radiographic testing, ultrasonic testing, acoustic emissions testing, or other systems of non-destructive testing.

The type of inspection to be performed is generally determined by the registered Professional Engineer certifying the SPCC Plan. Many SPCC plans reference the Steel Tank Institute Standard for Inspection of Aboveground Storage Tanks (SP001) as the accepted industry standard that the tanks will be inspected against. SP001 stipulates the recommended inspection frequency for various tank configurations.

While SP001 allows qualified facility personnel to perform the inspections and this is appropriate for monthly visual checks of the tank integrity, CAPACCIO recommends that tanks be inspected by a certified STI inspector at least once per year. A certified STI inspector will often uncover issues of non-compliance that are missed by facility personnel.

If you need assistance with AST integrity testing or SPCC compliance, or have general questions, please contact Jeff Briggs, certified STI inspector, at jbriggs@capaccio.com or 508-970-0033 ext.  120.

Reminder – Source Registration Deadlines Approaching Reply

Just a reminder that deadlines for air source registration filing are fast approaching. Prevent last minute scrambling and begin to assemble your air permits and approvals, fuel usage data, and hours of operation for fuel combustion equipment.

Each owner/operator of a facility required to file this year should have been informed of their filing schedule via a letter from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). If you did not receive a letter, the MassDEP has posted a list of filers with their due dates which can be found at the link below:

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/service/online/filing-schedules-and-deadlines.html

The due dates for this year are listed below.

  • April 15 – Operating Permit facilities due
  • May 16 – Non-OP annual filers due
  • June 1 – Deadline for a portion of the facilities filing every 3 years (see List of All Facilities for facility-specific deadlines)
  • July 15 – Deadline for a portion of facilities filing every 3 years (see List of All Facilities for facility-specific deadlines)

NOTE:  If you were an Operating Permit facility during any portion of 2015, you will need to file a 2015 Source Registration, even if your classification changed or the facility closed.

EXCEPTIONS: Please note that some air permits require the facility to file annually.  If this is the case, then your facility is required to file by May 16, regardless of what the MassDEP list states.

Based on your current level of record keeping and available data, a peer review of your filing, or assistance with the MassDEP online filing system (eDEP) may be all you need. If interested, we would be happy to discuss where you are in the process and what is needed to ensure your deadlines are met.  For more information, please contact Linda Swift at 508-970-0033 ext. 119 or lswift@capaccio.com.

 

 

Handling Extremely Hazardous Chemicals – A Discussion of the General Duty Clause Reply

In the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Congress enacted Section 112(r)(1), also known as the General Duty Clause (GDC), which makes the owners and operators of facilities that use listed or other extremely hazardous substances responsible for ensuring that their chemicals are managed safely. The General Duty Clause applies to any facility producing, processing, handling, or storing extremely hazardous substances (i.e., any chemicals listed in 40 CFR Part 68, or any other chemicals which may be considered extremely hazardous).

Although the GDC appears in the Chemical Accident Prevention Program (aka Risk Management Plan (RMP)) regulations, it does not compel subject facilities to prepare and implement an RMP. Instead, facilities subject to the GDC (i.e.  any facility with extremely hazardous substances) are required to:

  • Identify and understand the hazards associated with the extremely hazardous substances used (hazard assessment)
  • Design and maintain a safe facility (prevention program)
  • Minimize the consequences of accidental releases that do occur (emergency response program)

Without specific regulatory requirements to follow, many facilities find it difficult to know if they have satisfied their obligations under the GDC. To demonstrate due diligence we recommend  the following:

  • Conduct a hazard analysis / review using experience, analytical methods such as HAZOP, or creative methods such as what-if brainstorming
  • Identify the consequences of the release identified in the hazard analysis / review
  • Adopt best industry practices, codes or consensus standards
  • Understand the unique site situations that may require specific accident prevention techniques
  • Apply lessons learned from accidents and incidents in similar operations
  • Develop an emergency response plan
  • Develop standard operating procedures, training programs, management of change procedures, an incident investigation program, self-audits involving a third party, and a preventative maintenance program
  • Identify at-risk receptors in the event of a maximum possible release and alternative release scenarios identified in the hazard analysis/review
  • Coordinate interaction needed between facility management, employees, and local response agencies

If you have questions on the GDC or the RMP program, consider attending our free webinar on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Please register  on our website at http://www.capaccio.com.

For more information on this topic, you may also contact Christine Silverman at 508.970.0033 ext. 127  or csilverman@capaccio.com.

Paris climate agreement – Historic COP21 Reply

On Saturday night, December 12, 2015, an air of optimism surrounded the topic of climate change after 190 countries unanimously agreed on a unified effort to strategically address this challenge, forming the Paris climate agreement. This United Nations event, COP21, was attended by over 40,000 participants at the host location in Paris. Over 3,000 journalists reporting on the event ensured that the content and messages from COP21 were heard around the globe.

Receiving a unanimous agreement of a global warming temperature limit was the broader, long-term goal. Remarkably, what began as a 2 degree Celsius consensus global warming temperature limit, progressed to a 1.5 degree Celsius consensus limit. This ambitious goal is attainable, but emphasizes the need to implement significant efforts immediately.

The Paris climate agreement is just that, an agreement, and not a legally binding treaty. While this limits enforcement of the content, it allowed the process to be expedited, and not held up in legislation, as it would have been in the United States if presented as a treaty. An accountability system to review country progress every five years will be the alternative form of enforcement.

This agreement is unique in that it encompasses both developing and developed countries, holding them all to emissions reductions targets. Angst did surround the potential roadblocks that the role of developing countries could have posed at the event. One such concern being the cooperation of China and India, as both countries have significant development goals and outlooks. It was noted that the Obama administration played an important role in reaching out to these countries to shift their outlooks. An extra incentive for China was its realization of the opportunity that lies in the manufacture and production of renewables and energy efficient goods.

To support success of the event, despite the challenges mentioned, four pillars were established to guide the negotiations, including,

  1. Climate action plans or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) were required from each country prior to COP21,
  2. A strategy for financing the transition to disrupting the global carbon addiction would be developed,
  3. Engagement of civil society including cities, regions, farmers, energy providers, and energy users must be considered as vital to implementation; and
  4. Outreach to engage the creative community to deliver the positive message that this change is possible must be encouraged.

The agreement is not perfect, and certain timelines and specifics have yet to be sorted. Viewpoints from the scientific community span from full support to harsh critique, some calling the effort ‘too little too late’. However, with creative solutions and innovation as drivers of the movement, as opposed to pessimistic outlooks, the Paris climate agreement has succeeded in establishing worldwide awareness and action on the issue.

Greenhouse gas accountability is the focus in all participating countries, the U.S. being one of those key participants. As a result, tracking and reporting on this topic is very likely to increase in both the private and public sectors. Whether you are required to comply with annual greenhouse gas reporting, attempting to complete a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) questionnaire, or would like to be proactive and take steps to evaluate and enhance your company’s sustainability program, we are here to help you on this journey by offering all of these services, and more. For more information, please contact Cristina Mendoza at 508-970-0033 ext.128 or cmendoza@capaccio.com.