Is your Risk Management Plan ready for an EPA inspection? Reply

The EPA has announced that it will be conducting inspections of all facilities regulated under the Risk Management Program (40 CFR 68) over the next ten years. The inspections will be tiered, with facilities that have reported accidents and those that use high risk chemicals (such as chlorine and ammonia) among the first to be inspected.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Emergency Response Commission, recently held two workshops on the Risk Management Program regulated under 40 CFR 68. This regulation requires owners and operators of facilities that manufacture, use, store, or otherwise handle more than a threshold quantity of a listed regulated substance in a process, to implement a Risk Management Program and submit a Risk Management Plan (RMP) to the EPA.

Of particular note, it was announced at the workshops that the EPA would be conducting inspections of all facilities subject to 40 CFR 68 over the next ten years. The criteria for selecting the order in which facilities will be inspected will be based on the following factors:

• Previous accident history of the facility
• Accident history for other facilities in the same industry
• Quantity of RMP-regulated substance onsite
• Proximity to public and environmental receptors
• Presence of specified regulated substances (e.g., chlorine, ammonia)
• Hazards identified in the RMP or
• A neutral, random oversight scheme.

The purpose of the inspections is to ensure that facilities are continuing to implement their Risk Management Program as required and that their RMP is correctly updated to account for changes in facility management and the covered process. As a result of the inspection, a facility may be required to revise its RMP and correct deficiencies in its underlying Risk Management Program.

Are you prepared?

The Risk Management Program requires facilities to conduct audits of their programs once every three years and to submit an update of their RMP to the EPA once every five years. The results of the audit are to be documented in a findings report which must list any items requiring updates or corrections. The facility is required to provide documentation that each of the items identified in the audit report were appropriately addressed or corrected. Facilities are required to maintain copies of the two most recent audit reports for EPA review during an inspection. Risk Management Program elements that are often cited as missing, poorly documented, or deficient in inspections include:

• Operating Procedures
• Employee Training
• Incident Investigation
• Process Hazards Analysis
• Management of Change
• Pre-Startup Review

To prepare for an EPA inspection, facilities should make sure that they have completed their three audits as required and that all items identified in the audit reports have been appropriately addressed. Facilities should also make sure that any applicable program elements, such as those listed above, are reviewed and updated as required.

If you have any questions regarding the Risk Management Plan regulation, or would like additional information on how to prepare for an inspection, contact Lynn Sheridan at 508.970.0033 x122 or lsheridan@capaccio.com.

MassDEP to Finalize UST Operator Training Requirements Regulations 310 CMR 80.00 Reply

Federal regulations for owners and operators of Underground Storage Tanks (UST’s) require that facilities must have certified operators for their UST systems by August 8th, 2012.  To satisfy the federal regulation, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has developed an emergency regulation, 310 CMR 80.00 Operator Training, which outlines the requirements of owner and operators of UST’s and the MassDEP requirements. 

Facilities will be allowed to train operators internally to meet the training requirements and will also be required to have a Class A, B, and C Operator on staff at the facility.  In addition to the internal training, Class A and B Operators will be required to pass an exam administered by the MassDEP and pay the associated registration fees.  It is important to note that one person may serve as the Class A, B and C Operator for a facility, but certification must be obtained by the August 2012 deadline.  

For more information regarding this emergency regulation, the public comment period, or the requirements for each class of operator please see the links below or contact Josh Fawson at 508.970.0033 x120 or jfawson@capaccio.com..

Proposed Regulation 310 CMR 80.00

http://www.mass.gov/dep/toxics/laws/ustotreg.doc

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Reporting Deadline Approaching Reply

The Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule (40 CFR Part 98) requires reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) data and other relevant information from large emission sources across a range of industry sectors, and from suppliers of materials whose products emit GHGs if released or combusted. In general, if your facility emits 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHGs, you may be required to submit annual reports to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

If you have determined your facility is required to report calendar year 2010 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the EPA, then you should make note of the following dates: 

  • August 1, 2011: Certificate of representation must submitted to the EPA for the facility’s designated representative (i.e., 60 days before the deadline for report submission)
  • August 1, 2011: Reporters must be registered to use EPA’s electronic greenhouse gas reporting tool (e-GGRT)
  • September 30, 2011: GHG reports must be entered on e-GRRT and submitted to EPA

If you have any questions about whether your facility is required to report or need assistance with compiling or reporting your data, please contact Lynn Sheridan at 508.970.0033 x122 or lsheridan@capaccio.com.

 

New ISO Handbook/CD Package Unveils ISO 14001 for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises 2

As more companies begin to track environmental issues through the supply chain, there is a growing need to address environmental management at small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  The automotive industry required its supply chain to certify to ISO 14001, however, other industries are not quick to follow suit even though ISO 14001 certification now stands at nearly 250,000 companies in 2009 – an increase of 18% over the previous year. 

ISO has issued a handbook and CD designed in the form of a checklist to guide the SME in asking and answering a series of questions regarding the environmental activities of their organization.  The checklist is in 16 parts.  Each part covers a particular ISO 14001 requirement and begins with an explanation of the requirement as well as guidance on how to incorporate this guidance into an EMS that meets the needs of the organization and, perhaps, its customer.  The CD provides the convenience of electronic navigation through the requirements and enables responses to each question to be saved and then printed in pdf format.  This could provide evidence to the customer that there has been progress in implementing an EMS.

It is well known that companies have improved their operations and reduced the impact of their activities, processes, products, and services on the environment by using a systematic approach that seeks continual improvement. The benefits of addressing environmental issues, however,  not only cover protection of the environment, but are also linked to business performance and profitability while improving the company’s image, enhancing access to export markets, providing a common reference for communicating environmental issues with customers, regulators, the public and a host of other stakeholders.  So, what’s not to like!

SMEs are afraid of the cost associated with implementing an ISO 14001 program.  Even while there is an eventual payback associated with the efforts, there will be a considerable amount of up-front money.  They know that they will have to purchase the standard and make a lot of changes in how they operate.  Believing that one has to be certified in order to get credit for using ISO 14001 keeps many companies from considering this important standard.  They only need to certify if a customer requires certification.  Using a checklist could be of value even if the ultimate aim is not third-party certification of the standard.  To order this checklist, you can go to the ISO website:  http://www.iso.org/iso/publications_and_e-products/checklists.htm#PUB100268 

 Some companies are taking a more direct approach with the SMEs in their supply chain.  A consulting firm is hired to perform a gap assessment at each facility in the first tier.  The suppliers will realize that they are already doing many of the things that are required for an ISO 14001-conforming EMS.  It might be easier for them to use the recommendations for improvement to assemble a sound EMS.  In time, the SME will have a viable EMS in place.  At that time, they can decide to use ISO 14001 to check their own system for conformance.  The customer can have a “second party audit” performed to help the SME further improve its program.  All of this can be accomplished without ever seeking third party certification. 

There are a number of internet resources available to SMEs when their customer does not get directly involved as described above.  No matter what the motivation, SMEs can gain some significant recognition from their customers by paying attention to their EMS.