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.

Does Impaired Waters Monitoring Apply To You? Reply

Discharging to impaired waters can require a higher level of responsibility from the discharging site, and these responsibilities must be fulfilled to remain in compliance. Follow the flowchart below to see if impaired waters monitoring applies to you.

Before using this flowchart, confirm that your facility satisfies the following criteria:

  1. Prepared a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) per the 2015 MSGP.
  2. Submitted a Notice of Intent (NOI) and received word of acceptance from the EPA.

 

stormwater flowchart

1Determine if your facility discharges to impaired waters using EPA’s ‘How’s My Waterway’ Tool http://watersgeo.epa.gov/mywaterway/

2 Existence of EPA Approved or Established TMDLs can be determined using the ‘How’s My Waterway’ tool.

3 In some cases, monitoring is required when TMDLs exist; however, EPA will notify dischargers of any monitoring requirements.

4 Determine if an EPA Approved analytical method exists by consulting EPA guidance at http://www3.epa.gov/region1/npdes/stormwater/assets/pdfs/MSGP2008Part624ParametersMA.pdf

CAPACCIO has also posted a You Tube video, which walks you through this process. The recording is posted at:   https://youtu.be/uoD4tnJFMNs

For more information or assistance with your impaired waters monitoring, please contact Cristina Mendoza at 508) 970-0033 x128 or cmendoza@capaccio.com.

 

REMINDER–Deadline for EPCRA 312 Tier II Report is March 1 Reply

Facilities that store chemicals above the threshold planning quantities are required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) to report those chemicals on a Tier II report to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). The report is due annually on March 1 and the deadline is fast approaching. CAPACCIO can assist your company in completing the entire report or we can simply conduct a peer review of work completed by your staff.

Guidance regarding the data required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for Tier II reporting is located at this link:

http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/emergency-info/haz-mat/serc/

The EPA software is available at this link:

http://www2.epa.gov/epcra/tier2-submit-software

Visit http://www.capaccio.com and see our blog posted on December 21 for more
in-depth information on Tier II reporting.

For assistance or peer review of your Tier II report, please contact Bill Potochniak, PE, Practice Area Leader for Healthcare and Education, at 508-970-0033 ext. 134 or wpotochniak@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.