Oil Storage and EPA Penalties – Don’t be next! Reply

On July 8, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a “tweet” with the headline, “Companies in Vermont and Massachusetts face sanctions for failing to prevent oil spills.” It looks like the EPA has moved to social media for its regulatory updates (and warnings)! The sanctions were related to violations under Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations Part 112 (40 CFR 112) “Oil Pollution Prevention” which requires companies that store more than 1,320 gallons of oil in aboveground containers to prepare and maintain a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan. The purpose of preparing and maintaining an SPCC plan is to prevent and contain spills in order to minimize environmental damage when spills do occur. In addition, companies, through their SPCC plans, must ensure that they can adequately respond to a spill by having adequate employee training and spill response equipment.

The two New England based companies mentioned were issued significant penalties (i.e., in excess of $100K) for failing to take the required precautions to prevent and contain oil spills from their facility activities. Similar penalties are frequently issued by the EPA for a regulatory program with requirements that are relatively easy to meet. Why? Most of the time the companies that get fined don’t know about the regulation and therefore they don’t have an SPCC plan in place. In addition to paying a penalty, companies are required to come into compliance by preparing an SPCC Plan under a consent order. Don’t be the next source of EPA revenue! If you don’t have an SPCC plan, conduct an inventory of oil storage at your facility to determine if you exceed the 1,320 gallon threshold and be sure to include all animal, vegetable, mineral and synthetic oils.

If you want more information, please contact Wayne Bates at 508.970.0033 x121 or wbates@capaccio.com or check out the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm)

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.

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.

 

EPA Extends GHG Reporting Deadline Reply

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the deadline for 2010 greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting to September 30, 2011. The original deadline was March 31, 2011.

Entities who are required to submit data by the new deadline must register online to become a user of the EPA’s electronic greenhouse gas reporting tool (e-GGRT). Registration must be done no later than August 1, 2011. It is also noted that a certificate of representation must submitted to the EPA for the facility’s designated representative by the same date (i.e., 60 days before the deadline for report submission).

The Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule (40 CFR Part 98) requires reporting of 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, facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHGs may be required to submit annual reports 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 ext. 122 or lsheridan@capaccio.com.