MassDEP News – Important Time Sensitive Notice/TUR Regulations Reply

Dear Facility Manager or Toxics Use Reduction Planner:

I am writing to remind you that 2012 is a planning year under the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) and that facilities covered by TURA are required to complete their TURA plan (or in some cases an Environmental Management System or Resource Conservation plan) for this planning cycle by July 1, 2012

Employee Notification
Please note the TUR regulations1 require that notice to employees regarding the upcoming planning process must be completed by January 1, 2012.  If a facility is unsure of which type of plan it will develop, it should notify its employees that the facility will be developing either a Toxics Use Reduction (TUR), Resource Conservation (RC) or Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Plan.

For further information:  http://www.mass.gov/dep/toxics/tura/planning.htm .  Because there have been no changes to the planning requirements, the guidance on the web is still valid.  However an updated version containing minor changes to the reporting form will be posted in the coming months.

[1] [310 CMR 50.42(5) and 310 CMR 50.92(6), respectively]

Paul Walsh
MassDEP, BWP, Business Reporting and Fiscal Operations
One Winter Street
Boston Ma 02108
Office 617-556-1011

 

 

TUR Planning – Notification due January 1st! Reply

If your facility is required to do a Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) Plan under 310 CMR 50.00, you will need to send out notification to your employees that this is a TUR planning year and solicit ideas for reducing the use and byproduct of the reportable chemicals your facility triggers for.  This notification must be made by January 1, 2012!

There are three options for TUR Plan format: A conventional TUR Plan, a Resource Conservation Plan, or an Environmental Management System (EMS).

The notification for a conventional TUR Plan must:

  • Include requirements of the plan
  • Identify the toxics and production units for which a plan will be submitted
  • Provide the criteria for plan
  • Solicit comments or suggestions from all employees on toxics use reduction options

The notification for a Resource Conservation Plan must:

  • Include requirements of the plan
  • Identify the natural asset being considered as the focus of the plan
  • Solicit comments or suggestions from all employees on resource conservation options for that asset

There is no notification requirement for EMSs, but there are requirements for:

  • A written environmental policy that expresses how the facility manages and makes a commitment to:

(a) Compliance with environmental legal requirements

(b) Pollution prevention through source reduction and toxics use reduction

(c) Continual improvement of the EMS and environmental performance

  • Procedures for communicating environmental and EMS information throughout the facility, including EMS awareness programs for all employees

Remember, you will need to complete and have evidence – a memo, an email, a posting – of the notification sent to employees by the January 1 deadline.

For more information, please contact Linda Swift at 508-970-0033 ext. 119 or lswift@capaccio.com.

EPA’s Risk Management Program – General Duty Clause Reply

You have a facility that uses chemicals regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) risk management program (40 CFR 68) and have conducted a study and determined that the quantities stored and in use at the facility are below applicability thresholds, therefore you are not required to have a risk management plan, right?  Well, not exactly.  Section 112(r)(1) of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 contains the following General Duty Clause (GDC):

“…The owners and operators of stationary sources producing, processing, handling or storing such substances [i.e., a chemical in 40 CFR part 68 or any other extremely hazardous substance] have a general duty [in the same manner and to the same extent as the general duty clause in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)] to identify hazards which may result from (such) releases using appropriate hazard assessment techniques, to design and maintain a safe facility taking such steps as are necessary to prevent releases, and to minimize the consequences of accidental releases which do occur.”

So, what is an extremely hazardous substance (EHS)?

As the GDC does not offer a definition of what constitutes an EHS, the EPA has interpreted the definition to apply to virtually any chemical that it feels poses a risk if released.  In applying this broad definition, the EPA looks at the consequences of a release (catastrophic or not) to the offsite areas surrounding the property.  There is also no “less than” use threshold, so if you use an EHS in any amount, you are subject to the GDC.

As an example, you operate a warehouse part of which stores refrigerated foods.  The refrigeration system uses anhydrous ammonia and has a total charge capacity of 6,000 pounds. This is below the threshold quantity of 10,000 pounds for anhydrous ammonia and therefore would not trigger the requirement to have a risk management plan (RMP) per 40 CFR 68.  You do, however, have an obligation under the GDC to assess the consequences of an anhydrous ammonia release to the environment.  In particular, you have a duty to:

  • Determine if, and under what circumstances, a release could occur
  • Put in place procedures and controls to prevent a release, and
  • Implement a plan of action should a release occur.

Is the EPA really enforcing the GDC?

In March of 2011, EPA Region 1 (NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, ME) published notification of a violation settlement for a chemical manufacturer located in New Haven, Connecticut. The violation included a finding that the facility failed to develop and put in place a RMP for the storage of concentrated hydrochloric acid.  The case arose out of a number of inspections conducted by EPA Region 1 at chemical warehouses and distribution facilities.  One of the lessons from the inspections (and cited in the violation notification) was that:

“Several companies were unaware that the Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause can apply, even when RMP regulations do not.  The GDC requires companies that manage EHS to prevent chemical releases by, among other things, designing and maintaining a safe facility.”

The company was fined $12,626 and agreed to spend an additional $40,000 to buy emergency response equipment for the City.

So how do you assure that you meet this obligation? 

It is important to note that the GDC is not a regulation and there is no clearly defined set of procedures or steps to follow to demonstrate compliance.  The EPA document “Guidance for Implementation of the General Duty Clause Clean Air Act Section 112(r)(1)” (EPA 550-B00-002) provides guidance on what EPA inspectors will look at during an inspection at your facility.  Three basis steps cited by the EPA to demonstrate compliance include:  

  • Adopt or follow any relevant industry codes, practices, or consensus standards (for the process or facility as a whole as well as for particular chemicals or pieces of equipment)
  • Be aware of unique circumstances of your facility which may require a tailored accident prevention program, and
  • Be aware of accidents and other incidents in your industry that indicate potential hazards.

CAPACCIO staff is experienced in helping facilities meet the requirements of EPA’s RMP and OSHA’s PSM programs. If you have any questions about the GDC and how it might apply to your facility, please contact Lynn Sheridan at 508.970.0033 ext. 122 or lsheridan@capaccio.com.

EPCRA 313 and TURA Reporting/Planning Reply

It is never too early to start thinking about collecting your chemical use and emissions data for calendar year 2011. Nor is it too early to begin evaluating your reporting thresholds for Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Section 313 Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (Form R) and Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) Toxics Use (TUR Form S) Reporting.  Reports are due July 1, 2012.

Hydrogen sulfide is added to TRI requirements for 2012

In the October 17 edition of the Federal Register, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they dropped their stay on hydrogen sulfide gas because they had enough scientific evidence to change its status to reportable. Companies will have to report if they manufacture, process, or use hydrogen sulfide in excess of reporting thresholds. This decision will likely impact utilities, petroleum refineries, and metal and coal mining companies. The change will take effect in the 2012 Form R reporting cycle with reports due July 1, 2013.

Please note: In a recent conversation with Dwight Peavey, TRI Coordinator for EPA New England, Dwight stressed that having back-up for threshold determinations and emission calculations will be very important in the upcoming reporting year. EPA is using other databases (e.g., Tier 2 and Risk Management Programs) to connect the dots and find companies that should be reporting.

 Newly Added TURA Chemicals

The TURA Administrative Council voted this year to separate hexavalent chromium compounds  from the general chromium compounds category, and make hexavalent chromium compounds a Higher Hazard Substance (HHS).   They also voted to designate formaldehyde as a HHS.  There is a formal public comment period on these proposed regulation changes that began November 11 and ends December 1, 2011.  Go to:  http://www.mass.gov/eea/waste-mgnt-recycling/toxics/toxic-use-reduction/hearing-amendments-to-the-toxic-substances-list.html  to find information on where you can obtain a copy of the proposed regulation changes and to submit comments, if you wish to do so.

If the proposed regulations are finalized before the end of calendar year 2011, then 2012 would be the first year that hexavalent chromium compounds and formaldehyde would have a 1000 pound (lb) reporting threshold.  Other chromium compounds (most often trivalent) would still have a 25,000 lb threshold for manufactured and processed, or 10,000 lb for otherwise used.  The 2012 reports would need to be filed with the MassDEP by July 1, 2013.

TUR Planning

2012 is a TUR planning year. Don’t forget to post your Employee Notification that reminds employees at your company that you will be going through the TUR planning process and solicit their input on ways to reduce toxics use and byproduct.

Plan Summaries/Progress Reports and Plan Certification need to be completed and submitted by July 1, 2012.  You will need to have a traditional TUR Plan, a TUR Environmental Management System, or a Resource Conservation Plan in place by July 1st.   Reminder: plans must be certified by a MassDEP Certified Toxics Use Reduction Planner.

 If you need any help with developing a methodology that will past EPA and MassDEP muster, contact Linda Swift at 508.970.0033 ext. 119 or lswift@capaccio.com or Lucy Servidio at 508.970.0033 ext. 114 or lservidio@capaccio.com.