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ACCIDENTAL RELEASE PREVENTION PROGRAM
Clean Air Act Section 112(r)
Preventing accidental release of hazardous chemicals is the shared responsibility of industry, government, and the public. The first steps toward accident prevention are identifying the hazards and assessing the risks. Once information about chemicals is openly shared, industry, government and the community can work together toward reducing the risk to public health and the environment. Important provisions in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA) advance the process of risk management planning and public disclosure of risk. These requirements affect facilities that produce, handle, process, distribute, or store certain chemicals that are above a threshold quantity. On June 20, 1996, (Fed. Reg. Vol. 61, No. 120 pg. 31668-31732) the final rule was published in the Federal register (40 CFR Part 68) under Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs under Clean Air Act Section 112(r)(7).
What is RMP all about?
The objective of the Accidental Release Prevention Program is to prevent serious chemical accidents that have the potential to affect the public and environment. To accomplish this goal, facilities that use regulated chemicals at or above the associated threshold quantities are required to develop and implement a Risk Management Program (RMP). A RMP can summarize the policies and procedures company follows to prevent chemical accidents.
Who Must Comply?
An owner or operator of a stationary source that has more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance in a process must develop a Risk Management Plan. A risk management plan will incorporate three program elements: a hazard assessment, a prevention program, and an emergency response program. These programs are to be summarized and submitted to EPA before June 21, 1999. For those facilities that submitted a Risk Management Program by this date, a resubmission was due on June 21, 2004.
Sources must comply with all applicable deadlines for compliance:
1) No later than June 21, 1999;
2) Three years after the date on which a regulated substance is first listed under 40 CFR Part 68.130; or
3) The date on which a threshold quantity of a regulated substance is first present in a process.
RMP's must be submitted to a centralized location at EPA headquarters. In order to simplify submission, EPA has developed an electronic PC-based reporting format called RMP SUBMIT. To support electronic submission, EPA has standardized the electronic submission requirements. With the exception of the executive summary, the electronic submission form features check-off boxes, yes/no answers or numerical entries.
General Duty Clause
Under Section 112(r) owners and operators of stationary sources that produce, process, handle, or store substances listed under Section 112(r)(3) or any other "Extremely Hazardous Substances" (EHS) have a general duty to initiate specific activities to prevent and mitigate accidental releases. EHS are not limited to the list of regulated substances listed under section 112 (r), nor the EHS under EPCRA 302 (40 CFR Part 355, Appendices A and B). EHS include any agent which may or may not be listed or otherwise identified by any Government agency which may as the result of short-term exposures associated with releases to the air cause death, injury or property damage due to its toxicity, reactivity, flammability, volatility, or corrosivity. The General Duty Clause (Section(r)(1)) applies to all sources which produce, process, handle or store these substances, regardless of the quantity of substances managed at the facility. The General Duty Clause mandates that each facility designs, operates and maintains a safe facility.
RI DEM's Role
The State of Rhode Island is planning to seek delegation as an implementing agency from the EPA to operate a State Risk Management Program. The State will seek to implement its own Risk Management Program with requirements at least as stringent as EPA's and which will include all EPA-regulated substances and processes. The State also has the right to be more stringent in order to protect public safety and health. The State may consider factors such as population density, proximity to schools and emergency response to determine whether the State's program will be more stringent than EPA's.
For More Information
EPA's Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) has prepared a Chemical Accident Prevention home page from where you can link to important information such as 40 CFR Part 68 regulations, regulated chemicals, amendments, threshold quantities, off-site consequence analysis, as well as the latest news and information regarding the Federal program.
Gina Friedman, RIDEM Office of Air Resources 401-222-2808 x7016.
EPCRA Hotline 800-424-9346 or 703-412-9810, fax 202-651-2061.