The EPA recently announced they’ll be cracking down on specific industrial facilities to keep their pollutants out of our nation’s waters. Find out the industry sectors and areas they’ll be targeting and how you can prevent discharges from your facility.
Every three years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces their upcoming enforcement initiatives. Two areas the EPA will focus on in fiscal years 2017-2019 are reducing the risk of accidental releases from certain industrial and chemical facilities and preventing sources of industrial water pollution.
These two initiatives share a similar goal: to prevent chemical spills and routiene discharges of small amounts of pollutants from harming the environment and negatively impacting the communities where facilities are located. Although the EPA’s enforcement efforts are mainly targeted at certain industry sectors, all facilities still need to be in compliance with spill prevention and clean up regulations that apply to their onsite processes, storage or handling of hazardous materials.
The EPA also recently increased fines for violating regulations. You can learn more about what a violation could cost your facility here.
Managing Risk and Exposure to Extremely Hazardous Substances
Facilities that use, store, handle or manufacture extremely hazardous substances need to have plans that document the procedures that will be used to prevent spills. These plans also need to list the resources that are available to contain, control and clean up spills if they do happen.
Written Risk Management Plans are required for facilities that store greater than threshold quantities of any chemicals listed in 40 CFR 268. Facilities with lower than threshold quantities of any extremely hazardous substance must develop plans that are compliant with the Clean Air Act 112(r) General Duty Clause.
These requirements are not new. In fact, they’ve been in place for decades. What is new is that EPA is specifically focusing their enforcement efforts on industrial and chemical facilities that are in low-income and minority communities. The focus of enforcement efforts will be to “reduce the risks of accidents through innovative accident prevention measures and improving response capabilities.”
This enforcement focus also reflects the EPA’s environmental justice work aimed at protecting communities that are disproportionately affected by industrial pollution. The EPA can assess both civil and criminal penalties against facilities that pollute the environment.
Download our white paper on how to determine what an extremely hazardous substance is and how to create a plan to minimize risk.
Protecting Surface Waters From Pollution
Every facility that could potentially discharge a pollutant into a stream, river, pond, lake or any other surface water is subject to EPA’s Stormwater regulation. Stormwater plans outline the procedures and processes that your facility must have in place to prevent spills from happening and what they will do to clean up spills when they happen.
Learn about the common sources of stormwater pollution and how to prevent releases from your facility here.
Facilities that store large quantities of oil, fuel or oil-based fluids must have a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan that outlines how they will minimize the potential for spills and how they’ll clean up spills if they do occur.
Find out if your facility is subject to SPCC regulations and how to create an SPCC plan here.