With June marking the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week is encouraging facility operators to review plans for preventing, minimizing and reporting chemical releases.
Chemical facility operators are obligated to maintain safety, minimize releases that do occur, and report chemical or oil releases and discharges in a timely manner, as required under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and/or the emergency planning provisions of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and/or the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan.
Some basic steps to prepare for hazardous weather include:
- Review procedures for shutting down processes and securing facilities appropriately—especially hazardous chemical storage—or otherwise implement appropriate safe operating procedures.
- Review updated state-federal guidelines for flooding preparedness, available here.
- Assure all employees are familiar with requirements and procedures to contact the National Response Center in case a spill or release occurs.
- Review local response contacts, including Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and State Emergency Response Centers (SERCs). A list of these contacts by state is available here.
Prevention and reporting requirements for facilities are available at https://www.epa.gov/natural-disasters/hazardous-weather-release-prevention-and-reporting.
In the event of a hazardous weather incident, please visit https://www.epa.gov/natural-disasters for updated emergency information.