Clean Air Act

Two Key Things to Know About Chemical Releases During Hurricane Season

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Two Key Things to Know About Chemical Releases During Hurricane Season

One of the most hazardous situations is mixing hurricane season and facility shutdowns. Since hurricanes can now be detected early enough before landfall, the EPA is not taking it easy on facilities that do not take extra precautions as storms come through.

Minimize Chemical Releases During Shutdown

The EPA recommends that facilities safely shut down processes by de-energizing or isolating process equipment, or continue to operate under emergency operations procedures. The Clean Air Act Section 112(r)(1) states that “owners/operators have a general duty to prevent accidental releases of certain listed substances and other extremely hazardous substances and to minimize the consequences of accidental releases which do occur.” (EPA.gov) This also includes facilities that are subject to national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants.

 

Report Releases Immediately

Per the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, owners and operators are to notify state emergency response commissions and local emergency planning committees when there has been a release of hazardous substances.  As part of the facilities risk management program, emergency contact numbers should be updated every year.  Consider the issue of cell phone or land line probability and plan accordingly.

All supervisors and facility personnel should review their operational events during shutdown, operating related to previous hazardous weather events in order to take make appropriate administrative, operational, and hardware or software safety precautions.

If you have questions about how to prepare your facility for a hurricane, call SRP to speak with one of our Environmental Consultants at (866) 222-4972.

Sources:
Environmental Compliance Alert, June 16, 2017
EPA: https://www.epa.gov/natural-disasters/hazardous-weather-release-prevention-and-reporting

Clean Air Permit Changes Expected in November

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Clean Air Permit Changes Expected In November

Two big changes are in motion for air quality compliance.   These changes affect facilities in all industries, and both small and large firms.  Higher fines are effective immediately, and making changes to your Startup, Shutdown and Maintenance policies to omit emission exemptions will be effective November 16, 2016.

Higher Fines from EPA. Violations of the Clean Air Act will now cost the company $44,539 per day of violation period.  That’s up from $37,500.  Expect increases each year, as the EPA is now able to implement higher fines in relation to the cost-of-living.  This is part of the new Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.

Read More: EPA Increases Violation Fines: Makes Non-Compliance Riskier

Additionally, facilities can expect higher fines for exceeding smoke, soot and smog limits at the state enforcement level.

Remove Startup, Shutdown and Maintenance Clause in Air Plans.  This means that facilities will no long be able to claim a permit shield, or exemption, in the event an equipment breakdown, planned startup, or planned shutdown pushes the facility over the permit limits.

Smoke Stack Air PollutionThere are two crucial impacts on industry:

  1. Many facilities will incur hefty expenses by upgrading their equipment to reduce
    maintenance.
  2. Facilities are face a spike in emissions could go from being labeled a minor source to a major source.  Facilities will have to decide whether to include higher emissions in their permit or hope for the best.

States are Enforcing Changes to SSM.  States including Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and Louisiana have updated their state Startup Shutdown and Maintenance policies.  If you are in Louisiana, don’t expect any leeway for sulfur dioxide or nitric acid emissions.  Colorado, however, will still provide exemptions for some facilities as long as they immediately report issues and minimize emissions from an SSM event.

While some states are listening to the EPA, nineteen states along with different industry groups are not.  They believe that any issues with equipment that lead to emissions should not be subject to fines.   These states and groups are challenging the EPA in court, but a decision won’t be made till after the November 16th compliance deadline set by the EPA.

Read More About What EPA Inspectors are Looking For Now

Do you have questions about environmental compliance?  Contact an SRP Environmental Consultant today.  We have seven convenient locations in Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Midland, Shreveport and Pittsburgh.  Call us toll-free at 866.222.4972 or visit us online.

Source: Environmental Compliance Alert, August 15, 2016

EPA Increases Violation Fines: Makes Non-Compliance Riskier

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EPA Increases Violation Fines: Makes Non-Compliance Riskier

The Environmental Protection Agency has received the ability to increase their violation fines in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.

Below is a quick reference guide to the fines you could be faced with for not being in environmental compliance.

Type of Violation  Current Civil Penalty New Civil Penalty
Emergency Planning & Community Right To Know Act $25,000 per day in violation $53,907 per day in violation
Clean Air Act $25,000 per violation $44,539 per violation
Clean Water Act $25,000 per violation $44,539 per violation
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act  $25,000 per violation  $56,467 – $70,117 per violation

Air, water, and hazardous waste violations receiving maximum penalties also got an increase by 78%.

Smoke Stack Air Pollution

  • Make sure state and local emergency responders have an inventoried list of hazardous chemicals in your facility, as well as the Safety Data Sheets. (EPCRA)
  • Immediately report all accidental releases of hazardous substances to the National Response Center, as well as state and local agencies. (CERCLA, EPCRA)
  • Submit Your Toxic Release Inventory report each year by July 1. (EPCRA)
  • Make Sure You Have an Updated Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan.
  • Obtain proper air pollution permits. (Clean Air Act, NPDES)
  • Obtain wastewater discharge permits prior to releasing into navigable waterways. (Clean Water Act)
  • Monitor Emissions Limits

Read More About NextGen Compliance

In July of 2016, SRP released information regarding OSHA penalty increases due to the Inflation Adjustment Act.  Safety compliance is also something to pay attention to in your facility.

Read More About OSHA Fine Increases

If you are concerned about environmental compliance within your facility or company, contact an SRP Environmental Consultant.  SRP  provides environmental compliance audits, annual reporting services, permitting assistance and risk evaluations .   Call SRP Today at (318) 222-2364 or visit us online to schedule a consultation.   We have seven convenient locations in Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Midland, Shreveport and Pittsburgh.  Located elsewhere?  Let SRP come to you.