EPA Advises Facility Operators to Prepare for Hazardous Weather Events
ATLANTA (May 14, 2021) – With June marking the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reminds facility operators of requirements for preventing, minimizing and reporting chemical releases. Facility operators are obligated to maintain safety, minimize releases that do occur, and report chemical releases or oil spills 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.
“As with every hurricane season, engaging with facility operators is a critical step to ensuring appropriate preparation and planning for potential releases,” said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator John Blevins. “We want facility operators to implement the safety measures needed to prevent and minimize releases of chemicals and hazardous substances in order to protect communities and minimize and recover from storm damage.”
Unlike some natural disasters, hurricanes and tropical storms are predictable and usually allow facilities to prepare for potential impacts. EPA reminds operators of some basic steps to prepare for hazardous weather:
- 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 Commissions (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.