EPA Advises Facility Operators to Prevent and Minimize Releases during Hazardous Weather Events
ATLANTA (June 9, 2020) – As hurricane season approaches, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a Hazardous Weather Release Prevention and Reporting alert to remind facility operators of certain requirements that call for preventing, minimizing and reporting chemical releases. This alert is designed to increase awareness among facility operators about their obligation to operate facilities safely, 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.
“Engaging with facility operators is a critical step to ensuring appropriate preparation and planning for potential releases,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “We want facility operators to implement the safety measures needed to prevent and minimize releases of chemicals and hazardous substances; doing so will reduce the risks to workers, first responders, and the surrounding community.”
The alert specifies release prevention and preparedness requirements and clarifies reporting requirements, including exemptions. Unlike some natural disasters, the onset of a hurricane is predictable and allows for early preparations to lessen its effect on a facility. Before high winds and associated storm surge flooding damage industrial processes, the alert recommends that operators take preventive action by safely shutting down processes, appropriately securing facilities including hazardous chemical and storage, or otherwise operating safely under appropriate emergency procedures. If a reportable chemical release or oil discharge does occur, operators should notify appropriate authorities immediately including the National Response Center.
The alert and requirements 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.