Emergency Preparedness and Response

RMP—No Release but a Huge Fine Anyway

It’s hard to swallow a huge fine for what might have happened. But, as part of its efforts to comply with the president’s EO to improve safety and security at chemical facilities, the EPA is hunting down companies that are required to develop RMPs but have not even though there has not been a release at the facilities. Here’s what happened recently to one company.

What Went Wrong

A packaging company was recently cited by the EPA for the failure to develop and implement an RMP at its facility in New England. The Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program requirements are intended help prevent accidental releases of substances that can cause serious harm to the public and the environment from short-term exposures and reduce the severity of releases that do occur.

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The Risk Management Program applies to any facility that has a listed substance above the threshold quantity in any single process at the facility. The listed substances contain 77 toxic chemicals with thresholds ranging from 500 pounds (lb) to 20,000 lb and 63 flammable substances with a threshold quantity of 10,000 lb.

The Fine and the Fix

The company will pay a $57,369 fine. On top of that, it will also purchase $147,625 worth of equipment for the local city in order to enhance the fire department’s ability to respond to and prepare for emergencies involving hazardous chemicals. The company was also ordered to come into compliance with the Risk Management Program regulations.

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In addition, the facility had to spend the time and money to participate in a chemical response “table-top exercise” with the local fire department. The EPA claims that its inspections, enforcement, and this settlement likely were a major impetus for chemical and safety improvements as well as compliance with Risk Management Program regulations at the facility.


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