The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection issued a notice of intent in March for regulations covering the reporting of spills and releases—commonly referred to as the Release Reporting Regulations.
The draft regulations propose thresholds for the reporting of certain releases and specify when, how, and what to report.
Under current regulations, the release of substances such as oil, chemical liquids, and hazardous materials must be reported to DEEP, regardless of the quantity.
DEEP wants to set minimum thresholds to reduce the number of reportable releases, allowing the agency to focus on spills that pose the greatest threat to human health and the environment.
CBIA convened a working group of members from its E2: Energy and Environment Council to provide feedback on the proposed regulations.
CBIA appreciates the intent to add increased clarity and decreased reporting and is supportive of setting minimum thresholds for spills that can be cleaned up and dealt with by the entity and reduce burdensome reporting.
However, the working group raised a number of concerns, including:
- The one-hour response time frame which is unrealistic for many entities
- The inconsistent use of the term “properly trained personnel” and their role regarding spills
- The treatment and definition of secondary containment units especially as it relates to a spill into a secondary containment unit or impervious structure such as a building
- The 30% threshold for Appendix A materials
The working group also made suggestions for improving the regulations, including exempting incidental releases under OSHA 1910-120, exempting materials intended for household use, and changing the definition of a secondary containment unit to exempt buildings and impervious structures from the definition of a release.
Finally, CBIA outlined some concerns regarding the ambiguity surrounding the use of the phrase “potential risk to human health and the environment” when it comes to reporting releases.
As this phrase becomes more common place in regulations, CBIA urges the agency to define this term in a more conclusive and precise manner.
Uncertainty may lead to under or over reporting which would be contradictory to the goal of these regulations.