The Risk Management Program (RMP) is a law created to protect the greater community from the accidental release of highly hazardous chemicals. Under the Clean Air Act, Section 112(r)(7), there are requirements for the employer to have accident prevention plans for every facet of handling these chemical hazards. The U.S. EPA was commissioned by President Obama under his executive order (EO) 13650 Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security (EO 13650) to:
Improve operational coordination with state and local partners;
Enhance Federal agency coordination with information sharing;
Modernize policies, regulations, and standards; and
Work with stakeholders to identify best practices.
This article will review the proposed rule changes and the effect to the utilities which fall under the RMP program.
As mentioned in my May 15, 2014 Water Online article entitled 7 Tips for Risk Management Program Compliance, The Risk Management Program (RMP) is an EPA initiative that tracks, audits, and regulates facilities with extremely hazardous substances (EHSs) and toxic chemicals over a certain quantity, including Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or “Superfund”) sites. Congress enacted the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) in 1986 as a reaction from the 1984 Bhopal, India accident where a Union Carbide chemical plant had a release of methyl isocyanate.
This incident caused thousands to die and many injuries in India, and six months later a chemical release of similar type occurred in West Virginia (EPA, 2012). Therefore, Congress moved under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) by issuing Title 40 to create ways of protecting the American public. The RMP can be found in the Clean Air Programs section (40 CFR Part 68). You can find specific chemicals on “The List of Lists” for regulated chemicals.
However, the RMP system is in need of modernization to represent the growing nature of chemical hazards to the utility and the surrounding communities. Many utilities have gas chlorine, sulfur dioxide, anhydrous ammonia, and other regulated chemicals for the treatment of wastewater and drinking water.
An additional requirement for the process hazard analysis (PHA) required for Program 3 processes. A Program 3 process is defined as one where in the case of an accidental chemical release, the community would be affected and the programs are not subject under OSHA jurisdiction. This change is aimed squarely at the public utilities and public sectors without an OSHA state program.
Enhancements to the emergency preparedness requirements. Compliance with this change is addressed through the EPA All-Hazards Boot Camp. The All-Hazards Boot Camp is an online training module created to help the utility visualize and prepare for hazards in all stages of an event: