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EPA Moves to Improve Emergency Planning at Facilities in NJ and NY; Inspections Focus on Information on Chemical Hazards Needed by First Responders during Emergency Responses
Release Date: 05/27/2014
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, firstname.lastname@example.org
(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with state and local agencies, recently conducted inspections of 30 facilities in New York and New Jersey to ensure that they are keeping proper inventories of hazardous chemicals at their facilities. The EPA identified violations of inventory requirements at 17 of the facilities.
The EPA found that the 17 facilities did not supply chemical inventories and hazard information to the appropriate government agencies. The EPA issued notices of violation to these facilities and worked with them to ensure that the inventory and hazard information was subsequently reported. In addition, the EPA has contacted several hundred other facilities that are likely to be subject to the same requirements to provide detailed information about their obligations. The agency plans to follow up with more spot checks to gauge the effectiveness of the outreach.
“Before they rush into an emergency situation, fire fighters and first responders deserve to be informed about the hazardous chemicals stored there,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “These requirements ensure that responders have the essential information they need to protect themselves, workers and the surrounding community when they respond to a facility during a chemical release or fire.”
On August 1, 2013, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650 to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce the risks of hazardous chemicals to workers and communities. Chemicals and the facilities that manufacture, store, distribute and use them are essential to our economy. However, incidents such as the devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas in April 17, 2013 are reminders that the handling and storage of chemicals present serious risks that must be addressed.
Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, companies that manufacture, process, import or otherwise use chemicals above a certain amount must annually submit chemical inventory information to local authorities and to the state, giving detailed information about the chemicals they have on location. The businesses must report the names and quantities of those chemicals, as well as the hazards posed by those chemicals, to the state and local response agencies. Specifically, the facilities are required to report the information to the local fire department, the State Emergency Response Commission, and a group of county emergency officials known as the Local Emergency Planning Committee.
Hazardous chemicals are located in many types of facilities and areas. Responders need to know where hazardous chemicals are used and stored, how to assess the risks associated with those chemicals and how to ensure community preparedness for accidents or incidents that may occur. Many facility owners and operators rely on local resources for emergency preparedness and response, including first responders, emergency medical services and hazardous materials response teams. It is important for communities and facility owners and operators to work closely together to ensure chemical safety and security.
The facilities where the EPA identified violations of inventory requirements were: Americold Logistics, Syracuse, NY, Baldwinsville Hydro, Baldwinsville, NY, Beak & Skiff Apple Farm, Lafayette, NY, Bennett Heat Treating, Newark, NJ, Blaser Swisslube, Goshen, NY, Boasso America, Newark, NJ, Credit Suisse Securities, Jersey City, NJ, Extreme Tank Cleaning, Newark, NJ, Industrial Rubber Products, Elizabeth, NJ, KNF Flexpak, Jersey City, NJ, Lincoln Electric Products, Union, NJ, Messenger Trucking & Warehouse, Newark, NJ, NANO, Inc., Hackensack, NJ, Pepsi Bottle Group, Kearny, NJ, Procedyne Corp., New Brunswick, NJ, Solida Technologies, Inc., Piscataway, NJ, Tri State Quikrete, Flanders, NJ.
To read President Obama’s Executive Order to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities go to: https://www.osha.gov/chemicalexecutiveorder.
To learn more about the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/epcra.
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