Environmental regulations are established to minimize the impact a company and their operations can have on the environment. In many instances, compliance plans are a requirement of a regulation. Examples of compliance plans include Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP), Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plans, and Hazardous Waste Contingency Plans. Compliance plans usually require that specific actions be taken such as inspections, recordkeeping and reporting, and employee training.
In many instances, a plan’s effectiveness hinges on the ability of a company to perform the action items required by the regulation and identified within the plan. Herein lies the struggle as many companies fail to meet ALL the requirements of their plans. Depending upon the situation, not following a plan can have a wide variety of consequences such as triggering an agency audit or Notice of Violation and fine, chemical spills, and possibly injuries and lawsuits.
In our experience, many compliance plans are ineffective for the following reasons:
- The plans are voluminous, complicated, and as a result, difficult to understand.
- Required action items are not clearly stated.
- Action items are not assigned to specific personnel and “fall through the cracks.”
- Companies fail to adequately track performance of action items.
To develop and implement an effective compliance plan, EPS follows the four-step process below:
- Plans must be technically accurate, succinct, and written such that they can be readily followed. Consider your audience. Provide a draft of the plan for their review prior to finalizing the plan.
- Explain the plan’s objectives and action items. Answer questions and provide training if necessary.
- Assign action items to specific personnel. Many times, it’s not sufficient to only assign a title (Plant Manager, Shop Foreman, etc.) but rather specific names should be assigned to each task for accountability.
- Develop a compliance calendar. The compliance calendar should include all action items identified in the plan, schedules and due dates, responsible persons, and location of records.
Bridging the gap between simply having a plan and successfully implementing a plan is essential to having a robust environmental program and reducing liability. For more information on implementing effective plans, please contact your EPS consultant.
EPA has issued revisions to 40 CFR Part 370 that affect Tier I and Tier II reporting under Sections 311 and 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). The revisions affect the Tier II report due March 1, 2018 for the 2017 reporting year. The changes are intended to align EPCRA with the revised OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) which adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals referred to as “GHS.”
Tier II Reports – Here’s What Changed:
EPA has revised the hazard categories on the Tier II reports. In place of the current five hazard categories (fire, sudden release of pressure, reactive, immediate (acute) health hazard, delayed (chronic) health hazard), EPA is adopting the hazards used in the HCS, which are listed below:
- Flammable (gases, aerosols, liquids, or solids)
- Gas under pressure
- Pyrophoric (liquid or solid)
- Oxidizer (liquid, solid or gas)
- Pyrophoric gas
- Corrosive to metal
- In contact with water emits flammable gas
- Combustible Dust
- Hazard Not Otherwise Classified (HNOC)
- Acute toxicity (any route of exposure)
- Reproductive toxicity
- Skin Corrosion or Irritation
- Respiratory or skin sensitization
- Serious eye damage or eye irritation
- Specific target organic toxicity (single or repeated exposure)
- Aspiration hazard
- Germ cell mutagenicity
- Simple asphyxiant
- Hazard Not Otherwise Classified (HNOC)
How Does This Affect My 2017 Tier II Report?
The Tier II report, due March 1, 2018, will use the new EPCRA hazard categories above. So, between now and February 2018, make sure you have current Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for previously-reported and new chemicals and familiarize yourself with the hazard classifications listed in Section 2 of the SDS. Previously-reported chemicals will likely need to be reevaluated for the new hazard categories based on updated GHS-compliant SDS.
The new categories are expected to be available in the reporting year 2017 versions of the reporting software (Tier2 Submit and E-Plan). Some states still require forms. Reporting information for each state can be found at:
Also, the hard-copy form and instructions are available at:
For more information on preparing and submitting your Tier II Report, please contact your EPS consultant.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the NPDES General Permit for Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity, OHR000006, effective in May 2017 (day is currently unspecified). Examples of modifications in the new Permit include:
- More specific language detailing when pavement wash waters and building washdown are an allowable non-storm water discharge.
- Permit renewals require Notice of Intents, Notice of Termination, and No Exposure Certification to be submitted electronically using Ohio EPA’s electronic application forms.
- The frequency for routine facility inspections and quarterly visual assessments can be reduced for facilities recognized under the Gold and Platinum levels by Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Program.
- The procedures for comprehensive and routine facility inspections have been consolidated to eliminate redundancies and reduce burden.
- Permittees are required to make their Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) available to the public when requested (excluding any confidential business information).
- Permittees exceeding a benchmark due to a neighboring facility’s storm water run-on may document and account for this situation.
- The annual report has been modified to be consistent with USEPA’s current federal Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) Annual Report.
- Language was added to more clearly identify that the discharge of leachate is not authorized by the general permit.
The Notice of Intent (NOI) must be submitted electronically to the Ohio EPA through their on-line portal called eBusiness Center (https://ebiz.epa.ohio.gov/) within ninety (90) days of the Permit’s effective date. The Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) must be updated and all changes must be implemented within 180 days of the Permit’s effective date. Additionally, any facility operating under a No Exposure Exclusion must reapply for the exclusion once the permit is issued.
If you are a current client of EPS, we will be contacting you shortly to assist in setting up your eBusiness Center account, submitting your NOI, and preparing your new SWPPP to meet the new Permit requirements.
If you are not a current client of EPS and would like our assistance, please call Ted Peyser or Alan Anderson at (404) 315-9113.
The Permit may be reviewed at the following web address: