Under the Clean Air Act, owners or operators of facilities at which a process uses “…more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance…” [40 CFR 68.10] must create a Risk Management Plan (RMP) to prevent the accidental release of these substances to the ambient air and to minimize the consequences of releases that do happen.
Because both EPA regulations and industry best practices change over time, EHS managers must ensure their facility’s RMP is maintained and updated when necessary. At 40 CFR Part 68, the EPA sets specific standards for revising and updating Risk Management Plans under specific circumstances.
Elements of a Risk Management Plan
- The substances regulated under the RMP rules are listed at 40 CFR 68.130, Tables 1 through 4.
- A process is defined as “any activity involving a regulated substance including any use, storage, manufacturing, handling or on-site movement of such substances, or combination of these activities … [including] any group of vessels that are interconnected, or separate vessels that are located such that a regulated substance could be involved in a potential release….” [40 CFR 68.3]
At a minimum, RMPs must be fully updated and resubmitted at least every five years. [40 CFR 68.190(b)(1)] These revised plans must be submitted via the same RMP*eSubmit software used for initial submission of RMPs. Visit the EPA’s website for more information on electronic Risk Management Plan submission
Updating RMPs Due to Change in Quantity
Under certain circumstances, RMPs must be updated and resubmitted before the five-year anniversary:
- If a new regulated substance, above the appropriate threshold, is added to an existing process.
- If an existing regulated substance is increased to above the appropriate threshold for the first time.
In both of these cases, the facility must update and resubmit the RMP by the time the regulated substance is present in a process at a quantity that is greater than the regulatory threshold.
Updating RMPs Due to Revised Analysis
Facilities must also update RMPs within six months of any change that requires:
- A revised process hazard analysis or hazard review [40 CFR 68.190(b)(5)],
- A revised off-site consequence analysis [40 CFR 68.190(b)(6)], or
- A change in applicable program level [40 CFR 68.190(b)(7)].
Updating RMPs Following Emergencies or Accidents
Facilities must also revise their RMPs in relation to releases and emergency preparedness.
- Accidental releases that meet certain criteria must be:
- Added to “five-year history” and “incident investigation” sections of the RMP
- Within six months of the date of the accident.
- Changes to facility emergency contact information must be:
- Corrected in the RMP within one month of the change.
- Revisions to other RMP sections not required.
Deregistration from the RMP Reporting Program
Facilities that make changes that drop them out of the RMP requirements (for instance, removing processes or limiting the amount of the hazardous substance to stay below the threshold quantity) must submit a de-registration to EPA within six months of the change. [40 CFR 68.190(c)] Maintaining an up-to-date and accurate Risk Management Plan not only ensures compliance with 40 CFR 68, it also helps facilities comply with the more broadly applicable General Duty Clause of the Clean Air Act [CAA Section 112(r)(1)] and emergency preparedness requirements under other major EPA programs.
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