Failure to Report Release Costs Texas Oil Company $400,000

Posted on 3/15/2016 by Roger Marks

For failing to notify the National Response Center (NRC) of a reportable discharge of a hazardous substance, a Houston-based oil and gas company will pay $400,000 to Federal and State environmental agencies and serve a two-year probation term.

CERCLA Release Reporting Requirements

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), facilities must notify the National Response Center immediately of a release of hazardous substance in excess of the thresholds set by statute. The reporting requirement is also codified in US Law, at 33 U.S.C. §1321 – Oil and hazardous substance liability.

The threshold for reporting under CERLCA is once a “reportable quantity,” or RQ, of the material has been released. For most hazardous substances, the RQ ranges from 1 to 5,000 pounds. A complete list of reportable quantities under CERCLA can be found at 40 CFR 302.4.

For more information on when CERCLA reporting is required, and who must report, read Release Reporting Requirements—CERCLA vs. EPCRA.

cercla hazardous substance release spilled from drum

Reporting releases is a complex part of managing hazardous chemicals, hazardous substances, and hazardous wastes, especially because the thresholds for reporting—and who receives the report— vary depending on a number of factors: what kind of material was released, how much was released, and more.

Some releases require reporting within 30 days, some require reporting within 24 hours, some require immediate reporting, and others require no report at all. Reports for different types of releases may be directed to State or regional EPA officials, Federal US EPA, local emergency planners and responders, the National Response Center, or other bodies.  

If you need to report a hazardous substance release to the National Response Center, call 800-424-8802.

Read the Department of Justice press release announcing the enforcement action here.

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Tags: CERCLA, EPA, reporting and recordkeeping

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