Most industrial facilities have regulatory-required written plans for minimizing the potential for and responding to releases of oil, hazardous substances, and/or pollution prevention. Some examples of regulatory-driven written plans include:

  • Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans (40 CFR 112);
  • Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (NPDES Stormwater Permits);
  • Hazardous Waste Contingency Plans (RCRA requirements for Large Quantity Generators); and
  • Risk Management Plans (RMPs, 40 CFR 68).

Unfortunately, these documents are not frequently reviewed and updated and are not even required to be by the governing regulations. It is of critical importance to maintain emergency response plans that include current emergency coordinator contact information, up-to-date hazardous material/oil storage, accurate lists of emergency response equipment, and relevant emergency response procedures for employees to use in the event of an actual emergency. Inaccuracy and/or confusion in these plans could delay timely response activities that would otherwise minimize impacts during an actual event, increasing risks to personnel and property. Substantial risks could arise as a result of poorly maintained plans in the elements of RMPs/Process Safety Management.

Many of these governing regulations include requirements to keep information current and/or conduct periodic reviews and updates.


SPCC Plans must be amended whenever there is a change in facility design, construction, operation, or maintenance that materially affects the facility’s potential for the discharge of oil into or upon the navigable waters (40 CFR 112.5(a)). Whether or not a facility’s potential for discharge has been affected, SPCC Plans must also be reviewed at least once every five years to determine if amendment/updating is warranted, and a record of this review must be kept (40 CFR 112.5(b)). NPDES Stormwater Permits often contain conditions for reviews to be conducted and documented annually to determine if Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans warrant updates/revisions. RCRA Hazardous Waste Contingency Plans must contain a list of emergency contact names, and this list must be kept up-to-date (40 CFR 264.52(d)), as well as an up-to-date list of emergency equipment (40 CFR 264.52(e)). Risk Management Plans (RMPs) are required to be updated and submitted to the EPA whenever a new chemical is first present above the threshold quantity; within six months of a change that requires a revised Process Hazard Analysis (PHA), the Offsite Consequences Analysis endpoint increases by a factor of two or more, or the change alters the program level; and a review/update must be submitted every five years at a minimum (40 CFR 68.190). Failure to keep these plans current could result in a Notice of Violation and/or fines upon agency inspection. Worse case, however, an incident/event could result in injury or release, impacting more than just violations or fines.

In addition to changes in personnel and facilities, it is also advisable to review existing plans whenever there is a significant revision to the governing regulation or permit renewal. Renewed permits, such as NPDES Stormwater Permits, frequently contain subtle changes to conditions for monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting, that if not reflected in an updated plan may result in failure to implement, which could result in noncompliance. Compliance is facilitated by keeping site specific plans current and consistent with the governing regulations and permits.

The EI Group, Inc. (EI) provides comprehensive Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) compliance services throughout the United States, with a particular focus on the manufacturing sector. Our team of environmental compliance specialists can assist develop, update, conduct training, and assist with implementation of the full array of environmental and emergency response plans. Contact us (800) 717-3472 or [email protected] to learn more.