by Michael L. Walker, PE
Vice President, Principal Engineer

If you had a release of a hazardous air pollutant, you would have to notify your authorizing environmental agency under various rules, Federal RMP (112(r)), Title V, or maybe a State Air Toxics regulation. You might even be required to notify the National Response Center (NRC).  As of March 23, 2021, you can now add the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) to your “must call” list.

The rule, 40 CFR 1604, was authorized by the Clean Air Amendments of 1990 and there is a long sordid series of reasons why it took 30 years, which we will not go into detail here.  Nonetheless, the final rule became effective March 23, 2020 and included a one year “grace” period, which ended this past March.

The CSB rule requires that an owner or operator of a stationary source must report any accidental release resulting in a fatality, serious injury, or substantial property damage within eight hours.  Serious injury means any injury or illness that results in death or inpatient hospitalization. Substantial property damage means estimated property damage at or outside the stationary source equal to or greater than $1,000,000.

There is no threshold quantity that triggers this reporting requirement. 

An electronic form has been created, and the completed form can be submitted to CSB via email.  Note that initial reporting can also be done via phone by calling (202) 261-7600.  Also, the report can be updated as necessary (up to 90 days following the initial report) to ensure that CSB has complete and accurate information.

If a report of a release has been made to the NRC, only the NRC identification number for that report must be provided to CSB to satisfy the CSB reporting requirement, as long as that is within the eight hour window.

This reporting requirement should be folded into owner/operator preparedness and response plans (and associated training) that have been developed for the site as appropriate under Federal or State rules, including EPCRA, TSCA, RCRA, RMP, Title V permitting programs, air toxics programs, and OSHA standards.

If you have any questions regarding this new accidental release reporting requirement or if your facility has other environmental compliance concerns, please contact Michael L. Walker, PE at (919) 459-5245 or [email protected].