EPA: Prevent Chemical Releases during Hurricane Season
EPA urges facility operators to prevent and minimize chemical releases during hazardous weather events. The agency reminds facilities that the onset of a hurricane is predictable and allows for early preparations to lessen a storm’s effect on a facility. EPA recommends that operators take preventive action to safely shut down processes and place certain hazardous chemicals in safe storage locations before hurricane-force winds and storm-surge flooding occur. Owners and operators of chemical facilities are required by laws and regulations to minimize chemical releases during process shutdown operations. According to EPA, if reportable releases occur, they must be reported immediately upon “constructive knowledge of occurrence.” “For complex industrial processes, shutdown operations require special care beyond normal operations,” EPA states. “Of particular concern are the hazards associated with the additional human/process interactions required during shutdown operations, as process parameters may be in unusual ranges and operators may have less experience controlling plant conditions during a shutdown.” View a PDF of the alert on EPA's website.