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Who Must Develop an Emergency Response Program?

The risk management program regulations require the owner or operator of a covered stationary source to develop and implement an emergency response program as described in 40 CFR §68.95, which must include an emergency response plan, emergency response equipment procedures, employee training, and procedures to ensure the program is up-to-date. Do all facilities subject to the risk management program regulations have to develop an emergency response program?

No. As provided in §68.90(a), only the owner or operator of a stationary source with Program 2 and Program 3 processes, whose employees will respond to accidental releases of RMP-regulated substances, must comply with the requirements of §68.95.  

EPA recognizes that, in some cases (particularly for retailers and other small operations with few employees), it may not be appropriate for employees to conduct response operations for releases of regulated substances. For example, it would be inappropriate, and probably unsafe, for an ammonia retailer with only one full-time employee to expect that a tank fire could be handled without the help of the local fire department or other emergency responder. EPA does not intend to force such facilities to develop emergency response capabilities. Therefore, the owner or operator of a stationary source whose employees will not respond to accidental releases of regulated substances need not comply with §68.95 provided that:

  • For stationary sources with any regulated toxic substance held in a process above the threshold quantity, the stationary sources must be included in the community emergency response plan prepared under EPCRA.
  • For stationary sources with only regulated flammable substances held in a process above the threshold quantity, the owner or operator must coordinate response actions with the local fire department.
  • Appropriate mechanisms are in place to notify emergency responders when there is a need for a response (§68.90(b)).
  • The owner or operator performs the annual emergency response coordination activities required under §68.93.
  • The owner or operator performs the annual notification exercises required under §68.96(a).