General Duty Clause under risk management plans (RMP)
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The General Duty Clause ("GDC") under Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 112 (r)(1) has been in effect since 1990 – over 25 years.

The GDC applies to facilities with extremely hazardous substances and states that "owners and operators of stationary sources producing, processing, handling, and storing such substances have a general duty to identify hazards which may result from releases using appropriate hazard assessment techniques, to design and maintain a safe facility taking such steps as are necessary to prevent releases, and to minimize the consequences of accidental releases which do occur." Addressing the safe management of chemicals and prevention of chemical releases is also the subject of the RMP Rule, also established under CAA Section 112 (r). Unlike the RMP Rule, the GDC can be applied to stationary sources processing, handling, or storing hazardous chemicals not on any one list and no threshold quantity applies. For example, a facility using anhydrous ammonia for a refrigeration process under the RMP threshold quantities (TQ) of 10,000 lbs. and therefore not subject to the RMP Rule, is obligated under the GDC to comply with many of the requirements of RMP. In addition, EPA has increased enforcement of the GDC over the past few years which may be triggered not just by an accidental release but by failure to prepare for and implement preventive measures for an accidental release. Further, EPA's National Enforcement Initiatives for 2020-2023 include "Reducing Risks of Accidental Releases at Industrial and Chemical Facilities", an initiative which could be addressed by increasing enforcement of the GDC and the RMP Rule. This presentation will discuss possibly surprising "real world" examples of GDC violations and significant steps facilities using ammonia refrigeration should take to take improve compliance with the GDC.

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Sandy Owens
  • All Authors: Sandy Owens
  • Title: General Duty Clause under risk management plans (RMP)
  • Event or Publication: Central Florida (CF) Regional Conference
  • Practice Areas: Waste Management Planning, Engineering, and Design
  • Citation: Sandy Owens, CHMM, CSP (Florida) presented two technical sessions on the General Duty Clause under risk management plans (RMP) at the Central Florida (CF) Regional Conference at the Embassy Suites in Kissimmee, Florida on August 27-28, 2019.
  • Date: August 27-28, 2019
  • Location: Kissimmee, Florida