LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Rancho LPG has resolved its noncompliance with risk management plan regulations. The violations were discovered during an EPA investigation of the San Pedro, Calif. facility, which began in April 2010. The facility has addressed the violations and now adheres to risk management plan requirements—a regulation under the federal Clean Air Act. As part of the agreement, Rancho LPG will also pay a civil penalty of $260,000.
“When a company handling high-risk materials operates in close proximity to a neighboring community, it’s critical to take steps to safeguard the residents,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Since EPA began its enforcement action over a year ago, Rancho LPG has invested over $7 million in plant improvements to bring its facility into compliance with federal environmental laws and to provide additional safety measures.”
Rancho LPG, located at 2110 North Gaffey Street, primarily stores large amounts of butane and propane. EPA investigations found that the facility did not have complete safety information to evaluate potential seismic stresses at the site, failed to analyze the potential loss of its water supply in the event of an earthquake, and failed to properly inspect and test equipment, including tanks and drain systems used to contain accidental releases.
The company estimates it spent $7.2 million at the facility since EPA’s investigation began for new safety controls, tank inspections, seismic upgrades, and improved coordination with local emergency responders.
When properly implemented, risk management plans help prevent chemical releases and minimize their potential impacts at facilities that store large amounts of hazardous substances and flammable chemicals. Facilities are required to update and resubmit their risk management plan at least once every five years. The information is used by the EPA and state and local agencies to help assess chemical risks to surrounding communities and to prepare for emergency responses.
In addition, today the EPA opened a public comment period on potential revisions to its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations, a result of President Obama’s Executive Order 13650 to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce the risk of hazardous chemicals to workers and communities. During the 90-day comment period EPA is asking for information about safety management approaches to enhance public health and safety, and aid local fire, police, and emergency response personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies. EPA is also seeking comment on adding additional risk management program elements, such as using inherently safer technology, automated monitoring of releases, emergency drills, and addressing facility location (siting) risks.
For information on the Clean Air Act/Risk Management Plan requirements, please visit the EPA’s Chemical Emergency Prevention and Preparedness web site at: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/rmp/index.htm
For more information on EO 13650, please visit: https://www.osha.gov/chemicalexecutiveorder
To view EPA’s Request for Information and provide public comment, visit http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/eo_improving_chem_fac.htm