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Are these CERCLA events reportable?

Scenario 1: A company releases 10 pounds of ammonia (CAS 7664-41-7) outside a building by accident within a 24-hour period. Is this a reportable event?

Yes

No

Scenario 2: A continuous, radon-220 release of over 0.1 curies from a stockpile happens 24 hours a day as part of normal operations. Is this a reportable event?

Yes

No  

Scenario 3: A waste generator properly disposes of lamps containing one pound or more of mercury into a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitted disposal facility during a 24-hour period. Is this a reportable event?

Yes

No 

Click below to see the answer.

Are these CERCLA events reportable? : Answers

Scenario 1 Answer: No. The statutory reportable quantity (RQ) is one pound (CERCLA 102(b)) for all hazardous substances unless a higher RQ had already been established under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Also, CERCLA 102(a) gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to adjust the RQs for hazardous substances. The release in the scenario was “into the environment” in a 24-hour period, but, according to 40 CFR 302.4, the RQ for ammonia is 100 pounds, a figure that is higher than the amount in the scenario.

Scenario 2 Answer: Yes. According to 40 CFR 302.4 Appendix B, 0.1 curies is the RQ of radon-220. However, note that, according to CERCLA 103(f)(2) and 40 CFR 302.8, a facility has reduced reporting requirements for continuous releases of hazardous substances that exceed the RQ.

Scenario 3 Answer: No. The disposal of hazardous substances into a disposal facility in accordance with EPA regulations is not subject to CERCLA notification provisions. Where the disposal of wastes into permitted or interim status facilities is properly documented through the RCRA manifest system and RCRA regulations are followed, EPA says notification under CERCLA does not provide a significant additional benefit, if the facility is in compliance with all applicable regulations and permit conditions. However, where the person in charge knows that the facility is not in substantial compliance, that person must report the disposal of an RQ or more of a hazardous substance to the National Response Center (NRC). Also, spills and accidents occurring during disposal that result in the release of an RQ or more of a hazardous substance must be reported to the NRC.