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560 FW 3
Reporting Releases of Hazardous Substances, Oil Discharges, and Contaminated Sites

Supersedes 560 FW 3, 10/28/2013

Date: March  15, 2022

Series: Pollution Control and Environmental Compliance

Part 560: Pollution at FWS Facilities

Originating Office: Infrastructure Management Division

PDF Version

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Topics

Sections

3.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?

3.2 What is the scope of this chapter?

3.3 What is the Service policy on reporting releases of hazardous substances, oil discharges, and contaminated sites?

3.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?

3.5 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter?

3.6 Who is responsible for reporting releases?

3.7 What is the National Response Center (NRC)?

3.8 What are the notification/reporting requirements?

3.9 What should Project Leaders/Facility Managers know about Federal versus State and local requirements when reading this chapter? 

3.10 Where can employees find additional information about reporting releases of hazardous substances, oil discharges, and contaminated sites?

 

OVERVIEW

 

3.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter identifies U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) requirements and procedures for reporting:

 

A. Releases of hazardous substances;

 

B. Oil discharges;

 

C. Transportation accidents involving releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants, including oil;

 

D. Liquid and gas pipeline releases; and

 

E. Contaminated sites. 

 

3.2 What is the scope of this chapter?

 

A. This chapter applies to reporting releases or threats of release of hazardous substances; pollutants or contaminants, including oil discharges; and contaminated sites that occur on Service lands and/or facilities or as a result of our activities on other lands.

 

B. Service facilities are buildings, installations, structures, land, public works, equipment, aircraft, vessels, and other vehicles and property that we own, construct, manufacture, or lease.

 

3.3 What is the Service policy on reporting releases of hazardous substances, oil discharges, and contaminated sites? Our policy is to:

 

A. Comply with all applicable Federal, State, Tribal, local, and Service-specific reporting regulations and requirements; and

 

B. Report releases to the appropriate agencies in a timely manner.

 

3.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?

 

A. Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) (as amended by the Oil Pollution Act (OPA)).

 

B. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.).

 

C. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations on:

 

(1) Immediate Notice of Certain Hazardous Materials Incidents (49 CFR 171.15);

 

(2) Transportation of Natural and other Gas by Pipeline: Annual Reports, Incident Reports, and Safety-Related Condition Reports (49 CFR 191); and

 

(3) Transportation of Hazardous Liquids by Pipeline (49 CFR 195).

 

D. Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. 11001 et seq.).

 

E. Executive Order 12088, Federal Compliance with Pollution Control Standards.

 

F. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “List of Lists, Consolidated List of Chemicals Subject to EPCRA, CERCLA, and Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act,” EPA 550-B-12-003, October 2012.

 

G. U.S. EPA regulations on:

 

(1) Discharge of Oil (40 CFR 110),

 

(2) Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste (40 CFR 261),

 

(3) National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) (40 CFR 300),

 

(4) Designation, Reportable Quantities, and Notification (40 CFR 302),

 

(5) Emergency Planning and Notification (40 CFR 355), and

 

(6) Toxic Pollutants (40 CFR 401.15).

 

3.5 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter?

 

A. Contaminant: As defined in the Safe Drinking Water Act, contaminants are any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water.

 

B. Discharge (including a substantial threat of discharge): Discharges include, but are not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping of oil. The following discharges are excluded:

 

(1) Discharges that comply with a permit under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act;

 

(2) Discharges resulting from circumstances identified, reviewed, and made a part of the public record with respect to a permit issued or modified under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act, and subject to a condition in such permit; or

 

(3) Continuous or anticipated intermittent discharges from a point source, identified in a permit under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act, and caused by events occurring within the scope of relevant operating or treatment systems.

 

C. Hazardous liquid: Hazardous liquids include petroleum, petroleum products, or anhydrous ammonia (see 49 CFR 195.2).

 

D. Hazardous substance: 

 

(1) Hazardous substances include:

 

(a) Any substance listed in 40 CFR 302.4, Table 302.4 (“List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities”);

 

(b) Clean Water Act hazardous substances listed in 40 CFR 117.3, Table 117.3 (“Reportable Quantities of Hazardous Substances”);

 

(c) Any element, compound, mixture, solution, or substance designated as hazardous under section 102 of CERCLA (these are all radionuclides);

 

(d) Hazardous wastes having the characteristics identified under or listed in section 3001 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 6921) (but not including any waste for which Congress has suspended its regulation) (see also 561 FW 6, Hazardous Waste Management);

 

(e) Toxic pollutants listed under section 307(a) of the Clean Water Act (which you also can find at 40 CFR 401.15.);

 

(f) Hazardous air pollutants listed in section 112 of the Clean Air Act; and

 

(g) Imminently hazardous chemical substances or mixtures that EPA has taken action on under section 7 of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

 

(2) Hazardous substances do not include petroleum, natural gas, natural gas liquids, liquefied natural gas, or synthetic gas usable for fuel.

 

E. Navigable waters: Navigable waters are the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas (see the Clean Water Act, sec. 502(7)).

 

F. Pollutant: Pollutant, as defined in the Clean Water Act, includes dredged spoil; solid waste; incinerator residue; sewage; garbage; sewage sludge; munitions; chemical wastes; biological materials; radioactive materials; heat (elevated temperature); wrecked, or discarded equipment; rock; sand; cellar dirt; and industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste discharged into water. Also included in the Clean Air Act are pollutants that cause or may cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental and ecological effects.

 

G. Release (including the threat of release):

 

(1) A release means any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment (including the abandonment or discarding of barrels, containers, and other closed receptacles) of any hazardous substance.

 

(2) In this chapter, releases do not include:

 

(a) Those solely within a workplace and not to the environment (we report this type of discharge or release to the servicing Safety Manager);

 

(b) Emissions from the engine exhaust of a motor vehicle, rolling stock, aircraft, vessel, or pipeline pumping station engine;

 

(c) Releases of source, byproduct, or special nuclear material from a nuclear incident (the Atomic Energy Act defines the requirements for such incidents);

 

(d) The normal application of fertilizer; and

 

(e) The normal application of registered pesticides in ways that are consistent with the pesticides' purpose and label.

 

H. Reportable Quantity (RQ): An RQ is the quantity of any hazardous substance that, when released into the environment, must be reported to the National Response Center (see section 3.7). The RQs are in 40 CFR 302, Table 302.4 and EPA’s List of Lists.

 

I. Serious Incident: A serious incident is a law enforcement incident, emergency condition, unusual event, or homeland security concern that could focus public interest on the Department or the Service or result in inquiries to the Secretary of the Interior or the Service Director. This includes natural or human-caused disasters (i.e., hazardous materials spills) occurring on lands under the jurisdiction of the Service causing significant damage. See 054 FW 1, Serious Incident Notification Procedures, for what the Service considers a serious incident.  A Serious Incident Report (SIR) is the mechanism for reporting serious incidents in accordance with 054 FW 1.

 

J. Threat of a Discharge or Release: The definitions of “discharge” and “release” include the threat of discharge or release, but the regulations do not define what “threat” means. Courts have held that a substantial threat exists whenever there is a reasonable cause for concern that a discharge or release may occur. For example, a ship running aground, or an employee finding decrepit, abandoned, or discarded barrels or receptacles containing a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant may constitute a threat of discharge or release.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

 

3.6 Who is responsible for reporting releases? See Table 3-1.

 

Table 3-1: Responsibilities for Reporting Releases of Hazardous Substances, Oil Discharges, and Contaminated Sites

These employees…

Are responsible for…

A. The Director

Approving or not approving Servicewide policy.

B. The Chief –National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS)

Overseeing the development and maintenance of Service policy for reporting discharges and releases at Service lands and/or facilities.

 

C. Regional Directors

 

(1) Ensuring implementation of requirements for reporting discharges and releases in their respective Regions; and

 

(2) Ensuring funding is allocated to support required responses to discharges and releases in compliance with Federal, State, Tribal, and local laws.

D. The Chief, Infrastructure Management Division (IMD) in NWRS

(1) Developing policy for the proper reporting of discharges and releases, and

 

(2) Providing technical assistance through the Branch of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability regarding reporting discharges and releases in the Regions.

E. Regional Environmental Compliance Coordinators (RECCs)

(1) Providing technical assistance to Project Leaders/Facility Managers for the reporting of discharges and releases; and

 

(2) Coordinating with Project Leaders/Facility Managers to ensure that they report discharges and releases to the EPA, National Response Center (NRC), or State, when appropriate.

F. Safety Managers

Providing technical assistance, including information on required training, to the RECCs and Project Leaders/Facility Managers to minimize risk to human health associated with discharges and releases.

G. Project Leaders/ Facility Managers

 

(1) Notifying the Regional Spill Response Coordinator and the RECC about discharges and releases, and if needed, seeking assistance on determining whether a release or discharge constitutes a reportable release;

 

(2) Contacting the NRC to provide the relevant site information if a release or discharge constitutes a reportable release;

 

(3) Notifying the servicing Safety Manager about discharges and releases;

 

(4) Reporting serious incidents (as defined in section 3.5.I) to the Service Duty Officer (1-888-519-3606) within 1 hour of the incident, or as soon as possible after the incident, regardless of the day of the week or time of the day.

 

(5) Notifying the State environmental agency about reportable discharges and releases, if required; 

 

(6) Securing the scene and waiting for instructions for further actions. For example, responses to oil discharges may require personnel to follow procedures that are different from a response to a release of hazardous substances;

 

(7) Ensuring that discovery and notification actions for oil discharges follow the procedures in the Service’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan and the corresponding Regional plans;

 

(8) Ensuring that personnel involved in oil discharge response document the notification process on FWS Form 3-2398, Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Incident Report, or its equivalent; and

 

(9) Ensuring that stations having a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan follow the notification procedures identified in their plan.

H. Employees

(1) Following applicable regulations and Service policy when reporting discharges and releases to Service property, and

 

(2) Completing necessary training on reporting discharges and releases to Service property relevant to their duties.

 

NOTIFICATION AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

 

3.7 What is the National Response Center (NRC)?

 

A. The NRC, located at U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Headquarters, is the sole national point of contact for all pollution incident reporting.

 

B. In addition to gathering and distributing spill data for Federal On-Scene Coordinators and serving as the communications and operations center for the National Response Team, the NRC maintains agreements with Federal agencies to make additional notifications about incidents meeting established trigger criteria.

 

C. The NRC requires information about what, where, when, and why the incident happened, and the name, address, and phone number of the person who is reporting the incident.

 

D. The telephone number for the NRC is 800-424-8802 or 202-267-2675.

 

3.8 What are the notification/reporting requirements? See Table 3-2.

 

Table 3-2: Notification/Reporting Requirements

Type of Release/Discharge

Employees must…

Regulatory and Service Manual References

A. Release of Hazardous Substances

(1) Notify the Regional Spill Response Coordinator, the RECC, and the servicing Safety Manager about all releases of hazardous substances (including radionuclides). If needed, seek assistance from the Regional Spill Response Coordinator or RECC to determine whether the release exceeds the RQ.

 

(2) Notify the NRC for releases that exceed RQs or if the release is from a vessel into navigable waters and provide relevant site/location information.

 

(3) Notify the Service Duty Officer (1-888-519-3606) within 1 hour of the incident, or as soon as possible after the incident, regardless of the day of the week or time of the day.

40 CFR Part 302 provides RQs and reporting criteria for hazardous substances.

 

EPA’s List of Lists (see section 3.4.F)

 

561 FW 10 gives guidance for complying with CERCLA site cleanup requirements.

 

054 FW 1 provides guidance on reporting serious incidents.

 

B. Oil Discharge

(1) Follow the guidance provided in the Service’s Oil Spill Response Contingency Plan for reporting discharges, even minor discharges, such as those maintenance personnel might encounter.

 

(2) Notify the Regional Spill Response Coordinator, the RECC, and the servicing Safety Manager of any oil discharge.

 

(3) Notify the NRC if the discharge is of a harmful quantity of oil from a vessel or facility into navigable waters. Per EPA, a harmful quantity is any quantity that:

 

·        Causes a film or sheen,

·        Deposits a sludge or emulsion beneath the surface of the water or on adjoining shorelines, or

·        Violates an applicable water quality standard.

 

(4) Notify the Service Duty Officer (1-888-519-3606) within 1 hour of the incident, or as soon as possible after the incident, regardless of the day of the week or time of the day.

40 CFR Part 302 provides RQs.

 

40 CFR 110 requires notification of the NRC.

 

See 561 FW 3 for more guidance on oil discharges and reporting requirements.

 

See the Service’s Oil Spill Response Contingency Plan for requirements.

 

054 FW 1 provides guidance on reporting serious incidents.

 

 

C. Gas Pipeline Release

(1) Notify the Regional Spill Response Coordinator, the RECC, and the servicing Safety Manager of any gas pipeline releases.

 

(2) Notify the NRC when:

 

·        A gas pipeline releases corrosive or flammable gas or liquefied natural gas causing death or injury requiring hospitalization, or

·        There is property damage exceeding $50,000.

 

(3) Notify the Service Duty Officer (1-888-519-3606) within 1 hour of the incident, or as soon as possible after the incident, regardless of the day of the week or time of the day.

49 CFR 191.5 requires notification of the NRC.

 

054 FW 1 provides guidance on reporting serious incidents.

 

D. Liquid Pipeline Release

(1) Notify the Regional Spill Response Coordinator, the RECC, and the servicing Safety Manager about any liquid pipeline releases.

 

(2) Notify the NRC when a pipeline releases hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide that causes:

 

·        Death or injury,

·        An explosion or fire,

·        An escape to the atmosphere of more than five barrels a day of highly volatile liquid or carbon dioxide,

·        Property damage exceeding $50,000, or

·        Pollution of any body of water.

 

(3) Notify the Service Duty Officer (1-888-519-3606) within 1 hour of the incident, or as soon as possible after the incident, regardless of the day of the week or time of the day.

49 CFR 195.52 requires notification of the NRC.

 

054 FW 1 provides guidance on reporting serious incidents.

 

E. Transportation Accident Releases

(1) Report any transportation accidents involving hazardous materials, including radioactive substances, to the NRC, Regional Spill Response Coordinator, the RECC, and the servicing Safety Manager when, as a direct result of the hazardous material release:

 

·        There are deaths or injuries requiring hospitalization,

·        The general public is evacuated for 1 hour or more,

·        A major transportation artery or facility is closed or shut down for 1 hour or more, or

·        Breakage or spillage of an etiologic (disease-causing) agent occurs.

 

(2) Notify the Service Duty Officer (1-888-519-3606) within 1 hour of the incident, or as soon as possible after the incident, regardless of the day of the week or time of the day.

49 CFR 171.15 requires notification of the NRC.

 

054 FW 1 provides guidance on reporting serious incidents.

 

F. Abandoned Dump or Waste Sites

Report abandoned dump or waste sites to the RECC.

None.

 

3.9 What should Project Leaders/Facility Managers know about Federal versus State and local requirements when reading this chapter?

 

A. This chapter focuses on Federal (EPA, DOT, and USCG) regulations. State regulations vary widely. Project Leaders/Facility Managers are responsible for identifying applicable State and local reporting requirements and notifying the State and local environmental agencies about reportable discharges and releases, if required. 

 

B. Some States require notifications or reports in addition to the Federal requirements. For example, Texas requires any spill of 25 gallons or more of used oil onto land to be reported to their Commission of Environmental Quality. The RECC can help identify any State- or spill-specific notification requirements.

 

C. Reports made to State and local government agencies do not satisfy Federal reporting requirements, and the opposite also is true. If you must notify a State office about a release, you must still notify the appropriate Service offices and the NRC as described in Table 3-2.

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

3.10 Where can employees find additional information about reporting releases of hazardous substances, oil discharges, and contaminated sites? Resources for additional information are:

 

A. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ U.S. TEAM Guide (also known as the Federal TEAM Guide) and the Service’s Supplement to the Guide: These guides provide detailed information about the Federal regulations governing reporting of releases as they apply to Service lands and/or facilities. The guides also include State supplements that have information about State regulations that are more stringent than Federal requirements. The guides are available on the Service’s Environmental Facility Compliance Audit Tracking System (EFCATS) intranet site.  On the EFCATS site, select “View User Guide” to download “A Guide to Using EFCATS” and then navigate to the Audit Handbooks section of the guide.

 

B. EPA’s national response system site.

 

C. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance website.  

 

D. Your RECC: Contact your RECC for more information specific to your facility and your Region. There is a RECC Contact List on the Service’s intranet.

 

For more information about this policy, contact the Infrastructure Management Division, Environmental Compliance Branch. For more information about this website, contact Krista Bibb in the Policy and Regulations Branch (PRB), Division of Policy, Economics, Risk Management, and Analytics.

 

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