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Gossman Consulting, Inc.

Risk Management Plan Update & Modification

Jim Woodford
Gossman Consulting, Inc.


If you process any of the listed substances found in 40 CFR 68.130 then you had to be in compliance with risk management requirements by June 30, 1999. However, now that you are in compliance, what else do you need to do? This paper takes a look at update and modification issues for risk management plans.


EPA believes that the risk management planning requirements of CAA section 112 (r) complement and support the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986. They also believe that EPCRA improves the ability of communities to prepare for and respond to chemical accidents. EPA proposed its regulation on risk management planning on October 20, 1993. Its requirements apply to facilities that have more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance in a process. On January 31, 1994, EPA promulgated a final rule on the applicable substances and their thresholds.

The final rule concerning Risk Management Programs was published in the Federal Register on June 20, 1996. Updates and corrections have been published since then, and much USEPA and industrial trade group guidance is available. Risk Management Program regulatory application determination is made by reviewing the "List of Regulated Toxic Substances and Threshold Quantities for Accidental Release Prevention" and the "List of Regulated Flammable Substances and Threshold Quantities for Accidental Release Prevention" tables found in 40 CFR 68.130. Let us assume for the moment that the regulation did apply to your facility. You would then have a number of options to consider.


The most conservative approach includes comprehensive compliance that required review and consideration of:
· Off-site consequence analysis for worst case and alternate scenarios
· Five year history of releases
· Integrated prevention program
· Emergency response program
· Risk management plan (RMP)
· Management program supervising implementation of RMP
· Five year revision provisions

The Risk Management Plan itself must contain an executive summary (§ 68.155); the registration for the facility (§ 68.160); the certification statement (§ 68.185); at least one worst-case scenario to cover all Program 2 and 3 processes involving regulated toxic substances; at least one worst-case scenario to cover all Program 2 and 3 processes involving regulated flammables (§ 68.165(a)); the five-year accident history for each process (§ 68.168); and a summary of the emergency response program for the facility (§ 68.180).

Another option is also available according to 40 CFR 68.10, which states that this rule is only applicable if a stationary source "has more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance in the process, as determined under § 68.115." This section of the rule details the determination of "whether more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance is present.…" in regards to regulated toxic and flammable substances listed in 40 CFR 68.130. In other words, it could be demonstrated that this regulation does not apply through regular analysis of toxic substances and flammable substances thus documenting exemption.

However, the bottom line, no matter at what level the regulations applied, you weren't going to escape the general duty clause. According to section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act, which is prevention of accidental releases, "owners and operators of stationary sources producing, processing, handling, or storing [substances listed in § 68.130] have a general duty … to identify hazards which may result from such releases using appropriate hazard assessment techniques, to design and maintain a safe facility taking such steps as necessary to prevent releases, and to minimize the consequences of accidental releases which do occur." Again, for the sake of this paper/presentation, let us assume that you did in fact file a comprehensive risk management plan. Now that you've filed it, what about updates?


There are numerous requirements to update and resubmit your RMP which are based upon whether and what changes occur at your facility. You are required to revise and update your RMP:

There is also a required provision for if, and when, your facility is no longer subject to this part. For example, a waste solvent burning cement plant may decide to cease burning waste solvents, in which case the you must submit a revised registration to EPA within six months indicating that your facility is no longer covered. Exhibit 1 summarizes these update requirements:


You'll need to revise your OCA when a change at your facility results in the distance to an endpoint from a worst-case release rising or falling by at least a factor of two. For example, if you increase your inventory substantially or install passive mitigation to limit the potential release rate, you should re-estimate the distance at an endpoint. If the distance is at least doubled or halved, you must revise the RMP. For most substances, the quantity that would be released would have to increase by more than a factor of five to double the distance to an endpoint.


The available guidance from EPA states that all changes (except replacement in kind) are subject to the management of change of procedures. When processes undergo minor changes (e.g., minor rerouting of a piping run), information is typically added to a PHA file to reflect the change, even though the validity of the PHA is not affected by the modification. These minor changes and the addition of information about the change to the PHA file are not considered a "revision" of the PHA under the part 68. Major changes that "invalidate" a PHA, leading you to "update" or "revalidate" the PHA so that it accurately reflects the hazards of the process, are considered a revision of the PHA under part 68.


If you process one of the regulated substances found in 40 CFR 68.130, then you are affected by risk management plan requirements. Maybe you figured out that you did not have to actually file a risk management plan; but even if that is the case, you still had to go through the motions of making that determination. The bottom line is that you still have to be aware of many different factors either in order to be in or to remain in compliance with applicable portions of the RMP requirements.


  1. FR61/No. 120/Thursday, June 20, 1996; 31667 - 31730, 40CFR Part 68, Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act, Section 112(r)(7); List of Regulated Substances and Thresholds for Accidental Release Prevention, Stay of Effectiveness; and Accidental Release Prevention Requirements Under Section 112(r)(7) of the Clean Air Act as Amended, Guidelines; Final Rules and Notice
  2. General Guidance for Risk Management Programs (40CFR Part 68); EPA 550-B-98-003/ July 1998.
  3. USEPA Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office web site;
  4. USEPA Chemical Accident and Prevention Risk Management Programs web site;
  5. USEPA Chemical Accident Prevention and RMP web site;
  6. Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) web site;
  7. CMA November 1998 Responsible Care News (newsletter);

Table 1. Update and Modification Requirements

Change That Occurs at Your Facility

Date by Which You Must Update and Submit your RMP

No changes occur Within 5 years of initial submission
A newly regulated substance is first listed by EPA Within 3 years of the date EPA listed the newly regulated substance
A regulated substance is first present above its threshold quantity in: 
-- a process already covered; or 
-- a new process.
On or before the date the quality of the regulated substance exceeds the threshold in the process
A change occurs that results in a revised PHA or hazard review Within 6 months of the change
A change occurs that requires a revised off-site consequence analysis Within 6 months of the change
A change occurs that alters the Program level that previously applied to any covered process Within 6 months of the change
A change occurs that makes the facility no longer subject to the requirements to submit a Risk Management Plan Submit a revised registration (indicating that the RMP is no longer required) to EPA within 6 months of the change