Spill Reporting Reg. Onerous and Impractical
MOE has published two significant spill regulations for comment. One of these will impose new spill reporting rules. The other will prescribe in detail the analysis and content of mandatory Spill Prevention and Contingency Plans.
Spill Reporting: Too Much Information Required
The Spill Reporting regulation will affect everyone who must report a spill to the Spills Action Centre (SAC) under the EPA. This regulation is NOT limited to MISA companies. The regulation lists two pages of details that every person calling the SAC would have to report. Failure to report “forthwith” is an offence under the EPA.
In addition to current requirements, the detailed list requires the person reporting to provide: “…any relevant information regarding the known or suspected cause of the discharge and the circumstances surrounding the discharge”, plus names and telephone numbers of every person contacted to respond: names and telephone numbers of everyone who has a duty to clean-up; description of the area, and of any adverse effects that may occur in prescribe off-site areas; any actions that were taken or “will be taken” to respond, clean-up and restore the environment;
In our view these first contact requirements oblige employees to provide speculative and incriminating information to MOE. The information requested goes far beyond MOE’s immediate needs for response and abatement.
Such an extensive checklist is counterproductive. The complex requirements will slow down or chill immediate reporting, especially by front-line workers intimidated by regulatory reporting. Concerned companies may call their lawyers before calling SAC, which would frustrate MOE’s primary goal. We will be submitting our comments to the MOE.
Spill Prevention and Contingency Plans Regulation
This regulation will set the due diligence standard for everyone, although it will only apply to MISA sectors at first.
The regulation sets out detailed requirements for prevention and contingency plans. These plans will contain surveys, maps and drawings showing all discharge points and potential spill escape routes.
Prevention plans must list all reasonably foreseeable spills, analyze the likelihood of occurrence and identify potential adverse effects and prevention options.
Response plans must ensure full preparedness. All reasonably foreseeable spills must be listed, with assessments of likelihood, potential adverse effects and prevention options.
Deadline for submissions on both regulations to the MOE is January 12, 2007. See EBR posting RAO6E0013.
Download the draft regulations here.
For legal advice on how these regulations may affect your business or municipality call the Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers Spill Due Diligence Team
Donna Shier (416) 862-4822 John Willms (416) 862-4821 Juli Abouchar (416) 862-4836 Marc McAree (416) 862-4820 Doug Petrie (416) 862-4835