Keeping Up With Growing Spills-related Regulations

anne News

Compliance with environmental regulations related to releases of hazardous materials, diesel fuel and other regulated substances can be a very demanding responsibility, especially if you operate multiple facilities and run trucks over the road. Accidents involving commercial vehicles commonly result in spills requiring cleanup and site remediation. They also involve mandatory reports to regulatory agencies to remain in compliance.

Fines and penalties for non-compliance with reporting regulations vary from one jurisdiction to another, and the potential for multiple jurisdictions with separate reporting requirements exists in every incident. A spill in one of the five boroughs of New York City, for example, requires that reports be made to county, state and federal authorities – plus to the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection. Failure to make the city report, can cost $25,000 a day, with each day being a separate violation.

Nearly 30,000 federal, state/provincial and local jurisdictions across the U.S. and Canada require incident reports from spill generators. Keeping up with them is a daunting task. Plus, reportable quantities vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. When in doubt about whether a spill involves a reportable quantity, report it. Failure to file required reports can bring stiff fines and penalties, making it unwise to try to cover up a spill.

The key to staying out of trouble with environmental authorities and avoiding fines is in knowing which reports you owe to whom after accidental releases of fuel, spent solvents, cleaning materials, toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials used in a typical fleet operation. Maintain current reporting requirements and contacts for every jurisdiction in which your equipment operates to protect yourself from fines for non-compliance with environmental reporting regulations.

Rely on Compliance Experts

Compliance experts can help. Spill CenterĀ®, for example, has been assessing and managing spills for clients and providing 24/7 reporting services and assistance with technical and legal aspects associated with spills throughout North America for more than 20 years. Spill Center compliance associates, who include legal, technical and environmental specialists, coordinate spill response and complete telephone and written reports for clients.

They fill out more than 300 US DOT Incident Report Forms each month as part of Spill Center’s program of spill-related services for clients – more incident reports for clients than any other organization in the country. As such, we were recognized with a seat on the US DOT Task Force on proposed rulemaking for the DOT 5800.1 Incident Report.

We are experts at NRC, EPA, DOT, state, and local reports, and we can ensure that your reports are completed accurately and filed on time. Even if you’re comfortable filing your own reports, we are working every day to add new online report generation tools to cut down on your paperwork.

The Spill Center program was developed to help level the playing field for spill generators who are forced to deal with regulatory authorities, cleanup contractors and third-party claimants. Our clients range from the largest truckload, LTL and private fleets, to small fleets, chemical, environmental and insurance companies and truck leasing companies. We have been helping carriers, shippers, truck leasing & rental companies, chemical companies and insurers contain costs and limit liability related to environmental spills since 1990.

Kristi Smith, Claims Supervisor at Daily Express, Inc., based in Carlisle, Pa., observes: “It’s difficult to know every environmental regulation for every locality throughout the country. Spill Center offers that expertise everywhere, around the clock. It’s nice to know that you have it so that you’re not inadvertently violating regulations or forgetting to make notifications.

“It’s not an insurance company’s responsibility to report spills to the authorities. And they don’t pay fines for failure to report,” Kristi relates. “You can call the Spill Center, and they make sure that all the right authorities are notified. You can be sure all the steps needed to contain the spill and limit cleanup costs are taken care of, too.”

At Spill Center, we have developed a highly sophisticated spill reporting and documentation program that is applied to the management of every incident that we handle for clients. We maintain a database of current regulations for the thousands of federal, state, provincial and local jurisdictions throughout North America. Another database has up-to-date information on over 3,000 cleanup contractors qualified to handle environmental spills.