Reporting Spills Under Michigan’s Industrial Storm Water Program
To properly understand when to report spills per the MDEQ’s Industrial Storm Water Program, it is necessary to pick through some rules. The Part 5 rules, Spillage of Oil and Polluting Materials, contain the basis for reporting spills in the general storm water permit for discharges associated with industrial activity.
Specifically, certain spills of “polluting materials” are reportable. Note that polluting materials are limited to oil, salt and any material specified in Table 1 of the Part 5 Rule. These materials are defined as follows:
Oil refers to oil of any kind or in any form, including petroleum, gasoline, fuel oil, grease, oily sludges, oil refuse and oil mixed with waste.
Salt means sodium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride, and solutions or mixtures of these compounds in solid or liquid form.
Table 1 includes well over 500 compounds including several common chemicals such as nitric, phosphoric and sulfuric acids, butyl acetate, ethylbenzene, styrene, toluene and xylene.
A spill of one of these materials must be reported if the spill meets the definition of a Threshold Reporting Quantity (TRQ). A TRQ is defined as:
Release of oil to the surface of the ground: 50 pounds
Release of oil to the waters of the state: any quantity that causes unnatural turbidity, color, visible sheens, oil films, foams, solids, or deposits in the receiving waterbody.
Release of salt to the surface of the ground, or waters of the state: 50 pounds in solid form, unless the use is authorized by the department for deicing purposes, or 50 gallons in liquid form, unless authorized by the department as a dust suppressant or deicing agent
For releases of all other polluting materials to the surface of the ground, or waters of the state, the quantity specified in table 1, or any quantity that causes unnatural turbidity, color, visible sheens, oil films, foams, solids, or deposits in the receiving waterbody.
The TRQ may be as little as one pound or as much as 500 pounds. It’s a good idea to review the table to see which of these chemicals are at your facility. A release of polluting materials at or above the TRQ must be reported.
First, a report within 24 hours must be provided by calling the MDEQ’s 24-Hour Pollution Emergency Alerting System (PEAS) telephone number at 800.292.4706. A written report must be submitted within ten days to the MDEQ that includes the following:
An explanation of the cause of the release
The discovery of the release
Response measures taken; and
Preventive measures taken or a schedule for completion of measures to be taken to prevent reoccurrence.
There are also reporting requirements for spills that do not meet the criteria described above as materials associated with regulated storm water industrial activity are considered significant materials. Significant materials can include but are not limited to raw materials, fuels, solvents, detergents, plastic pellets; finished materials, wastes and fertilizers. Any quantity of a spill of these materials that cause unnatural turbidity, color, visible sheens, oil films, foams, solids, or deposits in the receiving waters is also a reportable event.
A complete table of Michigan reporting requirements can be found here.
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