PA 16-199—sSB 301

Commerce Committee

Environment Committee


SUMMARY: This act requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner to adopt regulations specifying numerical thresholds for reporting discharges, spills, or other releases of specified substances, materials, and waste (i. e. , regulatory thresholds) to DEEP.

Under the act, a person responsible for a release must report it to DEEP if it exceeds the applicable threshold established in regulations. Under prior law, anyone responsible for causing a release had to report it to DEEP if the released substance, material, or waste posed a threat to human health or the environment, regardless of the amount released. Under the act, the person must continue to report such releases until the regulatory thresholds take effect.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016


Under the act, the DEEP commissioner must adopt regulatory thresholds for reporting discharges, spills, uncontrolled losses, seepages, or filtrations of certain substances to DEEP. In doing so, he may specify the facts that must be included in the report in addition to those the law already requires. Under the law, a person's report must include the name and address of the person reporting the spill; the date, location, amount, and cause of the release; the name and address of the owner of the real or personal property from which the spill occurred; and the reporting person's relationship with the owner. Existing law already allows the commissioner to specify additional information that must be included in the report.


Reporting Requirements

Under the law, the reporting requirement applies to release of specific substances, materials, and wastes under different situations. A release can be a discharge, spill, uncontrolled loss, seepage, or filtration of oil or petroleum; chemical liquids; solid, liquid, or gaseous products; or hazardous wastes that poses a potential threat to human health or the environment. It can be from a ship, boat, barge, or other vessel; a terminal where these substances are loaded and unloaded; or an establishment, vehicle, trailer, or other machine where a substance is accidently, negligently, or otherwise released.

A vessel's master, the person in charge of a terminal, an establishment's owner, and a machine's operator are specifically responsible for reporting a release to DEEP. They and their employers must pay fines if the responsible person fails to report. For most substances, the fine is up to $1,000 for the responsible person and up to $5,000 for the person's employer. The maximum fines increase to $5,000 and $10,000 respectively for gasoline releases.

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