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40 CFR 265.33 – Testing and Maintenance of Emergency Response Equipment

40 CFR 265.33 – Testing and Maintenance of Emergency Response Equipment

In the previous article of this series I described the requirements of 40 CFR 265.32 – Required Equipment.  That section (40 CFR = Title, 265 = Part, 32 = section) identified the equipment (communication, spill response, and fire suppression) required of applicable facilities (LQG’s and SQG’s).  This article will research and explain the next section of Part 265, that of 40 CFR 265.33 – Testing and Maintenance of Equipment.

40 CFR 265.33 reads:

All facility communications or alarm systems, fire protection equipment, spill control equipment, and decontamination equipment, where required, must be tested and maintained as necessary to assure its proper operation in time of emergency.

As stated earlier, §265.32 identified the equipment required of an LQG or SQG, including:

  • Internal and external communication devices.
  • Fire fighting equipment.
  • Spill control and decontamination equipment.
  • Water at sufficient volume to supply fire fighting systems.

This section requires the testing and maintenance of that equipment.  Note the following:

  • The regulations take into account the fact that some equipment may not be required in §265.32 and therefore does not require testing and maintenance.
  • The type and frequency of testing and maintenance is intentionally not defined by the USEPA, “…tested and maintained as necessary…”.  This is due to the variety of systems and equipment encompassed by these regulations (communication, alarm, fire, spill control, etc.).  It is up to you as the owner of the facility to determine compliance based on guidance from the equipment manufacturer, industry standards, your insurance provider, Fire Marshall, and if applicable, OSHA standards.
  • Though the regulations do not require the maintenance of a record for a specified period of time to demonstrate compliance as it does for other RCRA Regulations (Read:  Recordkeeping Requirements of RCRA), it is a good idea to maintain some form of a record and make it available upon inspection if necessary.
  • A frequent occurrence in industry is the slow erosion of spill control and decontamination equipment reserved for emergencies as it is consumed for routine spills and housekeeping.  Communicate and enforce policies to ensure emergency equipment is only used in emergencies.  Other resources should be made available to employees to provide equipment for non-emergency clean-ups.  In addition, routine inspections (perhaps weekly with your inspection of hazardous waste accumulation areas) is a good way to ensure necessary emergency equipment is available.

This section expands upon the regulations of 40 CFR 265.32 to have the necessary emergency equipment to require you to maintain that equipment in a state of readiness for any emergency that may occur at your facility.

Look for my next article in this series where I’ll take a close look at 40 CFR 265.34 – Access to communications or alarm systems.

Please contact me to discuss the requirements of 40 CFR 265, Subpart C – Preparedness and prevention, the training requirements for facility personnel, or any other questions you may have about the management of hazardous waste.