KDHE Chemical Spill Reporting Regulations Become Final

Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment

KDHE Chemical Spill Reporting Regulations Become Final

In 2021, Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA), and other stakeholders worked with the Kansas Dept. Health and Environment (KDHE) in passing legislation authorizing KDHE to establish minimum thresholds for reporting spills of hazardous chemicals.

Previously, all spills of any size were required to be reported even if the spill was of a volume that was of such low risk as to pose no risk to human or animal health or the environment.

This was a notable departure from the standards set by other states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Such a reporting system caused confusion for regulated persons, and unnecessarily burdened the agency with reviewing notifications of de minimis spills. KDHE has now adopted final Spill Reporting Regulations that establish those minimum reporting thresholds of chemical spills.

Under the new regulations, the minimum reporting spill standards are consistent with the U.S. EPA and other states. KDHE’s proposed language for reporting discharges of liquid and dry fertilizer and bulk pesticide mirror the thresholds in the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) regulations.

The agribusiness industry is currently required to report ag chemical spills to both KDHE and KDA. KARA notified KDHE of this redundancy, and the agencies agreed to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to allow our industry to only notify KDHE through Kansas’ WebEOC All Hazards Reporting System (785-291-3333). KDHE will then notify KDA.

KDA regulations require reporting for the following spills:

K.A.R. 4-4-954 requires the following to be reported to the secretary within 48 hours: any discharge of either 1000 pounds or more of dry fertilizer outside the handling or working area, or 100 gallons or more of liquid fertilizer into the secondary containment structure or area or any other portion of the storage facility.

K.A.R. 4-10-1b requires the owner or operator of each anhydrous ammonia storage facility or any equipment to report to the secretary each accidental or unauthorized release of 100 pounds or more of anhydrous ammonia within 48 hours after the release.

K.A.R. 4-13-25g(b) requires the owner or operator of a bulk pesticide storage facility to notify the secretary within 48 hours of any discharge not contained by secondary containment. These changes are good public policy that decrease unnecessarily onerous notification requirements for small releases, promote consistency, and protect human and animal health and the environment.