Up to 15,000 chemical and industrial plants nationwide may have to evaluate their vulnerability to terrorist attack and plan countermeasures in response to increased Homeland Security measures.
To help these facilities, ENSR International, an environmental and energy services firm, has developed a phased seven-step vulnerability assessment process (described in an ENSR white paper at www.ensr.com/request) for facilities that use, store, or transport chemicals.
Federal lawmakers are now considering two bills requiring facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and submit site security plans to EPA: the Chemical Security Act (Senate Bill S. 157, reintroduced in January 2003) and the Comprehensive Homeland Security Act of 2003 (S. 6).
Senate Republicans and industry, however, favor a self-initiated program, such as the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care® Program. Regardless of specific requirements, the Department of Homeland Security is expected to emphasize voluntary partnerships with industry to get security assessments and countermeasures underway as soon as possible.
"Chemical, pharmaceutical, refinery, petrochemical, and other manufacturing facilities are likely to need additional site security measures," said David Heinold, ENSR Senior Risk Manager and co-author of ENSR's White Paper. "We've developed a Process Hazard Analysis-based vulnerability assessment approach that ensures cost-effective implementation by prioritizing improvements according to risk reduction and costs."
High priority facilities include those with a large quantity of hazardous chemicals or petroleum products, particularly those close to population centers or critical infrastructure. In order to estimate anticipated impacts, ENSR engineers and scientists characterize varied release scenarios to evaluate the potential toxic and flammable hazard consequences.
Co-author Dr. Douglas Smith pointed out that the analysis methods used are based on extensive experience with modeling tools recognized by leading chemical and engineering professionals.
"For 30 years, ENSR has conducted technical analyses and modeling to assess accidental chemical releases for emergency response and risk management planning, as well as investigated actual events. Now, we are using this same expertise to help companies with emergency preparedness and risk reduction associated with the potential terrorist attacks," stated ENSR's Technical Director Dr. Michael Mills, QEP, a national expert regarding releases of toxic and flammable chemicals.
For information on ENSR's integrated approach to vulnerability assessment, request a copy of ENSR's white paper, "Site Vulnerability Assessments for Facilities That Use, Store, or Transport Chemicals" by calling (800) 722-2440 or visiting www.ensr.com/request.
ENSR International (www.ensr.com) is a worldwide environmental and energy development services company with 35 years of experience serving industrial companies from 70 international offices. ENSR won an Environmental Business Journal Business Achievement Award in 2001 and 2002.