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Related Practices
Related Practices

Maryland Proposes Rule Requiring Hazardous Substance Release Reporting

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., October 29, 2009

UPDATE: Click here to view our news alert covering the proposed hazardous substance reporting obligations, published on Friday, October 31 by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Maryland has proposed a new hazardous substance release reporting regulation (published in the Maryland Register October 23, 2009).  In essence, under this regulation anyone who detects a hazardous substance on their property will have to verify whether the reporting thresholds have been exceeded.  If so, then they will need to quickly (within 48 hours after discovery “that the criteria requiring reporting have been met”) provide a thorough report to the State. 

This proposed regulation requires reporting of hazardous substance releases at a responsible person’s property in the event of any of the following triggers:

  1. finding of a contaminant in excess of reporting thresholds in site’s surface or subsurface;
  2. observation of “free-product of a hazardous substance in groundwater”;
  3. release or detection of a hazardous substance in excess of a reportable quantity under federal standards (40 C.F.R. § 302.4);
  4. detection of waste material that was disposed without a permit at hazardous waste levels;
  5. detection of an abandoned tank or container with more than trace residuals of a hazardous substance; or
  6. the site is one where unpermitted disposal of industrial waste occurred.

A fundamental element of the regulation is the reporting threshold.  The proposed regulation establishes specific reporting thresholds for numerous constituents.  Basing its thresholds on federal regional screening levels (formerly known as “preliminary remedial goals”), the State selected generic risk-based numbers as the reporting trigger.  We expect that many will find the reporting thresholds to be very conservative, and that they will likely trigger a significant volume of reports.   

Key issues to consider include the reporting thresholds, timing of when a report becomes due, and the information that needs to be included in these rapid reports.  Comments to MDE will be accepted through November 23.  For more information, contact Pamela Marks at (410) 230-1315 or pmarks@bdlaw.com.

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