Ohio’s Stay-at-Home Order: Considerations for Regulated Operations
Date: March 25, 2020
As Ohio businesses that are considered non-essential under the state’s recently issued Stay-at-Home Order comply with the mandate to suspend operations, those that are considered regulated operations under Ohio law should be aware of additional requirements that might pertain to them.
Ohio’s Cessation of Regulated Operations (CRO) law, codified as Chapter 3752 of the Ohio Revised Code, imposes requirements on owners and operators of certain regulated operations that are temporarily or permanently discontinued. “Regulated operations” include facilities at which extremely hazardous substances, flammable substances, hazardous chemicals, petroleum products and/or hazardous wastes have been produced, used, stored or otherwise handled. Not all facilities that are mandated to suspend operations under the Stay-at-Home Order are subject to the CRO law’s requirements, only those that are required to file a chemical inventory report under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. Covered facilities that temporarily close for 30 days or more but no longer than 365 days are not subject to the CRO law’s requirements if the owner or operator provides a written certification to Ohio EPA within 45 days of discontinuing operations that states that the discontinuation will not exceed 365 days.
Generally, the CRO law mandates that the owner or operator of a facility involved in regulated operations notify regulators of their intent to cease operations and, upon cessation, take steps to secure the building, structure or outside area where chemicals were used or stored against unauthorized entry. In addition, the law generally requires the owner or operator to notify the appropriate regulatory authorities of the hazardous chemicals that were produced, used or stored at the facility while operations were ongoing, and to drain or remove any vessels containing regulated substances that may remain on-site after operations terminate.
The statute distinguishes between permanent and temporary cessation of operations. An owner or operator who intends to permanently cease operations is required, within 30 days of the cessation of operations, to:
- notify Ohio EPA, the local emergency planning commission and the local fire department of the last day of operations;
- secure the facility from unauthorized entry; and
- designate a company representative who will be responsible for addressing emergencies and providing regulators or the fire department with access to the facility.
Within 90 days of the permanent cessation of operations, the owner or operator must:
- submit to the regulators and the fire department a copy of the most recent chemical inventory form required by Ohio Revised Code Section 3750.06;
- submit to the regulators and fire department a current list of chemicals used, produced or handled on-site and a Safety Data Sheet for any chemical not appearing on the list;
- submit to the regulators and the fire department a list of every stationary container (including transformers) left on-site that may contain or be contaminated with regulated substances, the location of every such container and the regulated substance contained in each;
- remove the regulated substances remaining on-site; and
- certify to Ohio EPA that the owner or operator has complied with steps 1-4 above.
An owner or operator who intends to resume operations within 365 days of the cessation of regulated operations is subject to much less stringent requirements. If the owner or operator intends to resume operations within one year, they must notify Ohio EPA in writing within 45 days of the temporary cessation of operations that operations have temporarily ceased but will resume within one year.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information, please contact:
Andrew L. Kolesar
Terrence M. Fay
or your primary contact in Thompson Hine’s Environmental group.
We have assembled a firmwide multidisciplinary task force to address clients’ business and legal concerns and needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see our COVID-19 Task Force page for additional information and resources.
This advisory bulletin may be reproduced, in whole or in part, with the prior permission of Thompson Hine LLP and acknowledgment of its source and copyright. This publication is intended to inform clients about legal matters of current interest. It is not intended as legal advice. Readers should not act upon the information contained in it without professional counsel.
This document may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions.
© 2020 THOMPSON HINE LLP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.