United States
                         Environmental Protection
                          Office of Solid Waste and
                          Emergency Response
September 1994


 EPA is authorized to
 collect information on
 accidental releases
 under: section 3007(a) of
 the Resource Conservation
 and Recovery Act (RCRA);
 section!04(b)(l)  ' '  .
 and (e) of the 
 EPA's Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) leads ,
 the effort to deal with chemical accidents. The Agency began its chemical acci-
 dent prevention program in 1986. To identify the steps that could be taken by
 industrial facilities to prevent releases, the Agency needed information on the
 causes of accidents and, industry prevention practices. At .that time, the only data
 available focused on the quantities released rather than causes. To develop new
 information on accident causes, EPA initiated the Accidental Release Information
 Program (ARIP). The program involves collecting information by questionnaire
 from facilities that have had significant releases of hazardous substances, devel-,
 oping a national accidental release database, analyzing the collected informa-
 tion, and disseminating the results of the analysis to those involved in chemical
 accident prevention activities. ARIP also  helps to focus industry's attention on
 the causes of accidental releases arid the means to prevent them.
1 Environmental
 Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA);'
 section 308(a)of the Clean Water Act; and section 114 of
 the amended Clean Air Act. These statutes require that
 the information be furnished either to develop regula- _
 tions, conduct enforcement, or determine the need to
 respond to or prevent accidental chemical releases.
 Selection of Facilities to Survey

 U.S. facilities are required by law to report non-routine
 releases of certain substances when those releases.
 exceed a reportable quantity (RQ). These reports are
 called in to the National Response Center, the U.S.
 Coast Guard, and EPA regional offices. EPA compiles
 the reports into the Emergency Response Notification
 System (ERNS) database. EPA then uses ERNS data to
 select releases for the ARIP questionnajre.The ERNS
                          database includes a wide range of releases from both
                          fixed facilities and transportation. Since the Department
                          of Transportation is responsible for transportation acci-
                          dents and OSHA is responsible for accidents affecting
                          workers, ARIP targets those accidental releases at fixed
                          facilities that resulted in offrsite consequence or envi-
                          ronmental, damage. OffTsite consequence includes any
                          casualty, evacuation, shelter-in-place, or any'other nec-
                          essary precaution taken by individuals off-site as a
                          result of the release. Environmental damage includes
                          wildlife kills, significant vegetation damage, soil conta-
                          mination, and ground and surface water contamination.
                         , Not all non-routine releases reported in ERNS result
                          from accidents. To focus on significant accidents, an,
                          ARIP questionnaire is sent to all facilities with releases
                          that resulted in death or injury. If the release also result-
                          ed in off-site consequence or environmental damage,
                          then the facility must complete the questionnaire.
Chemical Emergency Preparedness .and Prevention Office
                                                       \Priritedon recycled paper

                               Accidental Release Information Program (ARIP)
                                      September 1994
ARIP Questionnaires

The ARIP questionnaire consists of 23 questions about
the facility, the circumstances and causes of the incident,
and the accidental release prevention practices and tech-
nologies in place prior to, and added or changed as a
result of, the event. The questionnaire focuses on several
areas'of accident prevention including hazard assess-
ments, training, emergency response, public notification
procedures, mitigation techniques, and prevention equip-
ment and controls.
The EPA regions send each selected facility a package
that contains a cover letter explaining the ARIP program,
the criteria for completing the questionnaire, and direc-
tions for completing the ARIP questionnaire.  Part A of
the questionnaire contains the available EPA information
about the event from the ERNS database. Part B of the
questionnaire contains questions concerning the facility,
substance released, and prevention practices. The facility
is asked to verify and correct the ERNS information in
Part A, to complete Part B of the questionnaire, and to
return both parts to the regional office. The regional office
then forwards a copy of the completed questionnaire to
EPA headquarters. Verified ERNS information is used to
validate the ERNS database for these events.

ARIP Database
When EPA headquarters receives the questionnaire,
the responses are entered into a national database. EPA
also files copies of the questionnaire for future reference.


EPA has used the database to define areas where further
information is needed, to disseminate information about
accident causes, and to help develop program and regu-
latory initiatives. ARIP data help to focus attention on
accidents and prevention methods and technologies.
Analysis of ARIP information and the resulting insights
into the nature of chemical accidents are published in
EPA reports that are shared with interested individuals
and organizations. In June, 1989, EPA published a chemi-
cal accident prevention bulletin entitled, "Why Accidents
Occun Insights from the Accidental Release Information
Program/* which summarized the results and lessons
learned from initial analysis of the ARIP data. This publi-
cation was targeted to State Emergency Response
Commissions (SERCs) and Local Emergency Planning
Committees (LEPCs) and was designed to enhance their
understanding of accident causes and steps used to pre-
vent accidents.
ARIP also builds understanding of accident prevention
issues in EPA regions and verifies the information in the 
ERNS database for use in other EPA efforts. For example,
EPA regions use ARIP data as background material to
assist in chemical safety audits and investigations.

In addition, AREP provides a means of focussing the
attention of industry management on chemical accident
prevention. Through trade groups and associations,
facility managers can be informed about ARIP findings
on common types of releases and ways to prevent them.
Further, when provided with ARIP information, SERCs
and LEPCs become more knowledgeable about chemical
accident prevention and can more effectively communi-
cate with facilities.
ARIP data have also been supplied to the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development to support
international analysis of accidents. Currently, ARIP data
and findings are being used by EPA in support of'the
development of the regulations for chemical accident
prevention as mandated by section 112(r) of the amended
Clean Air Act.


EPA conducted a pilot test of the ARIP survey in early
1987 and instituted the program nationwide later that
year. The facility selection was based on casualty, quanti-
ty of material, typ^ of chemical, and frequency of releas-
es. During late fall of 1988, EPA refined and expanded
the survey questions to emphasize prevention concepts,
and the selection criteria were modified to target facilities
better. In January, 1989, EPA prepared a draft interim
report on the ARIP analysis. The report suggested that
facility management should encourage further use of
technologies and practices to prevent chemical accidents.
For example, one of the reports findings indicated that
inspection and preventive maintenance on equipment
and instruments should become more widespread, espe-
cially on piping systems.
In July, 1991, changes in the information collection effort
were instituted to streamline the data-gathering process
and verify accidental release information in the ERNS
database. In July, 1993, the basis for selecting facilities
was changed from a quantity of material released to off-
site impact and environmental damages, thus focussing
the survey more appropriately on significant accidents.
The ARIP survey has been approved by the Office  of
Management and Budget through September 30,1995.
 For more information...
 Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 7:30 pm, eastern time
                                                           Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office