Frequent Questions

Definition and data sources of "environmental receptor"

The Risk Management Program rule requires owners or operators of covered processes to define in the risk management plan (RMP) the potential offsite public and environmental receptors within the impact range of identified worst case and alternative release scenarios. What is the definition of "environmental receptor"? What data sources are acceptable for identification of environmental receptors?

Environmental receptor is defined at 40 CFR §68.3 as "natural areas such as national or state parks, forests, or monuments; officially designated wildlife sanctuaries, preserves, refuges, or areas; and Federal wilderness areas" which could be exposed to an accidental release. A stationary source owner or operator may rely on information provided on local U.S. Geological Survey maps or on any data source containing U.S.G.S. data to identify these environmental receptors (61 FR 31720; June 20, 1996). Habitats of endangered and threatened species are not included in the definition of "environmental receptor" because information about the locations of these habitats is often not publicly accessible. Natural resource agencies will have access to submitted RMPs, and will be able to raise concerns with local officials about potential harm to critical habitats, as necessary. EPA hopes that potentially affected environmental receptors that are not specifically included will become the subject of dialogue on environmental risks between stationary sources and the environmental community.

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