What is the responsibility of transportation owners or operators in the event of a spill or release of extremely hazardous substances or CERCLA hazardous substances?
Although owners or operators of facilities in transportation or those that store substances under active shipping papers are not required to notify state and local authorities with regard to Section 302 emergency planning, they are required to report releases under Section 304.
With regard to stationary facilities, Section 304 requires owners and operators to report releases to the local emergency planning committee and to the state emergency response commission. Owners and operators of facilities in transportation under Section 304 are allowed to call the 911 emergency number or in the absence of a 911 number, the operator, in lieu of calling the state commission and local committee. The rationale for this separate reporting is that transportation operators on the road most likely will not know the telephone numbers of all relevant state and local entities on their routes.
If the transportation operator is in a community which has a generic emergency number rather than 911, the generic number should be used. If the release is of a CERCLA hazardous substance, a call to the National Response Center is also required. Local committees should consider training all personnel responsible for receiving telephone notice of such a release, so that proper notification procedures will be maintained.