The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its final rule that will determine which facilities must begin the preliminary screening requirements of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). The rule, issued November 2, 2007, sets the “screening threshold quantity” (STQ) for a list of “chemicals of interest” (COI). Facilities that possess any listed chemicals at or above the STQ must:

  • register with the DHS Chemical Security Analysis Tool (CSAT); and, 
  • complete and submit an online report known as a “Top-Screen.”

DHS will use this information to determine if the facility presents a high level of risk. If a facility is determined to present a “high level of security risk” it will be required to comply with the substantive security requirements of the CFATS regulation. Facilities have 60 days from the publication of Appendix A in the Federal Register to complete the CSAT Top Screen.

The full list of chemicals of interest (Appendix A) is available online at: www.dhs.gov/chemicalsecurity.

This regulation will impact many industry sectors beyond chemical manufacturing. Among the facilities that are subject to this regulation are pulp and paper mills, petroleum facilities, food and agricultural facilities, metal production and manufacturing facilities, and industrial cleaning facilities.

Businesses should carefully review the COI list, as it has changed significantly from the list proposed in April 2007. For example: 

  • Many of the STQs have been increased and significant additional information is included in the list. 
  • DHS has identified the security issues associated with each chemical. 
  • Security concerns are divided into three main categories: release, theft/diversion, and sabotage/contamination. 
  • DHS has assigned minimum concentration levels for each chemical that would trigger reporting.

There are also general rules applicable to all chemicals within certain security categories.

In response to comments received by the agency, DHS has developed a specialized approach to the following chemicals: 

  • Propane: The proposed STQ was 7,500 pounds; it is now 60,000 pounds, based on an estimate of industrial customers’ usage.
  • Chlorine: The proposed STQ was 1,875 pounds; it is now 2,000 pounds for the release category and 500 pounds for the theft/diversion category.
  •  Ammonium Nitrate (AN): The proposed STQ was 2,000 pounds; now, DHS has created two categories for AN: for AN found in an explosive, referred to as DOT Division 1.1, the STQ is 5,000 pounds; for AN that is commonly found in fertilizer, the STQ is 2,000 pounds.

The final rule also contains a preamble that provides insight into critical implementation issues. For example: 

  • Guidance on how to calculate the STQ for mixtures of chemicals; and 
  • Guidance on specific exemptions and on definitions of containers.

The preamble also clarifies how facilities will need to report the STQ for chemicals present as process intermediates, by-products and incidental production materials.

DHS will be taking down the online reporting system, CSAT, for approximately 10 days to revise the COI figures, consistent with the final rule. During this time, facilities should review their chemical operations to determine if they possess a listed chemical at or above the STQ. If so, they should begin the registration process with CSAT. A key issue in this registration process will be the assignment of the authorizer, submitter and preparer functions.

What should facilities do now?

  1. Review the list of Chemicals of Interest (COI) and determine if your facility possesses those chemicals at or above the listed amount. (Appendix A can be found at: www.dhs.gov/chemicalsecurity.)
  2. Register with the DHS Chemical Security Analysis Tool and identify employees for the required roles.
  3. Employees involved in this process should complete the training and certification for Chemical Terrorism Vulnerability Information (CVI).
  4. Prepare and submit a Top Screen for each facility that will be covered by CFATS within 60 days from the publication of Appendix A in the Federal Register.
  5. Begin preparing a Site Vulnerability Assessment (SVA).