CHAPTER 2

GENERAL PERMITTING REQUIREMENTS

 

A.  SELECTED DEFINITIONS

Storage Facility means any building or buildings, appurtenant structures, equipment pipe or pipeline, well, pit, pond, lagoon impoundment, ditch, landfill, vehicle, storage container, or any site or area and surrounding land area used by a person or entity, at a single location or site, for the use, storage, placement, consumption, management, disposal, handling, on-site transfer and on-site transportation of hazardous materials.

Storage System means any one or combination of tanks, sumps, wet floors, waste treatment facilities, pipes, vaults, or other portable or fixed containers, used or designed to be used, for the storage of hazardous materials at a facility.

 

Sump means a pit or well in which liquids collect.

 

B.  PERMITTING

 

Who Must have a Permit?  33-18.1, 33-18.3

 

Any person or entity who uses, stores, consumes, manages, disposes, transfers or handles any hazardous material in, on, or about a storage facility must obtain and maintain a hazardous materials storage and handling permit that is applicable to   the facility classification.  The permit must be obtained from the City of Laredo Fire Department, and must be kept current. 

Each hazardous material storage facility must have at least one permit for each single location or site.  The Fire Department may require a person or entity to have additional permits for a  single location or site depending on the layout and size of the storage facility or site; the different classifications of the storage facility; the complexity of the types of storage; the proximity of the storage buildings and storage systems; or enforcement or emergency response considerations.

 

What is the Cost of a Permit? 33-18.3

 

The annual permit fee for a hazardous materials storage facility is five hundred dollars ($500.00).  The person or entity applying for or renewing the permit must pay at the hazardous materials management permit office either in cash, with a cashier's check, business check, or money order made payable to the City of Laredo.  Any further administrative fees shall be as set forth in the schedule of fees established by the Laredo City Council.

For a first time permit applicant, the permit fee must be paid at the time the application is submitted to the hazardous materials management permit office.  For a renewing applicant, the annual permit fee is submitted along with the renewal application to the hazardous materials management permit office.   The renewal application must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days before the expiration of the existing permit.  All fees delinquent for thirty (30) days or more shall be subject to an additional charge as determined by City Council. 

There will be no refund or rebate of a permit fee in the case where the permit is denied,  or where the permittee discontinues the activity or use of a facility prior to the expiration of the term,  or where the permit is suspended or revoked prior to the expiration of the term.

All fees collected shall revert to an hazardous materials management permit fund and shall be used for the purposes of administering and enforcing the ordinance and for the planning and development of hazardous materials emergency response measures.

 

What is the Procedure for Applying for a Permit? 33-18.4   Cross Ref to Permit Form     

 

Any person or entity requiring a hazardous materials storage and handling permit must submit an application to the hazardous materials management permit office on the form provided by the Fire Department.  This procedure applies for all permits – new,  renewal, temporary §33-18.16A, §33-18.16C.1 §33-18.16A.10, a variance from a secondary containment requirement, additional approvals, or for a permit transfer.

Certain information is specifically required on the application form.  In addition, each application must be accompanied by the following:

a hazardous materials management plan (HMMP); §33-18.4; §33-18.16A.9; §33-18.16A10; 33-18C.1

a hazardous materials inventory statement (HMIS) §33-18.16A.13, §33-18.16B.6 or §33-18.16C.1.;

construction §33-18.16A. and closure §33-20.1 plans;

certification that the storage facility employer has properly trained its employees §33-18.16A.12, §33-18.16B.4 or §33-18.16C.1;

an emergency response plan for the facility (ERP) §33-18.16B.5 (including 49CFR Part 172 subpart G) or §33-18.16C.1 and §33-18.16A.11;

the quantity limit requested to be permitted;

proof of comprehensive liability insurance; and, as noted above,

the permit fee. 

 

How Long does it Take to Get a Permit?  33-18.4, 33-18.5, 33-18.6

 

When the Fire Department receives a permit application, a designee of the Fire Chief will review the application, and investigate the applicant and the proposed storage facility or storage facility change. 

All installations, constructions, repair or modification, closure, and removal of storage facilities and storage systems shall be performed to the satisfaction of the Fire Department. 

The Fire Chief, or designee, will make a determination to grant or deny the permit within thirty (30) days from the date an application has been submitted, unless the time limit is extended by mutual agreement between the Fire Department and the applicant.

 

What if There is Only a Temporary Storage Need? 33-18.7

 

If the Fire Chief or his/her designee finds that a permit applicant's proposed storage facility is temporary and will not exceed thirty (30) days or occur no more than every six (6) months, the Fire Chief or his/her designee may approve a temporary permit for a temporary classification if the storage facility is in compliance with §33‑18.16C.1.

 

Who Gives Final Approval and  Issues a Permit? 33-18.8A & B

 

The Fire Chief or his/her designee is the approving authority for any kind hazardous materials storage and handling permit for any quantity of hazardous materials, for a variance from a secondary containment, for an additional approval, or for a permit transfer.

 The Fire Chief or his/her designee shall not issue an approval until he/she is satisfied that:

  • The applicant has met the requirements of this article; and

  • The applicant has complied with all City ordinances, rules and regulations, including, but not limited to, the zoning ordinance, the building and fire codes, health and sanitation ordinances; and

  • The applicable fee(s) have been paid.

 The Fire Chief or his/her designee shall issue and deliver a hazardous materials storage and handling permit to the applicant upon approval of any kind of hazardous materials storage and handling permit or permit amendment.

 

What Information is on the Issued Permit? 33-18.8C (Cross ref. to Permit Form)

 

Each issued permit will contain the following:

  • permit number;

  • the name and address of the permittee;

  • the company name for the business located at the particular storage facility;

  • the address of the storage facility for which the permit is issued;

  • the type of permit issued (i.e. full, provisional, temporary);

  • the classification of the storage facility;

  • a description of the kind of storage system(s) approved and authorization under the permit, the permit quantity limit(s), and the hazard class or classes approved for the storage facility(s);

  • the effective date and expiration date of the permit; any special conditions additional approvals may be required;

  • the procedures to be in the event of an unauthorized discharge;

  • and a signature line for the permittee accepting the terms and conditions of the permit.

The Fire Department shall keep a record of all approvals and permits issued and all conditions attached thereto.

 

What if a Change is Needed After the Permit is Issued? 33-18.9

 

Physical Changes:  Any permittee who substantially modifies, connects, installs, constructs, repairs, or removes any storage facility or storage  system, contrary to the terms, plans and specifications of the issued permit or prior approvals, shall apply to the hazardous materials management permit office for additional approvals prior to such change.

Changes in Stored Materials:  Any permittee who proposes to store a new and different hazardous material not in accordance with a prior approval, shall apply to the hazardous materials management permit office for additional approvals prior to such change.

Changes Within Hazard Class:  The requirement for prior additional approvals for modifications, etc. does not apply to a permittee who stores a new or different hazardous material with the same hazard class as approved or as stated on the existing permit and where such storage does not increase the hazard of fire or explosion or the hazard of the production of flammable or poisonous gas.  However, the permittee must apply within thirty (30)days for additional approvals for storing the new or different materials.

Minor Repairs:  The requirement for additional approvals for modifications, connections, etc. does not apply to minor repairs. 

Emergency Repairs:   Emergency  repairs may be made to a storage  facility or storage system in advance of seeking an additional approval whenever an immediate repair is required to prevent or contain an unauthorized discharge or to protect the integrity of the containment.  However,  permittee must seek approval from the Fire Department within five (5) working days after such emergency repairs have been started.

Forms for Additional Approvals: The permittee shall apply for and obtain additional approvals on a form provided by the Fire Department, and by submitting drawings or other information adequate to describe the changes to the hazardous materials management permit office.

 

When Does the Permit Become Effective, and What is the Term?  33-l8.10

 

Permit Term:  A hazardous materials storage and handing permit may he issued for a term of one (1) year.  A provisional permit may be issued for any period of time up to six (6) months.   A temporary permit may be issued for no longer than thirty (30) days.

 Effective Date:  No hazardous materials storage and handing permit shall become effective until the permit has been signed and accepted by the permittee.   Where the permittee is a company, firm or corporation, the acceptance must be signed by a person having the legal authority to bind the permittee.

 

How is Permit Renewal Handled? 33-18.11

 

Applications for a renewal or a provisional permit extension of a hazardous materials storage and handing permit shall be made at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration date of such permit. 

If a timely application for renewal has been submitted, the permit shall remain in effect until the Fire Chief or his/her designee has made a determination pursuant to §33-18.6 and §33-18.8 and until all administrative appeals under §33-18.14 have been exhausted.

 

Can a Permit Be Transferred to a New Facility Owner?  33-l8.12

 

Yes, a hazardous materials storage and handling permit may be transferred to new owners of the same storage facility, but only if the new owners accept responsibility for all obligations under this article (Article II of Chapter 33) and the permit at the time of the transfer of the storage facility.  The new owners must document such transfer on an application form provided by the Fire Department within thirty (30) days after the transfer of ownership of the storage facility.

All permit transfers are subject to the approval of the Fire Chief or his/her designee.

 

Can a Permit Application be Denied? 33-l8.13

 

Yes, for Cause:  If the Fire Chief or his/her designee (to whom an application for a hazardous materials storage and handling permit, a variance from secondary containment, an additional approval, or a permit transfer has been made) has cause to deny the application, and determines that the applicant is not eligible for a provisional permit, then the Fire Chief or his/her designee shall deny the application.

Grounds for Denial:  A hazardous materials storage and handling permit, a variance from secondary containment, an additional approval, or a permit transfer shall be denied if the applicant fails to demonstrate adequate conformity to the provisions of this article and compliance with all City ordinances.   In addition a permit can be denied for any of the grounds upon which the permit would be subject to remedial action pursuant to  §33‑18.15.

Notification of Denial:   The applicant shall be notified that his/her application has been denied, and that no permit variance, additional approval or permit transfer will be issued.  The notification will set forth the findings upon which the decision is based.   The notice shall be mailed to the applicant at the address shown on the application form, or the applicant's last known address.

 

C.  APPEALS

 

If a Permit is Denied, What is the Appeal Mechanism?    33-l8.14

 

Right to Appeal:  Any person aggrieved by the action or decision of the Fire Chief or his/her designee to deny an application for a hazardous materials storage and handling permit, a variance from secondary containment, an additional approval or a permit transfer, or to suspend or revoke a permit obtained under this article, not including provisional permits, shall have the right to appeal the action or decision to the Citizen’s Environmental Committee (CEC) within thirty (30) days from the date of deposit of the decision in the mail to the last known address shown on the permit application.

 Where to Appeal:  An appeal may be taken by filing a written statement at the hazardous materials management permit office.  The statement must set forth the specific ground or grounds for the appeal.

 Scheduling Appeal Hearing:  The Fire Chief or his/her designee shall set an appeal hearing before the CEC no  later than thirty (30) days after the date of receipt of the appellant's written statement

 Time and Place of the Hearing:  Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be sent to the appellant by certified mail, postage prepaid, to the appellant address given for purposes of notice on the application or permit, or by personal service in accordance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

 Final Decision:  The decision of the CEC on the appeal shall be final and binding on all parties concerned.

 Hearing Rules:   In any hearing under this section, all parties involved shall have the right to offer testimonial, documentary, and tangible evidence bearing on the issues, to be represented by counsel, and to confront and cross-examine any witnesses against them.  Any hearing under this section may be continued by the person conducting the hearing for a reasonable time upon a showing of good cause.

 

D.  REMEDIAL ACTION 33-l8.15

 

Cause for Remedial Action

 

A permittee may be subject to remedial action for any of the following causes, arising from the acts or omissions by the permittee, either before or after a permit is issued:  

  • Fraud, willful misrepresentation, or any willful inaccurate or false statement when applying where required:

  • Fraud, willful misrepresentation, or any willful inaccurate or false statement in any report plan or document required by this article:

  • Failure to abate, correct, or rectify any noncompliance within the time specified in the notice of noncompliance:

  • Failure to correct conditions constituting an unreasonable risk of an unauthorized discharge of hazardous materials within a reasonable time after notice from a governmental entity other than City;

  • Failure to abide by the remedial action imposed by the Fire Chief or his/her designee;

  • If the permittee refuses to allow any authorized representative(s) of the Fire Department access into any facility or onto any premises for which a hazardous materials permit is requested or authorized, or otherwise willfully obstructs inspections of the facility or premises 

  • If there have been more than two (2) violation(s) of this section within any six (6) month period.

 

Notice of Noncompliance

 

Notice Requirement:   Unless the Fire Chief or his/her designee finds that an immediate suspension is necessary (under 33‑18.15D) to protect the public health or safety from imminent danger, the Fire Chief or his/her designee shall issue a notice of noncompliance to a permittee for the failure to comply with the provisions of this article, any permit condition or any provisions of the HMMP before instituting remedial action.

 Notice Service:   The notice of noncompliance shall be sent by certified mail to the permittee's last known address.

 Notice Contents:    The notice of noncompliance shall include:

  • The statement "You may request a meeting regarding this matter with the person sending you this letter or his/her designee prior to his/her decision to take remedial action.  This request must be in writing and it must be submitted to the Fire Chief at the hazardous materials management permit office within ten (10) days of the post‑marked date on this noncompliance notice"; and

  • The ground(s) upon which the possible remedial action will be based, and

  • The pertinent ordinance section(s), permit condition(s), or portion of the HMMP; and

  • A brief statement of the factual matters in support thereof; and

  • The possible remedial actions the permittee is subject to.

 

Hearing Request

 

Fire Department Action: If no request for a meeting is submitted to the Fire Department by the permittee after ten days from the date the noncompliance notice is mailed, the Fire Chief or his/her designee shall review the noncompliance and determine what remedial action shall be taken.

Fire Department Action After Meeting:   If a request for a meeting is submitted within the time limit the Fire Chief or his/her designee shall not make a final determination of what remedial action to take until after the meeting.

Suspension prior to Meeting:   Whenever the Fire Chief or his/her designee finds that suspension of a permit prior to a decision for remedial action is necessary to protect the public health or safety from imminent danger, the Fire Chief or his/her designee may immediately suspend any hazardous materials storage and handling permit.   The Fire Chief or his/her designee shall immediately notify the permittee of such suspension by having a written notice of the suspension personally served on the permittee or sent by certified mail.  The permittee may appeal the suspension decision according to §33-18.14.

Possible Remedial action:  If the Fire Chief or his/her designee finds that cause exists for remedial action the Fire Chief or his/her designee shall impose upon the permittee one or more of the following:

  • A warning:

  • An order to correct the particular noncompliance specified in the notice within a certain time;

  • Suspension of the permit for the storage facility for a specified period not to exceed six (6) months;

  • Modification or addition of conditions to the permit:

  • Revocation of the permit with no re-application allowed by the permittee for a specified period not to exceed five (5) years:

  • If the ground for remedial action are based on §33‑18.15 (A)(3), (4) or (5), and if such grounds are limited to one storage facility, the remedial action taken shall be limited to that storage facility.

Transmittal of decision:  The Fire Chief or his/her designee shall render a written decision, stating the findings upon which the decision is based and the action taken, if any.

Authority after Suspension, Revocation or Expiration:  The suspension; revocation or expiration of a permit issued under this article shall not prevent any proceedings to investigate such permit any remedial action against such permittee or any proceeding against such permittee.

Return of Permit:  In the event that a permit issued under the provisions of this article is suspended or revoked, the permittee shall forward it to the issuing officer not later than the end of the third (3rd) business day after notification of such suspension or revocation.