Making RMP hazard assessment meaningful



The Brazoria County Petrochemical Council, 13 companies that are working together to enhance relations between industry and the community, united in a joint effort at complying with the EPA's Risk Management Program. One of the significant issues the group had to address was the need to develop meaningful hazard assessment for presentation to the public. The EPA's “Table Look-Up Approach” found in the Offsite Consequence Analysis Guidance document is certainly a good tool; however, the built-in conservatism results in over-estimates of potential hazard areas. Much more meaningful results are shown to be obtained using one of the hazard release models.

The value of using a credible scenario with realistic meteorological data is demonstrated through the consistently smaller areas predicted by the PHAST Model for planning purposes. Realistic scenarios/failure modes and realistic model parameters are important so that the risk to the public is not overstated. Proprietary models such as PHAST are invaluable in providing more meaningful consequences for planning purposes.