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ORDINANCE NO. 1139

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 914
WHICH ESTABLISHED A HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES USER FEE
TO BE UTILIZED TO TRAIN PERSONNEL,
PURCHASE SPECIALIZED EMERGENCY RESPONSE EQUIPMENT,
AND IMPROVE THE HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES RESPONSE CAPABILITY
WITHIN CHARLESTON COUNTY.

WHEREAS, the General Assembly of South Carolina, in enacting South Carolina Code S4-9-25, has authorized counties to enact regulations, resolutions and ordinances in order to safeguard the health, security and general welfare of their citizens; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly of South Carolina, in enacting South Carolina Code S4-9-30, has authorized counties to assess uniform service charges for public safety; to implement and enforce the powers granted to counties; and to provide penalties for violations thereof not to exceed the penalties imposed by Magistrates Court; and

WHEREAS, Charleston County Government, acting by and through its County Council, is empowered to enact and amend Ordinance 914 which regulates Hazardous Substances User Fees in Charleston County.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY CHARLESTON COUNTY COUNCIL:

SECTION I. Findings

It is hereby found and declared by Charleston County Council, the governing body of Charleston County, South Carolina as follows:

A. The storage, handling, and dispensing of hazardous substances in Charleston County has the potential for creating a dangerous situation that may adversely affect the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the County.

B. There is the need to utilize and take advantage of the existing data base concerning the location and use of hazardous substances in Charleston County.

C. It is important to identify those facilities that pose a significant risk to the community. This shall be accomplished by determining those facilities that:

1. under SARA, Title III, annually submit to the local fire services, the LEPC and the SERC, Tier II reports concerning hazardous chemicals which the facility stores; and

2. must maintain an Underground Storage Tank Operating Permit, pursuant to the South Carolina Underground Storage Tank Regulations (SCUSTR R.61-92).

This determination is to ensure that the location of these facilities is known in case of an emergency.

D. Information provided to the County through implementation of this Ordinance will be used to protect Charleston County citizens and emergency response personnel from the detrimental effects of the explosion, fire, or release of hazardous substances.

E. The implementation of a hazardous substances user fee will generate the funds necessary to provide a County-wide comprehensive response capability to the hazardous substances problem, and such fee is authorized by South Carolina Code S4-9-30(5) , which Section permits the County to establish uniform user fees.

F. The implementation of a comprehensive hazardous substance response capability in the County necessitates the training of personnel and the purchase of specialized equipment to combat hazardous substances emergencies in the County.

G. In the event of a hazardous substances emergency, it is necessary to be able to provide proper and effective planning and response which specifically addresses the particular hazardous substance or substances being released.

SECTION II. Scope

This Ordinance shall apply to all substances within Charleston County that, if accidentally released, may pose a threat or be harmful to human health, safety, animals, crops, water systems or other elements of the environment. Substances so designated may include, but are not limited to, explosives, radioactive materials, etiologic agents, flammable and combustible liquids, solids and gases, poisons, oxidizing substances, and corrosive substances.

SECTION III. Definitions

For the purposes of this Ordinance, the following definitions shall apply:

A. "Hazardous Substances (HS)" means any chemical substance in liquid, solid, or gas form that, if accidentally released, may pose a threat or risk or be harmful to human health, safety, animals, crops, water systems, or other elements of the environment. Substances so designated may include, but are not limited to, explosives, radioactive materials, etiologic agents, flammable and combustible liquids, solids and gases, poisons, oxidizing substances, and corrosive substances.

B. "Extremely hazardous substances (EHS)" are those substances designated as such by the Administrator of the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency as listed in Title 40, Part 355 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.

C. "Facility" means all buildings, equipment, and other fixed structures that are located on a single site, or on contiguous or adjacent sites, and which are owned or operated by one person or entity (or by any person or entity which controls, is controlled by, or under common control with, such person or entity). "Facility" includes man-made and natural structures in and from which chemicals are intentionally placed or removed, thus rendering such structures chemical depositories.

D. " Emergency Preparedness Division (EPD)"

is a department of Charleston County Government charged with coordinating available resources to plan and prepare for, and respond to and recover from, major community-wide emergencies. EPD also coordinates the "Knox Box" program and receives copies of all Tier II reports and plans on behalf of the LEPC for which the EPD Director serves as Committee Coordinator.

E. "Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)" appointed by the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC).

F. Tier II Report: Under SARA, Title III within the State of South Carolina, any facility located in Charleston County which stores, at any time during the calendar year, 10,000 pounds or more of a hazardous substance, or threshold planning quantities (TPQ) or more of an extremely hazardous substance.

G. "Hazardous Materials Division (HMD)": is a division of Charleston Government charged with receiving Tier II reports from facilities required to report under SARA, Title III within the County; administering the collection of fees under this Ordinance; training personnel in hazardous materials response; providing technical expertise at hazardous material incidents; and assisting EPD with coordination at hazardous material incidents.

H. Underground Storage Tank (UST) Permit: Pursuant to the South Carolina Underground Storage Tank Regulation (SCUSTR) R.61-92, Part 280, any person who operates an underground storage tank system, as described and defined in the aforesaid regulations.

SECTION IV. - Reporting Requirements

A. Tier II Report: any facility located in Charleston County which stores, at any time during the calendar year, 10,000 pounds or more of a hazardous substance, or threshold planning quantities (TPQ) or more of an extremely hazardous substance, must submit, by March 1 of the following year, a Tier II report to the facility's jurisdictional fire department, the Charleston County LEPC, the South Carolina SERC, and to the Charleston County Hazardous Materials Division.

B. Underground Storage Tank Permit: any person who operates an underground storage tank system, as described and defined above, will be assesses a flat annual fee by July 1 of each year. For persons who operate more than one facility requiring a UST Operating Permit, fees will be assessed on a per location basis. The County must receive the payment for such bill no later than August 1 of each year. Any fees not submitted by August 31 of the same billing year shall be collected through the same manner as prescribed by law for the collection of other fees or as specified in this Ordinance.

SECTION V. - Hazardous Substances User Fee Schedule

Any facility which stores substances covered by this Ordinance must annually file a Tier II report with the Charleston County LEPC and pay a hazardous substance user fee according to the following schedules. The listed fees are per chemical or substance reported in the Tier II report. The Tier II report must be submitted prior to March 1 of each year.

Any facility that meets more than one of the reporting, will be assessed a single fee in accordance with the following hierarchy:

Tier II Report

UST Permit

For example, a facility which submits a Tier II report and possesses a UST permit will only be assessed a fee in accordance with their Tier II submittal.

* Category 1 - Extremely Hazardous Substances

Total average daily amounts pursuant to Tier II Report:

(01) Less than 99 lbs. $ 70
(02) 100-999 lbs. $100
(03) 1,000-9,999 lbs. $130
(04) 10,000-99,999 lbs. $200
(05) 100,000-999,999 lbs. $270
(06) Greater than 1,000,000 lbs. $400

* Category 2 - Hazardous Substances

Total average daily amounts pursuant to Tier II Report:

(01,02,03) - Less than 10,000 lbs. $ 70
(04) 10,000-99,999 lbs. $130
(05) 100,000-999,999 lbs. $270
(06) Greater than 1,000,000 lbs. $400

The maximum total fee for any facility reporting under Tier II: $10,000

Flat Annual Fee for UST Permits (PER LOCATION): $400

 

SECTION VI. - Hazardous Substances User Fee Exemptions

For purposes of this Ordinance only, the term "hazardous substances" does not include:

A. Any food, food additive, color additive, drug, or cosmetic regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

B. Any substance present as a solid in any manufactured item to the extent exposure to the substance does not occur under normal conditions of use.

C. Any substance to the extent it is used for personal, family, or household purposes, or is present in the same form and concentration as a product packaged for distribution and use by the general public.

D. Any substance to the extent it is used in a research laboratory or a hospital or other medical facility under the direct supervision of a technically qualified individual. Substances such as fuel oil, natural gas, etc. used for normal facility operations are NOT exempt.

E. Any substance to the extent it is used in routine agricultural operations or is a fertilizer held for sale by a retailer to the ultimate customer. Agricultural hazardous substances that are being transported over a public highway to an agricultural location are NOT exempt.

SECTION VII. - Mandatory Information System

A. All facilities who submit a Tier II Report affected by this Ordinance are required to install and maintain a "Knox Box" at a location readily available to emergency personnel in case of a hazardous substances incident. The only facilities exempted from the "Knox Box" requirement are fuel and fuel oil retail distributors, or persons who are not subject to Tier II reporting but possess a UST permit. Exceptions to the "Knox Box" requirement may be obtained in writing from the Hazardous Materials Division with approval by the local Fire Chief and in accordance with the guidelines established by the LEPC.

B. "Knox Boxes" shall be installed and operational within 12 months following the receipt of the first Tier II Report by Charleston County Hazardous Materials Division. Charleston County Hazardous Materials Division, in conjunction with the Charleston County Emergency Preparedness Department, will be responsible for verifying the information contained in the "Knox Box"; with the facility owner.

C. The "Knox Box" will be required to contain the following items: a facility map, emergency contacts, material safety data sheet (MSDS) information or its location, emergency response plan, and the location of emergency equipment. The facility owner shall keep these items current.

 

SECTION VIII. - Marking of Hazardous and Extremely Hazardous Substances Storage Areas

All facilities affected by this Ordinance who submit a Tier II Report are required to clearly mark containers or areas where hazardous substances are stored in order to increase the effectiveness and safety of first response personnel. Use of the NFPA 704 marking system is required.

SECTION IX. - Enforcement and Administration

The Charleston County Hazardous Materials Division will be responsible for overseeing and implementing the administration of this Ordinance.

SECTION X. - Disposition of Fees Collected

All fees collected shall be paid to the County Treasurer and placed in an account established exclusively for hazardous substance purposes.

The funds generated by this Ordinance will be disbursed in accordance with a budget adopted annually by the Charleston County Council. Prior to Charleston County Council's adoption of the recommended Hazardous Materials Division's budget, the following procedure shall be utilized:

A. The Charleston County Hazardous Materials Division will propose a budget to the LEPC and the Charleston County Fire Chiefs for review and recommendation.

B. The recommended budget will be submitted to the Charleston County Council for approval.

C. The Charleston County Hazardous Materials Division's proposed budget must identify an intended operational plan and the specific use of the funds, including a detailed analysis of 1) how the funds will be used to purchase equipment to combat hazardous substances accidents; 2) how a hazardous substances response capability will be maintained; and 3) how necessary training for combating hazardous substances incidents will be provided.

SECTION XI. - Reimbursement

In the event of a spill or release of any hazardous or extremely hazardous substance which would require any resources in Charleston County to be committed, the party or parties responsible for such incident, including any facility covered by a Mutual Aid Agreement, shall pay all costs incurred by Charleston County, and/or any other duly-authorized responding agency in its efforts to mitigate any risk to life, property and/or the environment caused by the incident. Cost recovery shall include incidents not located at a facility as defined in this Ordinance if Charleston County resources have been expended at the incident. Charges shall be assessed based on the base salary of the responding agency's employees, responding agency's vehicles (transportation), and other specialized materials and/or machinery used during the operation. Charges for special equipment, including, but not limited to, backhoes, bulldozers and aircraft shall be based on the actual cost incurred including, but not limited to, salaries, fringe benefits and depreciation.

Costs incurred shall be presented to the Incident Commander at the conclusion of each incident, and a formal request for payment shall be supplied to the Incident Commander within a reasonable time after the conclusion of the incident, such date to be determined by the Incident Commander. Charges shall be collected by the responding agency, or by the Charleston County Hazardous Materials Division if requested to do so by the Incident Commander. If the Incident Commander of the authorized responding agency wishes to prepare such reimbursement, the County will submit a "costs incurred" bill to the Incident Commander.

SECTION XII. - Violation and Penalties

Any facility or person violating any provision of this Ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to all applicable civil and/or criminal fines. Each violation shall be considered a separate offense.

Failure to pay all or any part of the correct hazardous substance user fee by August 1 of each year will result in a 5 percent late penalty of the unpaid fee each month or portion thereof after the due date until paid. Penalties shall not exceed 100 percent of the original hazardous material user fee. If a facility or person fails to make full payment, including late fees after 60 days, the Hazardous Materials Division may proceed to collect in the same manner as prescribed by law for the collection of other fees.

Failure to pay the hazardous materials user fee may also result in a criminal proceeding. If a matter is brought in criminal court, upon conviction, the maximum penalty is $500 and/or 30 days imprisonment, and restitution of the hazardous materials user fee.

SECTION XIII. - Right to Hearing/Appeals

A facility regulated by this Ordinance that disagrees with the assessment of the hazardous substances user fee may appeal the assessment to the Business License/User Fee Appeals Board. A user fee may be appealed only by payment in full of the user fee under protest by August 1 of the billing year. A written Notice of Appeal must be received by the Business License/User Fee Appeals Board no later than August 15 of the billing year and be accompanied by a $25.00 fee that will be used to partially defray the cost incurred in connection with the administration of appeals. This fee will be refunded in the event of final resolution of the appeal in favor of the Appellant.

SECTION XIV. - Separability

If any section, subsection or clause of this Ordinance is found to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, the validity of the remaining sections, subsections and clauses shall not be affected thereby.

SECTION XV. - Effective Date

Adopted this 6th day of June, 2000.

Revised July, 2010

Ordinance1139

 

 

 

 

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