May 2019 Technical Seminar - Lessons Learned from Disaster Planning: Analysis of Natural Disaster Flooding Impact on Chemical Facilities in the United States
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Lessons Learned from Disaster Planning: Analysis of Natural Disaster Flooding Impact on Chemical Facilities in the United States
Chemical facilities create engineering safeguards to prevent a release of their chemicals into environment, but the underestimated strength of natural disasters can cause major complications. Chemical facilities such as toxic release inventory (TRI) facilities contain chemicals, most of which must be kept in balanced states otherwise meltdowns, where leaks are possible if not probable. Due to this fragility of the environment surrounding these chemicals, the United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has recommended that chemical facilities determine if they are in a floodplain on a routine basis. This study is the first of its kind to analyze the United States as whole to understand how many chemical facilities are current at risk to be impacted by floods. In order to identify which TRI facilities at greatest risk, an
analysis of the National Flood Hazard Layer and TRI facilities ensued. Current TRI facility data from all 50 states was obtained from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Facility Registry Service (FRS) and analyzed within ArcGIS. The national analysis included all TRI facilities currently intersecting the 100-year floodplain based on the current National Flood Hazard Layer. The frequency which TRI facilities are impacted by flooding was analyzed with federal declarations data. We then explored the state-level rates of facilities fall into the flood zone. All 50 states had some measure of risk of chemical facilities located in the 100-year floodplain. In addition, we discuss how we are developing a new and improved mathematical model to identify flooding risk for geographic areas and what your facility can do to help prepare.