U.S. operators reminded to register with DHS

Department of Homeland Security requires facilities dealing with large quantities of ammonia to report holdings to agency.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Any U.S. facility that stores, manufactures or distributes ammonia above a certain threshold is required to register and report their holdings with the Department of Homeland Security.

In a presentation at the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration 2018 Conference & Expo in Colorado Springs, Colo., last month, a DHS representative outlined the steps that such facilities must take.

James Williams, chief of regulatory compliance for Region VIII of the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection, said it is important for the industry to make operators aware of the requirement so that the DHS can ensure that the facilities are taking adequate steps to prevent a terrorist attack.

“One of the main things we want to avoid is for that facility to have to come to the top because of an incident,” he said. “We don't want them on the 10 o'clock news.”

One of the main things we want to avoid is for that facility to have to come to the top because of an incident.” 
– James Williams, DHS

DHS requires that facilities with 20,000 lbs or more of ammonia at a concentration of 20% or higher, or with 10,000 pounds or more of anhydrous ammonia at concentrations of 1% or higher, register with the DHS Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program and fill out what’s called a Top-Screen online at https://csat-registration.dhs.gov/.

The information in the Top-Screen is used to determine the risk posed by the facility. Those considered to be at risk are placed into one of four tiers, based on the degree of risk. If a facility is placed in one of the tiers, it must then conduct a security vulnerability assessment (SVA) and a site security plan. An SVA takes into consideration factors such as the location of the facility, the location of the ammonia storage within the facility and other factors.

Then, DHS visits the facility and goes over the security plan, which, once approved, must be followed by the facility.

CFATS also has a personnel surety program, which is designed to vet people who have access to ammonia and other chemicals of interest against a terrorism screening database.

Operators who have questions or need help can contact the CFATS help desk at 1-866-323-2957 or csat@dhs.gov.

By Michael Garry

Apr 30, 2018, 17:01

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