Environmental disasters and Seveso directives. avv. Diana Michelazzo email@example.com. Index. Seveso disaster (Italy), 1976; Bhopal (India), 1984; Deepwater Horizon oil spill (gulf of Mexico), 2010; Other major environmental disasters in History; Seveso Directives.
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Environmentaldisasters and Seveso directives avv. Diana Michelazzo firstname.lastname@example.org
Index • Seveso disaster (Italy), 1976; • Bhopal (India), 1984; • Deepwater Horizon oil spill (gulf of Mexico), 2010; • Other major environmental disasters in History; • Seveso Directives.
The accident (1) An extremely serious accident occurred in 1976 in a small chemical plant located not far from Milan. It is known as “Seveso disaster”, because Seveso was the most affected community. The industrial plant was owned by the company ICMESA (Industrie Chimiche Meda Società Azionaria), a subsidiary of Givaudan which in turn was a subsidiary of Hoffmann-La Roche. The plant was built many years before the accident, and was manufacturing dioxins.
The accident (2) Due to a mechanical failure the temperature rose to around 300°C, and the relief valve eventually opened: 6 tons of material, including 1 kg of TCDD* (tetrachlorodibenzodioxin), were released over an 18 km2 area. Dioxin first came to widespread public notice during the Vietnam War, when it was identified as a component of the defoliant Agent Orange. Previously, the substance had been banned from agricultural use, because of its alleged toxic effects on humans.
Safety measures, cleanup and restoration (1) The safety measures taken by the Company and the Authorities were badly coordinated. At least a week passed before it was publicly stated that a dioxin pollution occurred, and another week passed before the evacuation began. Within days a total of 3,300 animals were found dead, mostly poultry and rabbits. Emergency slaughtering started, to prevent TCDD from entering the food chain, and by 1978 over 80,000 animals had been slaughtered.
Safety measures, cleanup and restoration (2) The contaminated area was divided into different zones: A, B and R, in decreasing order of surface soil concentrations of TCDD. Zone A (the closest to the plant) was completely evacuated and fenced, and 1.600 people of all ages had been examined. The local population was advised not to touch or eat locally grown fruits or vegetables. Many people were found to suffer from skin lesions. Zone A had a TCDD soil concentration of >50 microgram/m2, and about 700 residents.
Safety measures, cleanup and restoration (3) Zone B had a TCDD soil concentration between 5 and 50 micrograms/m2, and about 4700 residents. Zone R (“Respect zone”) had a TDCC soil concentration of < 5 micrograms/m2, and about 31.800 residents. 2 months after the disaster, the Italian government granted a loan of 40 billion lire to the region, to finance necessary measures. In 1978, the government raised its special loan from 40 to 115 billion lire. 6 months after the accident, the decontamination works began, to enable resumption of productive activities.
Decontamination and restoration (2) More than 1 year after the accident, the decontamination works of zone A was completed. The government decided to demolish most heavily contaminated houses and rebuild. Waste from the cleanup activities, containing chemical residues and a protecting clothing, were stored in containment tanks, designed for the storage of nuclear waste. In 1982 several barrels of toxic waste left the ICMESA plant. After a series of unclear events, nine years after the disaster, Roche - which stated that the Company wanted to take the responsibility for the safe destruction of the waste - declared that the toxic waste had all been incinerated in Switzerland.
The judiciary case (1) In 1980 the Director of Production at ICMESA was shot by a member of a terrorist organization. A few months later a compensation agreement was signed by representatives of the Region, President of the Italian Republic and Givaudan/ICMESA. The total amount of the agreement was about 20 billion lire. The technical director of ICMESA was sentenced to five years imprisonment in the first degree trial, then had his sentence reduced to two years and was paroled on appeal.
The judiciary case (2) Most individual compensationclaims had been settled out of Court: • 1981: settlement with the municipalities of Desio and Cesano Maderno: ICMESA pays respectively 1.45 and 2.85 billion lire; • 1982: settlement with Meda: ICMESA pays 1.3 billion lire; • 1983: settlement with Seveso: ICMESA pays 15 billion lire.
The judiciary case (3) In 1991 the Civil Court of Milan required the Company to pay 2 millions lire (around € 1,000) to each inhabitant of the contaminated zones B and R. The Court's pronounce stated: "The exposure to an unknown quantity of dioxin, the restrictions on liberty of actions and of life, the oppressive public-health measures, all constitute causes for disturbance and moral damage.” In 2009 the Supreme Court sentenced ICMESA to pay € 5,000 to each resident of the zone A.
The judiciary case (4) The European Union Industrial Safety Regulations are known as: • Seveso I Directive (82/501/EEC); • Seveso II Directive (96/82/EEC); • Seveso III Directive (2012/18/UE).
The accident (1) The Bhopal disaster is considered the worst disaster of the modern history. On the night of December 2, 1984, at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, water entered a tank containing 42 tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC) causing a leak of gas and other chemicals. MIC is an hazardous chemical element, highly reactive, in particular with water. A gas cloud was formed, and since it was denser than the surrounding air, it stayed close to the ground, causing the intoxication of hundreds of thousands of people.
The accident (2) According to a report, causes of the accident were: • insufficient training of workers; • poor maintenance of the plant; • failure of several safety system (some of them were switched off to save money); The gravity of the leak was increased by the absence of a cathastrophy plan.
The accident (3) Injury to or loss of life People were awaken by symptoms such as cough, eye irritation, vomiting, and were already dead in the morning hours. 3.787 deaths were officially related to the gas exposure, but up to 25.000 deaths have been attributed to this tragedy in more recent estimates. More than 500.000 people were injured. More than 120.000 people still suffer of serious disability and diseases. Environmental damage Thousands of animals were slaughtered, and the gas caused visible damage to vegetation. Fishing was prohibited.
The Company The Union Carbide is an American chemical company. United Carbide India Limited (UCIL), a 49% public participation company, was the Indian subsidiary of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). In 2001 Dow Chemical Company purchased UCC.
The (unperformed) cleanup Two years after the disaster the plant was closed. Pipes, drums and tanks were sold. The plant was not dismantled and is still there, as are storages of different residues. In December 2008, the High Court decided that the toxic waste should be incinerated. Chemicals abandoned at the plant continue to leak and pollute the groundwater.
The judiciary case (1) December 7, 1984 Anderson, Chairman and CEO of UCC was arrested by the Indian Police at the airport (in order to ensure his safety). He was released after 6 hours, on a$2.100 bail, and flew back to US. Later he was charged by the Bhopal Authorities for manslaughter (culpable homicide), a crime punished with a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. He did not appear at the hearing and was declared fugitive. UCC tried to hide the poor safety of the plant and the lack of prevention measures, and claimed publicly that the disaster was caused by a sabotage.
The judiciary case (2) In 1985 the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Act made the Government the sole representative of the victims, meaning that victims could not personally ask for compensation. In 1986 the Indian Government filed a civil law suit against UCC in Bhopal. In 1989 the Company offered $350 million, the amount of the insurance policy. The Government of India claimed $3.3 billion from UCC. In 1989, UCC agreed to pay $470 million (the insurance sum plus interest) in a full and final settlement of its civil and criminal liability. As a consequence, victims of the accident obtained only $300 each!
The judiciary case (3) Indian Supreme Court required UCC to finance a 500 bed hospital for survivors. Bhopal Memorial Hospital was inaugurated in 1998. It was obliged to give free care to survivors for eight years. In 1991 the Indian Tribunal decided to continue the penal prosecution, but only for negligence*. In 2003 India pressed for the extradition of the Chairman and CEO (fugitive). The next year US denied the extradition.
The judiciary case (4) Several civil and criminal proceeding are still pending, in Indian and US Courts, concerning UCIL, UCC, employees, victims, and Anderson (the CEO). In June 2010 a Bhopal Court delivered a guilty verdict on 7 Indian former members of the UCIL government board, and the chairman. Being the charge a gross negligence manslaughter, the punishment is 2 years imprisonment and 100.000 rupie (about $2.000 fine). The appeal is pending. ]
The accident On April 20, 2010 due to an explosion, followed by an inextinguishable fire, the British Petroleum platform, located on the Gulf of Mexico, not far from the coast of Louisiana, sank. As a consequence, an oil spill occurred. The platform, named “Deepwater Horizon”, was a 9 year old offshore drilling unit, capable to operate in waters up to 2,400 m deep, and drill down to about 9,000 m.From March 2008 it was under lease to BP Company. The explosion killed 11 men working on the platform and injured 17 others. The BP platform explosion caused the "worst environmental disaster the US has faced” according to the US government.
Environmental damage About 5 million barrels (790,000 m3) of crude oil flood into the see, from the accident to july 2010, when the leak was stopped by a giant cap. The spill caused an extremely serious damage to marine habitats, and to the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries. One year after the accident, august 2011, oil was covering several square miles of water not far from the platform. Scientists reported immense underwater “bubbles” of oil, not visible at the surface.
Cleaup activities (1) Ships, underwater vehicles, airplanes, recovery vessels were active in cleanup activities, in the attempt to protect the environment from the spreading oil. Nearly 7,500 personnel were participating, with an additional 2,000 volunteers assisting. Three fundamental strategies were developed: • to contain the oil on the surface, away from the most sensitive areas; • to dilute and disperse it into less sensitive areas; • to remove it from the water. different techniques: anchored barriers, sand-filled barricades,disperdants, etc.
Cleaup activities (2) By October, the State of Louisiana had spent $240 million of the proposed $360 million from BP. The barrier had captured an estimated 1,000 barrels (160 m3) of oil, but critics and expertssaid the barrier was purely symbolic and call it "an exercise in futility" given the estimated 5,000,000 barrels (790,000 m3). Many scientists say the remaining oil in the Gulf is too dispersed to be blocked or captured.
Causes and Responsabilities Causes of the disaster: • a series of cost-cutting decisions; • lack of a security system of the platform; • defects in the cement structure. BP attitude: BP admitted that it made mistakes which led to the accident and the oil spill. In June 2010 BP set up a $20 billion fund as a compensation to the victims. To July 2011, the fund has paid $4.7 billion to about 200.000 claimants. The fund has nearly 1 million claims and continues to receive thousands of claims each week.
The judicial case Several lawsuits were filed against BP and other related companies. Then BP took legal action against the company (Halliburtun) which cemented the drilling unit. Thousands of claims, coming from out-of-work fishers and tourist resorts receiving cancellations were filed and many of them have so far been settled with the Company. In September 2011, the US government published its final investigative report on the accident. In essence, that report states that the main cause was the defective cement job, and Halliburtun, BP and Transocean (the owner of the drilling unit) were, in different ways, responsible for the accident. The trials are still pending.
4. Other major environmental disasters (1) a) Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion (Russia), 1986: a mix of human errors and mechanical failures caused the plant reactor’s explosion. An atmospheric cloud containing approximately 200 million curies of radioactive material was formed. More than 8.000 people died during the first cleanup operation, and hundreds thousands have been suffering from birth defects, cancer, heart diseases in the following years. The most hazardous substances dispersed were plutonium and cesius. The reactor was wrapped in a concrete sarcophagus. This is a very expensive solution, since the sarcophagus has to be replaced with a new one periodically. The reactor was closed in 2000.
4. Other major environmental disasters (2) b) Basel chemical disaster (Switzerland), 1986: a fire at chemical company Sandoz exposed the entire region to a poisonous veil of thick smoke, carrying 1,351 tons of pesticides and agrochemicals. The contamination affected the surrounding soil and also groundwater. The pollutants destroyed the river’s flora and fauna. Despite Swiss authorities stated that it is not necessary to decontaminate the site again, a leading expert on the disaster says the area remains polluted. No one at Sandoz management was ever held responsible for the disaster, the cause of which has never been firmly established.
Directive 82/501/EEC (Seveso I) Directive 96/82/EC (Seveso II) Basel (CH) Novembre 1986 Chernobyl (UA) April 1986 Seveso (I) Luglio 1976 Seveso (I) July 1976 Flixborough (UK) June 1974 Mexico City (MEX) Novembre 1984 Mexico City (MEX) November 1984 Bhopal (India) Dicembre 1984 Bhopal (India) December 1984 Beek (NL) Novembre 1975 Beek (NL) November 1975
“Seveso II” Amendment (2003/105/EC) “Seveso III” (2012/18/EU) Basel (CH) November 1986 BP oil spill (Mexico) April 2010 Buncefield (UK) December 2005 Enschede (NL) May 2000 Baia Mare (RO) January 2000 Toulouse (F) September 2001
5. Seveso Directives SEVESO I: 82/501/EEC (replaced by the following); SEVESO II: 1996/82/EC, modified by Directive 2003/105/EC (transposed in the Italian legislation with the D.lgs. 238/2005, which has replaced the previous D.lgs. 334/1999). SEVESO III: Directive n. 2012/18/EU (still to be transposed in Italy)
5. SEVESO Directive 5.1. General principles 5.2. Scope of the directive and exclusions 5.3. Relevant definitions 5.4. Obligations of the operator 5.5. Emergency plans 5.6. Domino effect 5.7. Information to be supplied after a major accident 5.8. Inspections
5. SEVESO Directive: General principles 1) It aims to control major-accidents hazards involving dangerous substances 2) It covers substances considered dangerous for the environment, in particular aquatoxics 3) It introduced new requirements concerning safety management systems, emergency plans and land-use planning, competent authorities’ inspections and public information
The Directive's scope: The Directiveappliestoany establishment wheredangeroussubstances are present, or likelytobeproducedas a resultofanaccident or a loss ofcontrolof the process, in quantitiesequalto or in excessof the quantitieslisted in Annex I. 5. SEVESO Directive: Scope of the Directive and exclusions
Annex I Part 1: Categories of dangerous substances Four sections are identified on the basis of the specific hazard for human health and environment: Section “H”: health hazards Section “P”: Physical hazards Section “E”: Environmental hazards Section “O”: Other hazards Eachsectioncontainsspecifichazardcategories (e.g. Section “P”:explosives, flammable, self-reactive…) 5. SEVESO Directive: Scope of the Directive and exclusions
Annex I Part 2: Named dangerous substances In Annex I, Part 2, 41 dangerous substances are listed and classified in accordance with Regulation EC n. 1272/2008 (the European Regulation on classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures). Where a dangerous substance is covered by Part 1 and is also listed in Part 2, the qualifying quantities set out in Part 2 apply. 5. SEVESO Directive: Scope of the Directive and exclusions
The following establishments are not covered by the Directive: military establishments; hazards created by ionising radiation; transport of dangerous substances by road, rail, air and inland waterways, sea or air; transport of dangerous substances in pipelines; offshore exploration and exploitation of minerals; waste landfill sites. 5. SEVESO Directive: Scope of the Directive and exclusions
Establishments: the whole location under the control of an operator where dangerous substances are present. Establishments are classified in lower-tier establishments or upper-tier establishments. Lower-tier establishments: an establishment where dangerous substances are present in quantities equal to or in excess of the quantities listed in Column 2 of Part 1 or 2 of Annex I (but less than the quantities listed in Column 3 of Part 1 or 2 of Annex I). Upper-tier establishments: an establishment where dangerous substances are present in quantities equal to or in excess of the quantities listed in Column 3 of Part 1 or 2 of Annex I. 5. SEVESO Directive: Relevant definitions
Operator: any natural or legal person who operates or controls an establishment or installation or, where provided for by natural legislation, to whom the decisive economic or decision-making power over the technical functioning of the establishment or installation has been delegated. Dangerous substances: a substance or mixture covered by Part 1 or listed in Part 2 of Annex I (in the form of raw material, product, by-product, residue or intermediate). Presence of dangerous substances: the actual or anticipated presence of dangerous substances in the establishment, or of dangerous substances which can be generated during loss of control of the process (…). 5. SEVESO Directive: Relevant definitions
1) General obligation Member States must ensure that the operator: takes all measures necessary to prevent majoraccidents and to limit their consequences for human health and the environment; is required to prove to the competent authority that all the necessary measures have been taken. 5. SEVESO Directive: Obligations of the operator
2) Obligation to notify The operator has to send a notification to the competent authority containingthe following details: the name of the operator and the address of the establishment; the registered place of business of the operator; the name or position of the person in charge of the establishment; information sufficient to identify the dangerous substances or category of substances involved; the quantity and physical form of the dangerous substance or substances involved; the immediate environment of the establishment. 5. SEVESO Directive: Obligations of the operator
3) Safety Report (only for upper-tier establishments) The Safety Report shall demonstrate that: a prevention policy and a safety management system have been put into effect; major-accident hazards have been identified and that the necessary measures have been taken to prevent such accidents and to limit their consequences; adequate safety and reliability have been incorporated into the design, construction, operation and maintenance of any installation, storage facility, equipment and infrastructure connected with its operation, which are linked to major-accident hazards inside the establishment; internal emergency plans have been drawn up. . 5. SEVESO Directive: Obligations of the operator
Internalemergencyplans: are drawn up by the operator (safety report) concernmeasurestobetaken inside the establishment Externalemergencyplans: are drawn up by the competent authority basing on information sent byoperators concernmeasurestobetakenoutside the establishment 5. SEVESO Directive: Emergency plans
The competent Authority must: identify establishments or groups of establishments where the risk or consequences of a major accident could be increased due to the location and the proximity of the establishments and their holdings of dangerous substances; ensure an exchange of information and cooperation between the establishments. 5. SEVESO Directive: Domino effect
5. SEVESO Directive: Information to be supplied after a major accident After a major accident, theoperatormust: provide the competent authority with information on the circumstances of the accident, the dangerous substances involved, the data available for assessing the effects of the accident on people and the environment and the emergency measures taken; inform the authority of the treatments/remedial measures defined to minimize the effects of the accident and to prevent any recurrence of such an accident; update the information provided.
5. SEVESO Directive: Information to be supplied after a major accident After a major accident, theAuthoritymust: ensure that emergency measures have been taken; collect the all the information for a full analysis of the accident, if necessary by inspection; ensurethat the operator takes any necessary remedial measures; make recommendationson future preventive measures.