Executive Order 41 requires state agencies to be prepared for all disasters and to ensure the continuity of state government operations, including the delivery of essential state governmental services. To that end, the DEQ is committed to fulfilling its preparedness and response roles.
DEQ Pollution Response Program (PREP), provides for responses to air, water, and waste pollution incidents in order to protect human health and the environment. PREP staff often work to assist local emergency responders, other state agencies, federal agencies, and responsible parties, as may be needed, to manage pollution incidents. Oil spills, fish kills, and hazardous materials spills are examples of incidents that may involve the DEQ's PREP Program.
Virginia Emergency Response Team
DEQ is a member of the Virginia Emergency Response Team (VERT) which is coordinated by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and designed to assist localities and other state agencies during a large-scale emergency or disaster affecting the Commonwealth. DEQ co-leads emergency support function (ESF) 10, oil and hazardous materials with VDEM and is a support agency to additional ESFs. Depending on the scope of the incident, the VERT, acting through various ESFs, augments (enhances) operations at the Virginia Emergency Operations Center, so the Commonwealth can assist localities and other state agencies during an emergency or disaster.
The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Emergency Operations Plan (COVEOP) describes Virginia’s approach to all-hazards response and the concepts of response and recovery operations. The basic plan and hazard-specific annexes are maintained by Virginia Department of Emergency Management and state agencies with emergency management duties and responsibilities. DEQ has various roles and responsibilities that are outlined in the plan, and the DEQ participates in annual reviews and updates to the plan. Selected parts of the plan can be downloaded or viewed online at the COVEOP’s main page.
Regional Response Team III
DEQ and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) represent Virginia on Regional Response Team III (RRT III) which is a planning, policy, and coordinating body that meets regularly to discuss oil spill and hazardous materials contingency planning. RRT III is co-chaired by the U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA and is comprised of representatives from various federal agencies and the states of West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealths of Pennsylvania and Virginia.
DEQ is a member of the Virginia and Coastal Maryland, and the Upper Chesapeake Bay Estuary area committees that are coordinated by U.S. Coast Guard’s ‘Sector Hampton Roads’ and ‘Sector Baltimore,’ respectively. Section 4202 of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) amended the Clean Water Act to address the development of a National Planning and Response System. As part of this system, Area Committees have been established for geographic areas within areas of responsibility for the U.S. Coast Guard.
Area committees are comprised of federal, state, and local government representatives and representatives from industry and non-government organizations. The committees are responsible for developing and regularly updating their respective area contingency plans (ACP) which designed to provide an all-hazards approach to incident response. The ACPs for the area committees can be downloaded from the U.S. Coast Guard’s website, Homeport.
SARA Title III Program
The provisions from the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986, Title III statute are also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The purpose behind SARA Title III/EPCRA has been to create a cooperative relationship among government, business, and the public to prevent, to plan, to prepare for, and to manage chemical emergencies.
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