Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 44. Military and Emergency Laws
Chapter 3.5. Virginia Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Program
9/21/2021

Chapter 3.5. Virginia Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Program.

§ 44-146.34. Purpose; definitions.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the development and implementation of a program to protect the environment and the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the Commonwealth from the threats and potential threats of accidents or incidents involving hazardous materials. This program shall be known as the Virginia Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Program.

B. As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise:

"Coordinator" means the Coordinator of the Department of Emergency Management.

"Department" means the Department of Emergency Management.

"Hazardous materials" means substances or materials which may pose unreasonable risks to health, safety, property, or the environment when used, transported, stored or disposed of, which may include materials which are solid, liquid or gas. Hazardous materials may include toxic substances, flammable and ignitable materials, explosives, corrosive materials, and radioactive materials and include (i) those substances or materials in a form or quantity which may pose an unreasonable risk to health, safety, or property when transported, and which the Secretary of Transportation of the United States has so designated by regulation or order; (ii) hazardous substances as defined or designated by law or regulation of the Commonwealth or law or regulation of the United States government; and (iii) hazardous waste as defined or designated by law or regulation of the Commonwealth.

"Political subdivision" means any city or county in the Commonwealth, and for the purposes of this chapter, any town with a population of more than 5,000 which chooses to have an emergency management program separate from that of the county in which the town is located.

"Transport" or "transportation" means any movement of property by any mode and any packing, loading, unloading, or storage incidental thereto.

1987, c. 492; 2000, c. 309.

§ 44-146.35. Powers and duties of the Department of Emergency Management.

In carrying out the purposes set forth in this chapter the Department shall have the authority to:

1. Coordinate the development of hazardous materials training programs and hazardous materials emergency response programs and plans with state and local government agencies and related groups. Those state agencies and local government agencies shall retain the statutory responsibilities assigned elsewhere in this Code.

2. Administer the implementation of the Virginia Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Program.

1987, c. 492; 2000, c. 309; 2011, cc. 594, 681.

§ 44-146.36. Coordinator to enter into agreements with political subdivisions; immunity from liability.

A. The Coordinator may enter into agreements with political subdivisions to provide hazardous materials emergency response within a specific geographical area of the Commonwealth on a state and political subdivision cost-sharing basis. The cost-sharing agreements shall be negotiated with political subdivisions by the Coordinator.

B. Neither the Commonwealth, nor any political subdivision thereof, nor federal agencies, nor other public or private agencies, nor public or private employees, nor representatives of any of them, engaged in any emergency services activities while complying with or attempting to comply with this chapter or any regulation or executive order promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, shall be liable for the death of or injury to any person or damage to property as a result of such activities, except where such death, injury or damage results from gross negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct. The provisions of this section shall not affect the right of any person to receive benefits to which he would otherwise be entitled under this chapter, or under the Workers' Compensation Act (§ 65.2-100 et seq.), or under any pension law, nor the right of any such person to receive any benefits or compensation under any act of Congress.

1987, c. 492; 1989, c. 378.

§ 44-146.37. Disbursements made from Virginia Disaster Response Fund.

A. Disbursements for costs and expenses, including, but not limited to equipment, material, hazardous materials emergency response operations and immediate accident or incident site cleanup costs and expenses in preventing or alleviating damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused by accidents or incident, involving hazardous materials, shall be made from the Virginia Disaster Response Fund in accordance with the provisions of § 44-146.18:1.

B. The Coordinator shall promptly seek reimbursement from any party causing or contributing to an accident or incident involving hazardous materials for all sums disbursed from the Virginia Disaster Response Fund for the protection, relief, and recovery from loss or damage caused by such party.

C. The Coordinator is also authorized to recover any sums expended by any other state agency or political subdivision for preventing or alleviating damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused by accidents or incidents involving hazardous materials. To recover such sums the Coordinator shall provide documentation that the costs were incurred whether or not they were actually disbursed from the Virginia Disaster Response Fund.

1987, c. 492.

§ 44-146.38. Political subdivisions to appoint hazardous materials coordinator.

Each political subdivision shall appoint a hazardous materials coordinator. In appointing the hazardous materials coordinator, political subdivisions shall consider the requisite qualifications for hazardous materials coordinators as established by the Coordinator. The hazardous materials coordinator shall coordinate the hazardous materials emergency response program within the political subdivision.

1987, c. 492; 2011, cc. 594, 681.

§ 44-146.39. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2011, cc. 594 and 681, cl. 2.

§ 44-146.40. Joint emergency planning committee; certain localities.

Any joint emergency planning committee serving Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax shall have the authority to require any facility within its emergency planning district to submit the information required and participate in the emergency planning provided for in Subtitle A of Title 3 of Public Law 99-499. For the purposes of this section, "facility" shall include any development or installation having an aggregate storage capacity of at least one million gallons of oil as defined in § 62.1-44.34:10, or the potential for a sudden release of 10,000 pounds or more of any other flammable liquid or gas not exempt from the provisions of § 327 of Title 3 of Public Law 99-499. This requirement shall not occur until after public notice and the opportunity to comment. The committee shall notify the facility owner or operator of any requirement to comply with this section.

1987, c. 492; 1992, cc. 633, 656; 1994, c. 691; 2007, c. 813; 2011, cc. 594, 681; 2017, c. 512.