Tempo Picks Up at DHS for CFATS

We are seeing an increasing number of CFATS inspections and reviews being completed by the Department of Homeland Security. Dennis Deziel, acting director for the department's Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) talked to a group from the National Association of Chemical Distributors. The group's annual Operation Seminar and Trade Show was held last month.

Deziel updated the group on the department's progress with CFATS and said that DHS plans to increase the number of site inspections. So far, the department has reviewed more than 38,000 Top Screens and 6,000 Security Vulnerability Assessments (SVAs). It has also received more than 3,500 Security Site Plans and has put more than 3,000 of those through an initial review and scoring process.

DHS is planning to ramp up site inspections to 30 to 40 a month. The agency is set to fill more than 250 jobs by the end of the year. Most of those openings are for chemical site inspectors. So far, the department has conducted 250 Compliance Site Assistance visits. According to the department, the purpose of these visits is to provide in-depth knowledge of and assistance in complying with CFATS. Facilities can request a Compliance Assistance Visit (CAV) via email following the instructions on the DHS website. The department has completed 80 preliminary authorization inspections.

Deziel also discussed the fact that CFATS does not just cover chemical facilities and plants. Universities, warehouses, hospitals, mining industries, chemical repackaging operations, paint and chemical manufacturers and oil and gas operations may also fall under CFATS. It applies to any facility using, making or storing chemicals on the department's list of Chemicals of Interest (COI) in quantities above certain thresholds. Deziel also noted that if DHS changes the COI list it could affect other facilities not now subject to the mandates.

DHS seems interested in making increased progress and getting the program fully implemented as soon as feasible. The department has committed to completing inspections for all Tier I facilities by the end of the year.


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