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P2 and Environmental Security: P2 Opportunities
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
Integrating P2 and Security
P2 Opportunities
Key Contacts
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Preventing Toxic Terrorism: How Some Chemical Facilities Are Removing Danger to American Communities...
The Department of Homeland Security and numerous security experts have warned that terrorists could ...

Safe and Secure: Meeting America's Electricity Needs
Security has become a key issue in the energy debate in the post-September 11 U.S. There is general...

This section includes various pollution prevention techniques and specific ideas or opportunities that technical assistance providers can use in conjunction with security analysis and action plans.

Physical Site Security Measures

Although many of the opportunities for physical site security are not directly considered pollution prevention, they will alleviate the potential severity or even the occurrence of an attack. Some tactics that could be employed by terrorists are likely to be unaffected by certain basic mitigation measures, such as redundant safety valves. Nonetheless, the importance of physical security must not be overlooked. A few opportunities include:

  • Prevent access or intrusion to plants, materials, wastes, vehicles and equipment. Of special note are: mechanical equipment, HVAC and equipment controls, roofs, lobbies, mailrooms, storage, docks, building operations and information systems, water lines, air intake points, ventilation ducts, agricultural and food products, and aerial pesticide applicators;
  • Prevent access to critical exterior equipment, such as valves, water lines, exterior air intakes, utility shutoffs, incoming or outgoing water lines, other pipelines or tanks (e.g., where releases or addition of agents that can react violently with the stored material can occur);
  • Conduct background checks on new employees, delivery drivers, contractors, or others with access to important information, equipment or secure areas of the site;
  • Supervise delivery areas and/or block access to delivery areas during closed hours;
  • Ensure that all hazardous materials and waste coming into and out of the facility are accompanied by shipping papers and driver photo identification;
  • Implement daily security checks;
  • Implement and enforce a visitor escort policy that includes delivery personnel;
  • Install 24-hour recording, perimeter cameras in key areas such as loading docks and entrances; and
  • Instruct employees in procedures to deal with emergencies, intruders, workplace violence and other suspicious activities.

Pollution Prevention Opportunities for Facilities (Beyond Physical Protection)

Pollution prevention offers numerous opportunities to reduce risk and severity of an attack, and in a few instances, help reduce vulnerability associated with dependence on critical natural resources. Many of the specific P2 opportunities listed below overlap from one P2 category to another, but are listed only once in the best fit P2 category heading.

P2 Category Specific Opportunities and Examples
Toxics reduction - Substitute less toxic, less flammable, and/or less volatile constituents and cleaners, (e.g., sodium hypochlorite instead of chlorine as water disinfectant, supercritical fluid cleaning, bio-based solvents. aqueous cleaners, etc.);
- Use lesser amounts via microscale technology, substitution, process intensification, or use of light, sound, electrical fields, or centrifugal force to alter process physics;
- Solicit and encourage ideas from staff on how to further modify the manufacturing and other processes to eliminate the use of specific hazardous chemicals;
- Implement green chemistry practices such as substitution, biologically-catalyzed reactions, low-toxicity solvents and reactants, solvent-less reactions, bio-based synthesis, microscale; and,
- Buy, use (and store) less toxic materials for maintenance and construction and landscaping.
Inherently safer plants, equipment and processes - Reduce in-process inventories of toxic, hazardous, flammable materials; and/or only manufacture or pull (from safe storage), as much of the chemical as is needed immediately in a process;
- Install safety redundancies, mechanisms and valves on critical lines, tanks, boilers and other equipment;
- Store hazardous or volatile materials at temperatures below their respective boiling points;
- Store hazardous or volatile materials at low pressure to minimize driving force;
- Eliminate the chance of potential runaway reactions in processes and in storage;
- Identify, maintain and test equipment and processes critical to safe shutdown, continued operation, or restart conditions, and keep in a ready-to-operate state (e.g., pollution control devices, overflow mechanisms, boiler exit flues, etc.);
- Properly handle, transfer and contain hazardous materials and wastes; and
- Install detection systems on air, water, process lines.
Materials and resource efficiency - Optimize fuel efficiency, which not only conserves energy, but also reduces the amount of flammable materials needed on site; and
- Minimize use of non-renewable materials
Waste management - Reduce toxics to minimize hazardous waste generation;
- Reuse or recycle wastes and byproducts wherever possible to reduce waste in the transportation grid; and
- Cleanup old inventories, wastes and stockpiles.
Environmental Management Systems (EMS) - Document security management programs, processes and procedures;
- Use a chemical management and inventory tracking system: know what, where and how much;
- Have ready access to Material Safety Data Sheets; and
- Implement a diligent tracking system for transport of hazardous materials and wastes to and from your facility.
Training and mentoring -Train employees and contractors on security awareness, operation of emergency equipment, and procedures for emergency response and power shutdown;
- Work closely with the supply chain, contractors and haulers on security issues; and
- Conduct training drills.
Environmental procurement - Train buyers to purchase and store minimal quantities of hazardous chemicals. This may require negotiations to maintain volume discounts on purchases, and delivery systems to minimize environmental security risks for both; and
- Buy renewable energy.

Reduce Environmental Impacts of Added Security Measures

  • If increasing lighting or lighted signage, use energy-efficient lighting, light-emitting diodes (LED), daylighting, solar cells, and other energy efficient measures.
  • Impose no-idling policies at automotive security checkpoints such as airports, international borders, etc.

Pollution Prevention in Policy and Legislation and Information

  • Streamline compliance documents and plans by integrating P2 and security requirements into one or a few written plans. An example of an integrated document for the printing industry is available at
  • Propose or show support for security policy that is oriented toward prevention or risk reduction, such as Senator Corzine's (D-NJ) proposed bill S.157, "Chemical Security Act of 2003." Another example is testimony to the federal government by Raymond Decker, Director of Defense Capabilities and Management, titled "Key Elements of a Risk Management Approach." Decker states that federal, state and local government as well as private entities, should adopt three key elements of risk management to enhance preparedness against potential threats. (Source: GAO report GAO-02-150T).
  • Incorporate pollution prevention requirements into organizational security policies.
  • Information is a double-edged sword: it can improve understanding of security risks and preparedness, and spur changes to reduce impacts in the event of an attack. On the other hand, public access to detailed chemical and industrial process information could be used against the public to plan attacks. With Community-Right-To-Know reporting laws, publicly available information provides easy access to key information about types of chemicals, volumes, and where they are stored. One way to minimize the risk is to review the chemicals that must be reported under these regulations and attempt to eliminate the need to report to EPA by selecting alternative, less hazardous chemicals or by limiting the amount used and stored at a particular facility.

Citizen and Domestic Preparedness

Security is also extremely important in homes, neighborhoods, places of worship, workplaces and public places. Aside from a few of the aforementioned P2 opportunities, preparedness is extremely important. The American Red Cross has excellent preparedness and emergency response guidelines for individuals, families, neighborhoods, schools and businesses at,1072,0_1_1418,00.html


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The P2 and Environmental Security Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 10/2/2012