Overview of the DHS CFATS Regulation

Has your facility submitted a Top Screen to DHS yet?

In the recent months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has put forth effort to educate chemical facilities regarding the CFATS regulation. DHS has been sending letters of notification to facilities they believe to have chemicals of interest. Additionally, DHS has spoken at at industry conferences, such as IIAR, for the purpose of educating these industries regarding the requirements of the CFATS regulation.

So, what is the CFATS regulation?

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards is a regulation enforced by the Department of Homeland Security to ensure chemical facilities have implemented security measures to reduce the risk of being targeted by terrorists. Facilities that store, handle, and use Chemicals of Interest (COI) above a screening threshold quantity must comply. The complete list of COIs can be accessed here.

What type of chemical facilities are regulated?

A wide variety of chemical industries are covered by the CFATS regulation:

  • chemical manufacturing, storage and distribution; 
  • energy and utilities;
  • agriculture and food;
  • paints and coatings;
  • explosives;
  • mining;
  • electronics;
  • plastics; and
  • healthcare.

In the San Joaquin Valley of California the types of facilities often regulated by CFATS includes: refrigeration (ammonia), wineries (sulfur dioxide & ammonia), dehydrators (sulfur dioxide), food processing (ammonia & chlorine), and water treatment (chlorine).

What is required?

Your facility must register with DHS through the CSAT web portal, then proceed to prepare and submit a Top-Screen.

What is a Top-Screen?

A Top-Screen is an initial analysis of the chemicals and security risk of a facility which DHS uses to determine if additional requirements of the CFATS regulation must be imposed.  Additional requirements may include a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) and a Site Security Plan (SSP).

What are the chances my facility will have to comply with additional CFATS requirements? 

Stationary ammonia refrigeration systems are not typically categorized as “high risk” after the Top-Screen submission, and therefore do not need to comply with additional CFATS requirements. Facilities that store portable chemical containers (cylinders and ton containers) are often categorized as “high risk” by DHS and likely to be required to perform an SVA and develop an SSP.

Where can I find more information?


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