Phased Engineering Development and Multiple Agency Review of Public Safety Issues

by Dev Vrat, County of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, United States,
Robert B. Almy, County of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Several Santa Barbara County agencies have key engineering review responsibilities for new development. The magnitude of issues raised and the level of engineering review required for large oil and gas processing and transportation facilities precludes development of final engineering design until after discretionary approval of the project and imposition of environmental protection measures. Large projects result in literally hundreds of permit conditions designed to reduce or eliminate various adverse effects across a wide range of issue areas. Frequently, full mitigation of a potential adverse effect may only be accomplished at the expense of an increased impact in a different issue area. Balancing of conflicting mitigation measures often involves compromises among two or more agencies with strong legal mandates. As part of the County's regulation of large oil and gas processing facilities, a Systems Safety and Reliability Review Committee (SSRRC) comprising seven specific County agencies was formed. The committee was established to provide coordinated review of evolving design of projects. While enhancing the overall safety and realibility of the facilities is the principal goal of the committee, balancing other impact tradeoffs is an important part of the process. For example, crude oil tank design, emission control facilities, and emergency response systems design require careful balancing of design implications across a large range of issue areas before final designs can be approved. In the case of crude oil tank design, the size, spacing, and roof design of the tanks raised conflicts among land use, air quality, and emergency response agencies that required extensive consideration of site constraints, emission control technology, and fire suppression system limitations.

Subject Headings: Public health and safety | Building design | Storage tanks | Public opinions | Safety | Emissions | Emergency management | Air quality

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