(a) As part of the investigation described in § 300.320, the OSC shall determine whether a discharge results in a substantial threat to public health or welfare of the United States (including, but not limited to, fish, shellfish, wildlife, other natural resources, and the public and private beaches and shorelines of the United States). Factors to be considered by the OSC in making this determination include, but are not limited to, the size of the discharge, the character of the discharge, and the nature of the threat to public health or welfare of the United States. Upon obtaining such information, the OSC shall conduct an evaluation of the threat posed, based on the OSC's experience in assessing other discharges, and consultation with senior lead agency officials and readily available authorities on issues outside the OSC's technical expertise.
(b) If the investigation by the OSC shows that the discharge poses or may present a substantial threat to public health or welfare of the United States, the OSC shall direct all federal, state, or private actions to remove the discharge or to mitigate or prevent the threat of such a discharge, as appropriate. In directing the response in such cases, the OSC may act without regard to any other provision of law governing contracting procedures or employment of personnel by the federal government to:
(1) Remove or arrange for the removal of the discharge;
(2) Mitigate or prevent the substantial threat of the discharge; and
(3) Remove and, if necessary, destroy a vessel discharging, or threatening to discharge, by whatever means are available.
(c) In the case of a substantial threat to public health or welfare of the United States, the OSC shall:
(1) Assess opportunities for the use of various special teams and other assistance described in § 300.145, including the use of the services of the NSFCC, as appropriate;
(2) Request immediate activation of the RRT; and
(3) Take whatever additional response actions are deemed appropriate, including, but not limited to, implementation of the ACP as required by section 311(j)(4) of the CWA or relevant tank vessel or facility response plan required by section 311(j)(5) of the CWA. When requested by the OSC, the lead agency or RRT shall dispatch appropriate personnel to the scene of the discharge to assist the OSC. This assistance may include technical support in the agency's areas of expertise and disseminating information to the public. The lead agency shall ensure that a contracting officer is available on scene, at the request of the OSC.