The passage of the SARA Title III: Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 mandates that facilities which produce, utilize and/or store certain hazardous materials must report these chemicals to State environmental authorities, LEPCs and fire departments. Its purpose was to encourage and support emergency planning efforts at the State and local levels and provide the public and local governments with information concerning potential chemical hazards present in their communities.
Every county is required to organize and support a LEPC in order to be prepared for hazmat incidents which are defined as any spill or release into the environment of a hazardous material or chemical substance.
LEPCs provide a forum for emergency management agencies, responders, industry and the public to work together to understand chemical hazards in the community, develop emergency plans in the event of an accidental release and look at ways to prevent chemical accidents.
Local industries are required to provide information to the LEPC about chemical hazards at their facilities. Every facility within the county that stores or uses potentially hazardous materials is required to submit a Tier II form to the LEPC which identifies what chemicals they house, the quantity and location of each chemical in the facility, and any hazards associated with the chemicals. The LEPC then catalogues this information and works with the facility to develop a comprehensive response plan. These response plans allow for immediate mitigation of a hazard at the facility. SARA III encourages these facilities to initiate community awareness about the chemicals they use and to work with local governments, emergency response organizations, and neighborhood groups in developing emergency plans in the event of a hazardous materials incidents at their facility.
LEPCs, with stakeholder participation, must develop an emergency response plan, review it at least annually, and provide information about chemicals in the community to citizens. The LEPC membership must include (at a minimum):
Elected state and local officials
Police, fire, civil defense, and public health professionals
Environment, transportation, and hospital officials
Representatives from community groups and the media
EPA’s Fact Sheet on LEPCs: www.epa.gov/oem/docs/chem/epcra.pdf
To be effective and a valued resource within the community, we need your input and invite you to get involved and attend our next meeting. Check here for a schedule of meeting times and locations as well as information on how to join the LEPC.