The Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)

and the

Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III

 

What is the Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)?

The Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) was signed into federal law in 1986. Title III of SARA is also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act or the Community Right-to-Know regulation. The State of Washington adopted the federal Title III law and regulations in 1987. A State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) was established to oversee implementation of requirements imposed by SARA Title III, including the formation of the local emergency planning committees and the development of a statewide master plan for hazardous materials incident response.

Ecology receives EPCRA reports and manages EPCRA data on behalf of the Washington SERC. Ecology staff also provide technical and regulatory assistance to businesses, local emergency planning committees, tribal nations, and the public.

The Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase the public's knowledge and access to information on chemicals at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. States and communities, working with facilities, can use the information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.

Under this regulation, both small and large businesses are required to plan for possible emergencies and report chemical information to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), the local fire department, and tribal nations.

 

The Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III

  • Establishment of Tribal Emergency Response Commissions (TERCs) and State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) Section 301

Your business facility may be subject to one or all of the sections depending upon the types of chemicals you have, the quantities of those chemicals, and your businesses activities.

To report a chemical release call the Emergency Management Division at 800.258.5990 or the National Response Center at 800.424.8802, and your Local Emergency Planning Committee, as appropriate for the chemical released.

To submit written reports to the Washington State Emergency Response Commission, send it to:

Community Right-to-Know Unit
Department of Ecology
PO Box 47659
Olympia, WA 98504-7659

Title III Sections:

Section 301:

Section 301 of SARA Title III establishes the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), and Tribal Emergency Response Commissions(TERCs).  The SERC designates each county as a Local Emergency Planning District, each of which develops a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).

Section 302:

The Emergency Response Planning provisions require that state and local authorities develop chemical emergency preparedness and response capabilities through better coordination and planning with local businesses. If your business has an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) on-site at any time, in excess of its assigned Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ), you are required to participate in the local emergency planning process.

Extremely Hazardous Substances are listed TPQs by the EPA based on their potential to cause significant health effects in a single exposure, such as an air release. There are approximately 350 EHSs listed by the EPA. Examples include sulfuric acid with a TPQ of 1,000 pounds and ammonia with a TPQ of 500 pounds for 302 reporting.

Section 304:

Your business facility must notify state and local authorities responsible for local emergency planning if:

  • there is a release at your facility (which includes releases from motor vehicles, rolling stock and aircraft) of an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) or a Hazardous Substance (as listed under the Superfund regulations) in excess of the reportable quantity for that substance, and
  • the release could result in exposure of persons outside the boundary of the facility site.

The EPA has identified and listed over 700 Hazardous Substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or the Superfund Program) and has assigned a reportable quantity to each substance. Chemicals on the EHS list have been assigned reportable quantities. Chlorine is an EHS with a reportable quantity of 10 pounds.

Report chemical releases immediately to the Emergency Management Division at 1.800.258.5990, your Local Emergency Planning Committee and if appropriate, the National Response Center at 1.800.424.8802.

Section 311:

Under Section 311 of Title III, a facility must submit the material safety data sheets (MSDS), or a MSDS list, for the hazardous chemicals present on-site in excess of the threshold level to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), and local fire department.

The threshold levels for reporting chemicals is:

  • the threshold planning quantity (TPQ) or 500 pounds at any one time, whichever is less for extremely hazardous substances (EHS);
  • 10,000 pounds at any one time for hazardous substances.

This is essentially a one-time submittal unless your chemical or product changes. You must update your submittals to these agencies within 3 months when:

  • There is new information on a hazardous chemical for which you have previously submitted an MSDS, or
  • A new hazardous chemical becomes present at the facility in excess of the threshold planning quantity for the first time.

Your LEPC and/or local fire department may request a MSDS for a hazardous chemical at your facility and you must provide it within 30 days.

The Washington SERC requests that businesses submit a MSDS list of hazardous chemicals and their hazards to the state, rather than copies of the MSDSs. A report form is available at this site under “Reporting Forms & Software”. The list must identify the hazards associated with the chemical or product. The five categories are:

  • Fire hazard
  • Sudden release of pressure
  • Reactivity
  • Immediate or acute health hazard
  • Delayed or chronic health hazard

Download a Section 311 – MSDS List form.

Section 312:

Under Section 312 of Title III, facilities that store chemicals must provide specific information about the chemicals on site, at any one time, to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), and local fire department.

The threshold levels for reporting chemicals stored on site are:

  • the threshold planning quantity (TPQ) or 500 pounds at any one time, whichever is less for extremely hazardous substances (EHS);
  • 10,000 pounds at any one time for hazardous substances.

Download software applications for  Section 312 – Tier Two-Emergency & Hazardous Chemical Inventory Reporting.

Under Section 312 of Title III, facilities that store chemicals must provide specific information about the chemicals on site, at any one time, to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), and local fire department.

The threshold levels for reporting chemicals stored on site are:

  • the threshold planning quantity (TPQ) or 500 pounds at any one time, whichever is less for extremely hazardous substances (EHS);
  • 10,000 pounds at any one time for hazardous substances.

Download software applications for  Section 312 – Tier Two-Emergency & Hazardous Chemical Inventory Reporting.

Section 313:

Your business must meet ALL of the following criteria to be subject to the requirements of this section for any particular year:

The facility is in one of the covered industries:

  • Manufacturing
  • Federal Facilities
  • Metal and Coal Mining
  • Electric Utilities (burning coal and/or oil for commercial distribution)
  • Commercial Hazardous Waste Treatment facilities (regulated under RCRA Subtitle C)
  • Chemical and Allied Products - Wholesale
  • Petroleum Bulk Terminals and Plants
  • Solvent Recovery Services (fee or contract basis)

The facility manufactured (including imported) or processed or otherwise used a toxic chemical in excess of the threshold quantity during the calendar year. Threshold quantities that trigger reporting are 25,000 pounds manufactured or processed or 10,000 pounds otherwise used, except for certain Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic (PBT) Chemicals. Beginning with the 2000 reporting year, the threshold for the PBT chemicals was lowered to 100 pounds or less depending on the chemical.

EPA has developed a list of more than 600 toxic chemicals subject to reporting requirements of EPCRA Section 313. More information is available at the EPA TRI web site.

To view the TRI data in a user friendly fashion, Washington State Department of Ecology and EPA have created the Toxics Release Inventory Display System (TRIDS) software. TRIDS displays a given state’s releases of toxic chemicals into the air, land, water, sewers and/or moved off-site, within a given year. Both the TRI data and TRIDS are intended to be used by federal, state, tribal, and local governments as well as a broad sector of the public including schools, communities, environmental organizations, and business groups.

TRIDS is a stand-alone software program that you may download here.

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Washington Military Department - Emergency Management Division