District of Columbia Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act Program
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) is Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), often referred to as SARA Title III. EPCRA is the United States Congressional response to serious chemical incidents that occurred in Bhopal, India, and Institute, West Virginia two years prior to its enactment. The incident in Bhopal resulted in 2,000 immediate fatalities. While the accident in West Virginia caused no fatalities, the circumstances were similar and aroused concern.
The EPCRA was designed to provide all levels of government and the public with information required to plan for a chemical incident. The Act was intended to be a starting point for an on-going dialogue between community representatives, emergency response personnel, and industry. EPCRA requires each state to establish a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), to designate local emergency planning districts, and to appoint a local emergency planning committee (LEPC) for each district. Industries, companies and sites using and storing Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) are required to provide the government with information about their activities with hazardous and toxic chemicals. The SERC and the LEPCs use the information in their emergency planning activities and make it available to the public.
EPCRA Reporting Requirements
Within the District of Columbia, the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) functions as both the SERC and LEPC. The District of Columbia requires all Tier II reports be submitted through the HSEMA Online Tier II Manager database. Tier II report preparers must complete New User Registration online before submitting reports. The HSEMA contacts for EPCRA reporting are:
Mr. Frederick Goldsmith
Email: [email protected]
A list of the hazardous and toxic chemicals that require reporting is available at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. The following are the required reports and notifications:
Section 302 - Emergency Planning Notification
The owner or operator of any facility with a quantity of a listed substance that meets or exceeds the threshold planning quantity (TPQ) for that substance must notify the SERC and the appropriate LEPC. The purpose of this notification is to alert the local response organization that the facility has an EHS present and must be included in the emergency response plans for the jurisdiction covered by the LEPC.
Section 304 - Emergency Release Notification
The owner or operator of any facility that releases an established reportable quantity (RQ) of an EPCRA Section 302 EHS or a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) hazardous substance must immediately notify the LEPC, the SERC, and the National Response Center (NRC).
|District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS)
|District of Columbia LEPC and SERC
|National Response Center (NRC)
Section 311 and 312 - Hazardous Chemical Storage Reporting
The hazardous chemical storage reporting requirements of EPCRA apply to the owner or operator of any facility required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard to maintain Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for hazardous chemicals present in the workplace. When the quantity onsite meets or exceeds established thresholds, the owner or operator must provide an MSDS or list of MSDSs (Section 311) and an annual inventory report (Section 312) for each such chemical. For any hazardous substance, the reporting threshold is 10,000 pounds. For an EPCRA Section 302 EHS the reporting threshold is 500 pounds or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established TPQ for that chemical, whichever is lower.
The Section 311 chemical list must be submitted within 60 days of the first date that the threshold for the hazardous chemical or EHS is exceeded. It is a one-time submission unless there is a change at the facility. The Section 312 inventory is due March 1st each year and covers the materials at the facility during the preceding calendar year. It is an annual submission.
Section 313 - Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting
The owners or operators of certain industrial facilities are required to report annually on releases, transfers, and onsite treatment of certain toxic chemicals. These reports - either Form R or Form A - are submitted to EPA and the District of Columbia. Reporting forms are due each July 1st and cover the activities at the facility during the preceding calendar year.
A facility must meet the following three criteria to be covered by the toxics release inventory (TRI) reporting requirements:
- Have 10 or more full-time employees
- Be in a covered Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code
- Meet or exceed a use-based threshold for a listed toxic substance
Additional information on TRI reporting is available on the EPA’s TRI Program website.