Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act: EPCRA
In 1986, in response to a growing concern for safety around chemical facilities, the U.S. Congress enacted the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III. Additionally, the State of Florida passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), F.S. 252, Part II.
The intent of these laws is to encourage emergency planning efforts at the State and Regional levels and to increase the public’s access to information about the potential chemical hazards that may exist in their communities. These laws have a far-reaching influence on issues relating to the manufacture, use, exposure, transportation, and public education of hazardous materials.
EPCRA is implemented by the established State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC).
State Emergency Response Commission: SERC
The SERC is responsible for implementing the provisions of EPCRA in Florida and serving as a technical advisor and information clearinghouse for state and federal hazardous materials programs. The Division of Emergency Management (DEM) is the lead agency responsible for implementing EPCRA and provides staff support to the SERC.
The Commission conducts quarterly public meetings in varying locations throughout the state. Currently, SERC membership comprises 23 Governor-appointed individuals who represent the interests of state and local government, emergency services, industry and the environment. The link below provides the most recent SERC Annual Report.
www.floridadisaster.org/hazmat/serc/documents/2010 SERC AR-final.pdf
Local Emergency Planning Committee: LEPC
There are 10 LEPCs in the State of Florida. The Northeast Florida area is designated as District IV and is comprised of the following counties: Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns.
Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, the LEPC is responsible for preparing a regional hazardous materials emergency response plan, serves as a repository for regional hazardous materials information, and performs outreach functions to increase hazardous materials awareness.
Members of the LEPC consist of local professionals from a variety of occupational categories such as firefighting, law enforcement, emergency management, health, environmental, transportation, local officials, facility owners/operators, etc.
LEPC District IV meetings are scheduled to occur once every quarter on the second Wednesday of the month at 10:00 am. All meetings are open to the public and are advertised in the Florida Administrative Weekly and the Florida Times-Union.
Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grant: HMEP
The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant program is intended to provide financial and technical assistance as well as national direction and guidance to enhance State, Territorial, Tribal, and local hazardous materials emergency planning and training. The HMEP Grant Program distributes fees collected from shippers and carriers of hazardous materials to emergency responders for hazardous materials training and to LEPCs for hazardous materials planning.
• Training for Emergency Responders
The District IV LEPC provides Hazardous Materials training to local first responders and public sector employees. Please contact LEPC staff for a full list of upcoming training opportunities throughout our region.
• Planning Projects
Each year the LEPC District IV selects a planning project to undertake for the year. The options include: Commodity Flow Study, Community Workshops and Section 302 Facility Outreach, Local Emergency Planning Committee Plan Exercise, Quality Control of Submitted Tier II Information, Facility Hazards Analysis Summary, Section 302 Facility Outreach, Shelter in Place Education Enhancement, On-Site Assessment of or Needs Assessment Survey for Hazardous Materials Rapid Response Teams
• Tier II Chemical Inventory Reporting
The LEPC acts as a regional repository for facilities that store hazardous materials. The facilities are required to submit their inventory of certain chemicals that meet or exceed a certain quantity to the SERC, the LEPC, and local fire departments.
Under EPCRA, the report must be submitted annually no later than March 1st. Facilities that must submit Tier II Chemical Inventory Reports include all types of businesses and facilities that store and use hazardous materials.
• How to Comply
LEPC Staff conduct annual workshops for chemical facilities to review facilities’ reporting requirements under EPCRA.
◦How to Comply Manual:
◦Florida Hazardous Materials Information System: FL HMIS enables chemical facilities to electronically submit their information to the SERC, LEPC, and local fire departments.
◦E-Plan: E-Plan is an electronic database of those facilities that have submitted their Tier II Chemical Inventory Report. First responders, emergency managers, and hazardous materials planners can access this information to determine the types of chemicals, their reported quantities, their location on-site, and the associated hazards.
• Hazards Analysis
The Northeast Florida Regional Council performs the Hazards Analysis for five counties: Baker, Clay, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns. Data is collected through site visits to the facilities, which includes emergency contact information, chemical types and quantities, storage methods, identifying major transportation routes, and reviewing historical accident records. The information is entered into a database called Computer Aided Management of Emergency Operations (CAMEOfm v2.2). CAMEO is used to access, store, and evaluate information critical for developing emergency plans. The CAMEO system integrates a chemical database and a method to manage the data, an air dispersion model, and a mapping capability.
• Hazardous Waste
The Council assists two counties, Baker and Nassau, by conducting site inspections for the Small Quantity Generators (SQG) of Hazardous Waste program. Hazardous waste, as defined by 40 CFR Part 261, Subpart D, includes four characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity. Facilities that generate hazardous waste in certain amounts, between 100 to 1,000 kilograms per month, fall into the category of a Small Quantity Generator and must comply with requirements regarding the storage, disposal, transportation, and handling of the waste.
Tyler Nolen, Regional Planner – Emergency Preparedness
Ph: (904) 279-0880 x108