Serving DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk Counties

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA)

Passed by Congress as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986. It establishes requirements for a unique public/private partnership of federal, state and local governments and industry for planning and reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. On July 6, 1988, the Governor signed into law the “Florida Hazardous Materials Emergency Response and Community Right-to-Know Act,” which implements the federal legislation. The major provisions of the federal legislation is divided into sections.

Section 302: Emergency Planning Notification

Facilities that have present an extremely hazardous substance (EHS) at or in excess of an established threshold planning quantity must notify the State Emergency Response Commission and their Local Emergency Planning Committee that they are subject to Section 302.

Section 304: Emergency Release Notification

Facilities that have an off-site release of an extremely hazardous substance or any of the chemicals listed in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 in excess of the reportable quantity for that substance must immediately notify the SERC and LEPC by calling the State Warning Point. A written follow-up notice must be sent to the SERC and the LEPC after the release.

Section 311-312: Community Right-To-Know Reporting Requirements

Section 311 concerns facilities which must maintain material safety data sheets (MSDSs) under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regulations. It requires those facilities which have hazardous substances in certain threshold amounts to submit a list of those chemicals grouped by the Environmental Protection Agency’s five hazard categories to the LEPC and the SERC.

Section 312 requires facilities to submit hazardous chemical inventory forms on the same chemicals covered in Section 311. These forms must also be sent to the SERC, the LEPC, and local fire departments by March 1 of every year.

Section 313: Toxic Chemical Release Reporting

Under Section 313, certain businesses are required to submit reports each year on the amounts of chemicals their facilities releases into the environment, either routinely or as a result of accidents. The purpose of this reporting requirement is to inform government officials and the public about releases of toxic chemicals into the environment. Section 313 requires facilities to report releases to air, water and land.