The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) establishes requirements for Federal, State, local governments, Indian Tribes, and industry regarding emergency planning and "Community Right-to-Know" reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. The act requires the establishment of a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) to coordinate planning and receipt of hazardous and toxic chemical reports. The Community Right-to-Know Act 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.
You can find what facilities are located in your neighborhood from the US EPA website, EnviroFacts
or the state of Iowa's website, Facility Explorer
EPCRA has four major provisions:
Section 301-303, Emergency Planning
- Contact the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division at 515/725-3231 for information.
The emergency planning section of the law is designed to help communities prepare for and respond to emergencies involving hazardous substances. Every community in the United States must be part of a comprehensive plan. In Iowa the Homeland Security Emergency Management Division is responsible for implementing Section 301-303.
Section 304, Emergency Release Notification (Spill Reporting).
Facilities must provide an emergency notification and a written follow-up notice to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) (for any area likely to be affected by the release) if there is a release into the environment of a hazardous substance that is equal to or exceeds the minimum reportable quantity set in the regulations. In Iowa these reports are made to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at (515) 281-8694. If the release meets federal reporting requirements notification must be made to the EPA within 15 minutes.
Section 311-312 Hazardous Chemical Storage Reporting (Tier II).
Section 311/312 requires facilities that have a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for any hazardous chemicals stored or used in the work place above certain quantities to submit an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form (TIER II) to the SERC, LEPC, and local fire department. The TIER II form is due annually on March 1st. Approximately 500,000 products have MSDSs.
Section 313 Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Reporting (TRI)
EPCRA section 313 requires facilities meeting regulatory requirements to complete a Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) Form annually for specified chemicals. The form must be submitted annually to EPA and the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) by July 1. The form covers releases and other waste management of toxic chemicals that occurred during the preceding calendar year.