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). In Iowa the SERC is made up of the Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management (IHSEM) with support from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). EPCRA provisions help increase the public's knowledge and access to information on chemicals stored 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
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. Iowa IHSEM is responsible for implementing Section 301-303 and can be contacted at 515-725-3231.
Section 304, Emergency Release Notification (Spill Reporting).
Facilities must provide an emergency notification and a written follow-up notice to the local LEPC and the Iowa DNR 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. Contact the DNR at 515-725-8694 to make a required report. 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 (SDS) for any hazardous chemical stored or used in the work place above regulatory thresholds to submit an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form (TIER II) to the DNR, LEPC, and local fire department. The TIER II form is due annually on March 1st. Approximately 500,000 products have SDSs.
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 controlled release or disposal of specified chemicals. The form must be submitted annually to EPA and the DNR by July 1. The form covers releases and disposal of toxic materials that occurred during the preceding calendar year.