Emergency Planning and Community Rightto Know

Congress amended CERCLA in 1986 with the enactment of the SARA. These amendments improved the Superfund program and added an important section that focused on strengthening the rights of citizens and communities in the face of potential hazardous substance emergencies. This section, SARA Title III, or the EPCRA, was enacted in response to the more than 2000 deaths caused by the release of a toxic chemical in Bhopal, India.

EPCRA22 is intended to help communities prepare to respond in the event of a chemical emergency, and to increase the public's knowledge of the presence and threat of hazardous chemicals. To this end, EPCRA requires the establishment of state and local committees to prepare communities for potential chemical emergencies. The focus of the preparation is a community emergency response plan that must

1. Identify the sources of potential emergencies.

2. Develop procedures for responding to emergencies.

3. Designate who will coordinate the emergency response.

EPCRA also requires facilities to notify the appropriate state and local authorities if releases of certain chemicals occur. Facilities must also compile specific information about hazardous chemicals they have on-site and the threats posed by those substances. Some of this information must be provided to state and local authorities. More specific data must be made available upon request from those authorities or from the general public.

The primary interaction between RCRA and EPCRA is that some RCRA TSDFs treating hazardous waste are required to submit annual reports to U.S. EPA of their releases of chemicals to air, land, and water.2

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

Remember to prepare for everyone in the home. When you are putting together a plan to prepare in the case of an emergency, it is very important to remember to plan for not only yourself and your children, but also for your family pets and any guests who could potentially be with you at the time of the emergency.

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