Chemicals that are classified as an EHS are reportable at lower levels. Certain Threshold
Planning Quantities (TPQ's) are established that are below 55 gallons or 500 pounds.
Facilities must notify the LEPC and SERC immediately by letter that an EHS is in their
inventory, as well as the name of a facility representative to assist in planning needs.
The facility must provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to the SERC and LEPC for each reported chemical in inventory. The MSDS is a
chemical or product specific form that details the risks associated with the chemical. A
MSDS will describe the chemical, how it will react in fires or with other chemicals, how
it affects humans and what first aid measures should be used. The MSDS will also provide
protective clothing information and emergency numbers to obtain information from the
manufacturers. All of this information is vital for planning and emergency response.
Chemicals considered trade secret are protected under EPCRA to prevent company secrets from being stolen. Emergency
responders and health care providers still have the right to request certain information
on the effects and protective actions needed during a release of that product. The
chemical specific information may not be revealed, but it is against the law to withhold
emergency response information from a medical professional.
When a facility has had an accidental release that
threatens or goes into the environment, they may have to report the release to specific
agencies. In Harford County the law requires that the Emergency Operations Center must be notified
immediately upon the release of any amount of hazardous materials into the environment.
The emergency number 9-1-1 should be used for this purpose.
The State of Maryland also requires notification to the Maryland
Department of the Environment, within 2 hours of the release at 410-974-3551. If any
chemical, to include petroleum, enters a waterway or storm drain they must be reported.
On the Federal level, the release is reportable if it enters a waterway
or when the predetermined Reportable Quantity (RQ) has been reached. The RQ for an EHS may
be as small as 1 pound, while others are much higher. If the release requires Federal
reporting, you must notify the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.
During any notification the caller will need to provide certain information. Have the following information available to assure no delay during notification:
- Name of the facility
- Address where the release is occurring
- The caller's name
- What is the product being released
- How long has the release been occurring
- Phone number
- Health effects associated with the product
- Did the release enter a waterway
- What has been done to stop the release
In most cases, notification to the local authorities will result in
some type of emergency response. This can range from a full scale Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) response for large
incidents to a smaller response of a local official for a small release that can be
Proper planning and training for facility employees on emergency
procedures will reduce the response time to an incident and reduce clean up costs. Making
sure that employees know the proper notifications to make will reduce the chance of large
fines and imprisonment for facility officials. Fines can be up to $27,500 per incident,
per reporting point for each day notification is not completed.
After a reportable release has occurred the facility may be required to
file a written report to the SERC and LEPC. These reports are known as 304 reports and
detail the questions asked in the initial notification. The facility will also have to
expand the report to include what clean-up methods were used and what the facility has
done to assure that this type of incident will not occure again. These reports are
maintained for public information and can be obtained through the State Emergency Response
Commission at the Communty Right to Know Section of Martyland Department of the
Environment (410) 631-3000 or the Local Emergency Planning Committee (410) 638-4900.
Harford County HAZMAT Law
In Harford County there is a specific hazardous material law. This law
requires the immediate notification to Emergency
Operations for any spill of a chemical, including petroleum, that threatens or enters
the environment. The 9-1-1 emergency number should be used for this
purpose. Any citizen who sees an environmental crime or hazard taking place should call
9-1-1 immediately. Fines for non-compliance in Harford County are up to $1,000 per
incident, per day of the release. Criminal penalties can be applied to the party
responsible for non-compliance to this regulation.
How the LEPC can help the Reporting Facility
The Harford County LEPC provides FREE EPCRA
compliance assistance to any business that needs help with its reporting requirements.
Contact the Harford County Emergency Operations
Center at 410-638-4900 or e-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
to set up an appointment with the SARA Title III Coordinator or the Environmental
Enforcement Officer. They will visit the site and review the reporting requirements, if
any, that the facility must complete. After the reporting requirements are known they will
help the facility by providing a Tier II form and training on
how to complete the forms properly. They can also provide administrative assistance
to assure the forms are filled out properly and mailed to the correct reporting locations.
THIS IS A FREE SERVICE PROVIDED BY HARFORD COUNTY GOVERNMENT.
You may download a copy of the "Right-To-Know
a Guide For Business" from here.
The Harford County LEPC maintains that assisting the facility with
compliance is the best policy to assure a balance between the community, business and
emergency responders. If a problem is found that places the facility in violation, the
LEPC will work with that facility to achieve compliance.
For your convenience the EPA has provided the following
documentation from their web site "Chemicals in Your Community - A Guide to the
Emergency Planning Community Right-to-Know Act".