Emergency Planning And Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA)

The EPCRA regulations are designed to inform local governments and the public about chemicals in use in their communities and help them develop emergency plans to respond to chemical incidents. The original act was passed in 1986 and is codified in the regulations at 40 CFR Chapter I Subchapter J Sections 302, 355, 370 and 372. The four types of hazardous materials planning and reporting are:

Several of the reporting requirements overlap. Facilities need to understand the chemical classifications, definitions and reporting thresholds for each section to determine compliance requirements. The U.S. EPA List of Lists [PDF] is a consolidated list of chemicals subject to reporting requirements.

Emergency Planning: EPCRA Sections 301-303 (40 CFR Chapter 1,Subchapter J Part 355 Subparts A and B)

  • Sections 301-303 pertains to facilities using any Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) defined in Appendix A and B of 40 CFR Chapter I Subchapter J part 355 Subpart B). The Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ) for each EHS is also listed in the table. Several of the EHS’s are also CERCLA Hazardous Substances published in Table 302.4 40 CFR 302.
  • Section 301 establishes a Governor appointed State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). The Indiana Emergency Response Commission (IERC) is part of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. The IERC designates multiple Local Emergency Planning Commissions (LEPCs). LEPC members include elected state and local officials, law enforcement officials, civil defense personnel, firefighters, first aid providers, health officials, local environmental, hospital, and transportation personnel, broadcast and print media representatives, community groups, and owners and operators of facilities.
  • Section 302 requires notification to the SERC and LEPC of any EHS present at a facility in amounts equal to or greater than the TPQ for that substance. The quantity is based on the total pounds of the EHS present and not just the amount at a single location of the facility. Facilities must notify their state emergency response commission (SERC) and local emergency planning committee (LEPC) within 60 days after receiving a shipment or producing the substance on site and cooperate with the LEPC in emergency plan preparation. In Indiana, Section 302 reporting is done using the Tier 2 Manager software. The IERC manages the software and provides automatic notification to LEPCs.
  • Section 303 requires each LEPC to have comprehensive emergency plans for their district using the hazardous chemical inventory data provided to them by regulated facilities. Section 303 spells out specific elements which must be included in the plan.

EPCRA Section 304: Emergency Release Notification and CERCLA Section 103 (40 CFR Subchapter J Part 355 Subpart C)

  • Section 304 pertains to facilities who have a release of an ‘EPCRA Reportable EHS’ which is an EHS (defined above) released in excess of either its CERCLA Hazardous Substances Reportable Quantity as published in Table 302.4 at 40 CFR Chapter 1 subchapter J Part 302 or its EHS reportable quantity listed in Appendices A and B of 40 CFR 355. This section does not apply to releases which result in exposure to persons solely within the boundaries of the facility.
  • When an EPCRA reportable release occurs, facilities must immediately send notification with the required information outlined at 40 CFR 355.40 to the LEPC and SERC and follow up as soon as practicable with a notice outlining any updates, actions taken and known or anticipated acute or chronic health risks associated with the release. Indiana requires facilities to provide the immediate notice to the LEPC, SERC and NRC by telephone or radio. Appropriate phone numbers and additional information is available in the Emergency Release Notification Requirements [PDF]. The follow up written report should be submitted using the Tier 2 Manager software which automatically notifies the LEPCs.

EPCRA Sections 311 and 312 MSDS Tier II Inventory Reporting 40 CFR Part 370

  • These sections pertain to facilities using hazardous chemicals defined as those for which a facility must maintain an SDS as required under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard or using extremely hazardous substances at or above the threshold planning quantities (TPQs).
  • The reporting quantities are:
    1. Either the TPQ for EHS’s or 500 lbs whichever is less.
    2. 75,000 gallons for gasoline and 100,000 gallons for diesel at retail fuel stations.
    3. 10,000 pounds for all other hazardous chemicals.
  • To comply with Section 311, facilities must submit copies of SDSs or a list of SDS chemicals to the SERC, LEPC and local fire department. This is a one-time submittal; facilities have three months after becoming subject to the OSHA regulations to submit their material. In Indiana, Section 311 reporting is done using the Tier 2 Manager software.
  • To comply with Section 312, facilities must submit Tier II inventory reports to the SERC, LEPC and local fire department by March 1 each year. Indiana facilities should use the Indiana Department of Homeland Security Tier 2 Manager online software. The information is then automatically available to LEPCs and Fire Departments.

EPCRA Section 313-Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting (Sara Title III- Form R reporting) 40 CFR Part 372.

  • EPCRA Section 313 in general applies to facilities in covered industrial sectors which have 10 or more full time employees and manufacture, process or otherwise use listed toxic chemicals above yearly activity thresholds. Several exemptions are outlined at 40 CFR 372.38 but only apply to Section 313 reporting. The TRI Threshold Screening tool available on the U.S. EPA website can assist facilities in determining Section 313 applicability.
    1. The rule is generally applicable to facilities which manufacture or process over 25,000 lbs, process or otherwise use over 10,000 lbs of a listed toxic chemical over a calendar year. Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic chemicals (PBTs) have lower reporting thresholds. Please note that these are only general criteria and a facility may have additional situations which may cause it to report.
    2. Toxic Chemicals for 313 reporting are defined and listed in Title 40 CFR Part 372.65. Some of these chemicals are EHSs, CERCLA hazardous substances, or both. A list of current TRI reportable chemicals is available from U.S. EPA.
  • The primary function of the TRI is to provide information about potential chemical releases and environmental waste generated and managed by local facilities. Section 313 of EPCRA requires the preparation and submission of detailed reports on the fate of toxic chemicals manufactured, processed, or otherwise used by facilities. The Toxics Release Inventory dataset is available on the U.S. EPA website. The TRI dataset includes information about:
    1. On-site releases and other disposal of toxic chemicals to air, surface water and land
    2. On-site recycling, treatment and energy recovery associated with TRI chemicals
    3. Off-site transfers of toxic chemicals from TRI facilities to other locations
    4. Pollution prevention activities at facilities
    5. Releases of lead, mercury, dioxin and other persistent, bio accumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals
    6. Facilities in a variety of industrial sectors (including manufacturing, metal mining, and electric power generation) and some federal facilities.
  • The Electronic Reporting Rule, effective January 21, 2014, requires facilities to submit, revise, and withdraw non-trade secret TRI forms via TRI-MEweb, U.S. EPA's online TRI reporting application. Training is available for basic and advanced TRI reporting concepts. Facilities making Trade Secret Submissions will still be completed on paper forms, including TRI forms R and A.
  • Indiana participates in the TRI Data Exchange and the TRI Report that is submitted to the U.S. EPA will simultaneously be sent to Indiana; therefore no paper or electronic reports should be sent to the state. Indiana does not impose additional requirements on facilities beyond what is required by federal law and regulations.

It is important that facilities report quantities of TRI releases accurately. The U.S. EPA uses the data to look at facilities more closely. For example, if the data reported shows extremely high levels of a specific toxic metal being released, they may contact the facility to see why so much is being released and may put the facility on their radar for being a risk to citizen’s health.

Additional Resources

If you have questions regarding EPCRA regulations or its amendments please contact a CTAP staff member. To obtain more details on the EPCRA regulation and amendments and other state and local information, the websites in the additional resources section can be useful. EPCRA Reporting Resources:

TRI Reporting Resources:
Additional Resources: