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

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The objective of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) is to: (1) allow state and local planning for chemical emergencies, (2) provide for notification of emergency releases of chemicals, and (3) address communities' right-to-know about toxic and hazardous chemicals.

Summary of EPCRA

Agriculture-Specific Requirements

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Related topics
Emergency Planning and Response

Related publications from the Ag Center
Emergency Planning and Response

Text of EPCRA Law and Related Regulations
Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (SARA Title III) Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 350-- Trade Secrecy Claims for Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Known Information
40 CFR Part 355 -- Emergency Planning and Notification
40 CFR Parts 372  -- Toxic Chemical Release Reporting: Community Right-To-Know

More information from EPA 
Amendment to Emergency Planning and Notification
EPCRA Requirements
Electronic Self-Disclosure under the EPA Audit Policy
Tier2*Submit Information for 2007 Chemical Inventory Reporting
Fact Sheet: Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know
EPCRA Databases and Tools
Title III Consolidated List of Lists (PDF) (105pp, 804K)
EPA Provides Guidance on Reporting Options and Interpretations for EPCRA Sections 311 and 312

More information from states
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Exit EPA
EZregs Exit EPA - University of Illinois Extension Web site that identifies environmental regulations that pertain to specific agricultural and horticultural operations and practices in Illinois.

EPCRA Compliance and Enforcement
EPCRA: Agriculture-Related Enforcement Cases
EPA Civil Enforcement Division
Multimedia Enforcement Division
Policies and Guidance for EPCRA
Protocol for Conducting Environmental Compliance Audits under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and CERCLA Section 103 (PDF) (56pp, 428K) 

Overview of Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 created EPCRA, also known as SARA Title III, a statute designed to improve community access to information about chemical hazards and to facilitate the development of chemical emergency response plans by state/tribe and local governments. EPCRA required the establishment of state/tribe emergency response commissions (SERCs/TERCs), responsible for coordinating certain emergency response activities and for appointing local emergency planning committees (LEPCs).

EPCRA and the EPCRA regulations (40 CFR Parts 350-372) establish four types of reporting obligations for facilities that store or manage specified chemicals.

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Emergency Planning and Notification

EPCRA Section 302 requires facilities to notify the SERC and LEPC of the presence of any "extremely hazardous substance" (the list of such substances is in 40 CFR Part 355, Appendices A and B ) if it has such a substance in excess of the substance's threshold planning quantity, and directs the facility to appoint an emergency response coordinator.

Emergency Planning and Agriculture
Agricultural establishments storing any amount of "extremely hazardous" substances above a specified threshold must notify the state and the local emergency planning committee.

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Emergency Release Reporting

EPCRA Section 304 requires a facility to notify the SERC and the LEPC in the event of a release exceeding the reportable quantity of a CERCLA hazardous substance or an EPCRA extremely hazardous substance.

Release Reporting and Agriculture
Businesses that produce, store, or use "Extremely Hazardous Substances" or CERCLA hazardous chemicals report to federal, state, and local authorities non-permitted releases of any listed chemical above threshold amounts. Release could be into the atmosphere, surface water, or groundwater. Agricultural producers and other agribusinesses should work with their local emergency planning committee (LEPC) to ensure that the LEPC has sufficient information to respond if a local emergency occurs. Proper application of pesticide products, as well as handling and storage of those pesticide products by an agricultural producer, are excluded.

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Hazardous Chemical Notification and Inventory Reporting

EPCRA Section 311-312 applies to any facility at which a hazardous chemical, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, is present in an amount exceeding a specified threshold. These facilities must submit -- to the SERC, LEPC, and local fire department -- material safety data sheets (MSDSs) or lists of MSDSs and hazardous chemical inventory forms (also known as Tier I and II forms). This information helps the local government respond in the event of a spill or release of the chemical.

Emergency Notification and Agriculture
EPCRA requires businesses that store threshold amounts of chemicals that are subject to OSHA's Hazardous Communication Standard to submit information -- including facility point of contact and the Material Safety Data Sheets (or a list of  those chemicals) -- to state and local authorities in order to facilitate emergency planning and response. Annual reporting to state and local authorities is required for all covered facilities that have those chemicals in amounts above threshold. Hazardous chemicals used in routine agricultural operations and fertilizers held for resale by retailers are excluded.

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Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Reporting

EPCRA Section 313 requires manufacturing facilities included in SIC codes 20 through 39 to submit an annual toxic chemical release report if they have 10 or more employees and if they manufacture, process, or use specified chemicals in amounts greater than threshold quantities. This report, commonly known as Form R, covers releases and transfers of toxic chemicals to various facilities and environmental media, and allows EPA to compile the national Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) database.

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Information Publicly Available

All information submitted pursuant to EPCRA regulations is publicly accessible, unless protected by a trade secret claim.

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