A Federal Law – SARA Title III (Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986) gives citizens a way to inquire about certain hazardous substances within their community. The law requires that facilities having applicable quantities of such materials must report specific information on an annual basis to the Dutchess County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). The LEPC uses this data to improve local emergency readiness, thus reducing the risks associated with hazardous substances.
SARA TITLE III has four major components:
The emergency planning sections are designed to improve local emergency readiness and response. Under SARA TITLE III, Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) have been created, consisting of state and local elected officials, police, fire and civil defense professionals, hospital officials, environmental specialists, the news media, community groups and members of the industry.
The primary responsibility of the LEPC is to develop emergency response plans. Plans were completed by October 17, 1988 and are annually reviewed and updated.
The emergency notification provisions of SARA TITLE III require facilities to immediately notify the LEPC and the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) of any accidental spill or release into the environment of specified amounts of more than 900 designated hazardous substances. The notification must include the name and amount of the chemical released, any known or expected health risks associated with the chemical, and proper precautions to be taken including evacuation or other protective measures.
Hazardous substance releases within or affecting Dutchess County must be reported by the facility to the New York SERC at (518) 457-2200 and to the Dutchess County LEPC at (845) 471-1414 or in the event the release is an emergency, then call 911. Such notifications must be followed-up with a written report to the commission and to the committee.
These measures complement previous regulatory requirements for informing government agencies about the releases of hazardous substances.
The community right-to-know provisions of SARA TITLE III require facilities to provide local authorities Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) or a list covering all hazardous chemicals present at sites affected by the new law. An MSDS contains information about a chemical’s properties, possible health effects, exposure limits and safety measures.
Annually, on or before the first of March, facilities must provide information about the storage and amounts of hazardous chemicals present at a facility, expressed both as a maximum amount and as a daily average.
The toxic chemical release reporting section of SARA TITLE III requires facilities that produce, use or store certain amounts of 329 designated toxic chemicals to report any releases of these chemicals to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to state officials. Beginning in 1988, the reports must be submitted annually on or before the first of July.
This information helps local, state and federal agencies in research and in the development of regulations, guidelines and standards. Based on the data submitted by companies, the EPA has established and maintained a computerized national toxic chemical inventory.