State & Federal Regulations Related to Hazardous Materials Reporting
On December 4, 1984, methyl isocyanate, an extremely toxic chemical escaped from a Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, India. Thousands died and many more were injured. Some suffered permanent disabilities. Approximately six months later, a similar incident occurred at the Institute, West Virginia. These two events raised concern about local preparedness for chemical emergencies and the availability of information on hazardous chemicals.
In response to these concerns, Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) in 1986. EPCRA establishes requirements for federal, state, and local governments, Indian tribes, and industry regarding emergency planning and "Community Right-to-Know" reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. The Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase public's knowledge and access to information on chemicals at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. States and communities, working with facilities, can use the information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.
EPCRA Fact Sheet - EPA
EPCRA - Full Version
Facilities that are unsure whether the chemicals they use or process are required to be reported should review the EPCRA regulation thoroughly. In addition, the following document, "EPA List of Lists" contains a comprehensive listing of those materials which are required to be reported over a certain amount. Facility owners/operators are also encouraged to review this document for additional information.
EPA List of Lists
In December 1990, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania promulgated Act 165 - The Hazardous Materials Emergency and Response Act in concert with the requirements set forth in the newly created EPCRA and SARA Title III. Act 165 establishes a system of fees and grants to help support local efforts in compliance. There are provisions for establishment at the county-level of both planning and per-chemical fees to be collected and utilized by the county for its hazmat programs. There is also a state-level program (Pennsylvania Tier II System (PATTS)) which collects fees from Tier II facilities and channels most of those funds back to the counties in the form of matching grants to supplement their hazmat programs.
Act 165 Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning and Response Act
PEMA Act 165 Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning Page
The Bureau of Occupational & Industrial Safety/PENNSAFE program is the state repository for Tier II Reports filed by the owners and/or operators of Pennsylvania facilities. Under federal and state law, the county Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC) and the responding local fire departments also must receive a copy of the Tier II report. In Pennsylvania Tier II reports are filed online using the Pennsylvania Tier II System (PATTS). NOTE: FOR BUSINESSES LOCATED IN BERKS COUNTY, THESE ORGANIZATIONS MUST COMPLETE THEIR ONLINE REPORT THROUGH THE PATTS SYSTEM AND THE BERKS COUNTY TIER II MANAGER PROGRAM.
Pennsylvania Tier II System (PATTS)
Berks County Tier II Manager