(EPCRA - Community Right to Know - use or storage of hazardous chemicals)

What is EPCRA?

EPCRA, or the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, establishes requirements regarding emergency planning and reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. The “Community Right-to-Know” provisions help increase the public’s knowledge and access to information on chemicals at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. EPCRA was passed in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals.

EPCRA has four major provisions:

  • Emergency planning (Section 301-303)
  • Emergency release notification (Section 304)
  • Hazardous chemical storage reporting requirements (Sections 311-312),
  • Toxic chemical release inventory (Section 313)

Federal regulations require that hazardous chemicals stored or used in certain amounts at a facility be reported to the local emergency planning committees and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). These reports are also provided to local fire departments who would respond to emergencies involving hazardous chemicals.

Specific requirements for EPCRA reporting are triggered by the use of certain threshold quantities of “hazardous chemicals” and “extremely hazardous substances.” If the quantities of chemicals exceed 10,000 pounds or “threshold planning quantities,” then a number of reporting requirements exist. Hazardous chemicals that tenants may use in sufficient quantities at the airports to trigger EPCRA reporting could include:

  • Fuels (i.e., gasoline, diesel fuel, No. 2 fuel oil)
  • Pavement deicing chemicals (i.e., aircraft deicing fluid, potassium acetate, sodium acetate)
  • Paint

To determine if any of the materials you have on site trigger these requirements for you, refer to 40 CFR 68.130.

Safety data sheets (SDSs) are prepared by manufacturers of products that contain hazardous chemicals, and describe what chemicals are contained in the product, their potential hazards, and precautions for safe use of the product.

EPCRA contains a number of notification and reporting requirements including:

  • Initial notification to the state if you meet the threshold (Section 302)
  • Accidental release notification (Section 304)
  • Routine reporting of Material Safety Data Sheets to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the local fire department. (Section 311)
  • Routine annual reporting of your hazardous chemical inventory (Section 312)
  • Routine annual reporting of your toxic chemical release inventory (Section 313)

For more specific information on these requirements see the MDE Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know page.

Violations of hazardous waste laws in Maryland may be considered a felony and may result in criminal or criminal penalties up to $25,000 per violation. Imprisonment of up to two years may also result from criminal penalties.