Local Emergency Planning Committee Information
- What is the Local Emergency Planning Committee?
The current LEPC was established in Alamance County subsequent to the 1986 Superfund Amendment and reauthorization Act (SARA) to respond to the need for communities to know more about chemical hazards in Alamance County and to develop specific local response plans for Alamance County. This committee consists of representatives from industry, interested community members, government officials, and individuals from specific agencies who assure that Alamance County has the planning and resource capabilities for Chemical Emergencies. The primary responsibility is to protect the public health and the environment from chemical hazards by continually identifying facilities that manufacture, process or store these materials in Alamance County. This responsibility extends to informing and educating the public about methods it can use to protect itself and to assist governmental agencies to become better prepared to meet possible emergency events caused by these hazardous materials.
- Why was the LEPC formed?
When a chemical incident in India killed and injured thousands of people in 1985, there was concern as to whether that same kind of incident could happen here in the U.S. In answer to rising attention President Ronald Reagan signed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act into law on October 16, 1986. Title III of that Act is known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). One of the first actions of the Act was for each Governor to appoint a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). This commission divided the state into Local Emergency Planning Districts (LEPD’s) and appointed members of that community to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).
- Who serves on the LEPC?
Members from certain agencies and businesses who have an interest or play an active role in response to chemical emergencies serve on the LEPC. They assist in the formation and annual review of an Emergency Plan that is required by law. EPCRA specifies certain roles that must be included in the membership of the LEPC. This membership includes state and local elected officials, police, firefighters, EMS, civil defense workers, public health, environmental, hospital, and transportation officials, industry representatives, news media public/community members. Individuals from each of these groups are appointed to the LEPC through the NC Emergency Response Commission.
- How do you know what to plan for?
In North Carolina, each facility that maintains over 55 gallons or 500 pounds of any Hazardous Substance (HS) in inventory that is classified as a hazardous substance by federal standards is required to report that chemical to certain agencies. The reports are called Tier Two reports and they are due prior to March 1st of each year.
For facilities in Alamance County, Tier II reports should be submitted to:
1.) the local fire department serving the facility
2.) the Alamance County Local Emergency Planning Committee via the Online Tier II Reporting System
3.) the North Carolina State Emergency Response Commission via E-Plan
Certain chemicals with the potential for greater harm to public safety and the environment are listed as Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS’s) and are given lower reporting amounts called Threshold Planning Quantities (TPQ’s), which require reporting for amounts as low as 10 lbs. up to 500 lbs. or more of these chemicals. For a list of EHS’s and their TPQ’s please consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Consolidated List of Lists.
- How do you plan for emergencies involving the transportation of chemicals?
Our LEPC did a transportation study of the flow of hazardous materials on I-85/40 and this study gave us a good idea of the amount of hazardous materials coming through Alamance County. Other information obtained on this study was 1.) types of material and 2.) day of the week and time of day that most materials are transported. Such data provides a means of predicting possible spill release scenarios for contingency emergency planning involving such substances. This planning assures that appropriate resources will be available if and when actual emergencies do happen.