SARA TITLE III
Overview of SARA Title III
SARA Title III (Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986), also know as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), was passed in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals. These concerns were triggered by the disaster in Bhopal, India, in which more than 2,000 people suffered death or serious injury from the accidental release of methyl isocyanine. To reduce the likelihood of such a disaster in the United States, Congress imposed requirements on both states and regulated facilities.
SARA Title III 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 the public’s knowledge and access to information on chemicals at individual facilities, their uses and releases into environment. States and communities, working with facilities, can use the information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.
SARA Title III (EPCRA) has four major provisions:
- Emergency Planning
- Emergency release notification
- Hazardous chemical storage reporting requirements
- Toxic chemical release inventory
Overview of Act 165
Act 165 encases establishing a Statewide hazardous material safety program; creating the Hazardous Material Response Fund; providing for the creation of Hazardous Material Emergency Response Accounts in each county; further providing for the powers and duties of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council and the counties and local governments; imposing obligations on certain handlers of hazardous materials; and imposing penalties.
Owners or operators of facilities that have hazardous chemicals on hand in quantities equal to or greater than set threshold levels must submit a Tier Two form. The purpose of the Tier Two form is to provide State and local officials and the public with specific information on hazardous chemicals present at the facility during the past year. It is the responsibility of the facility to report to the county.
Planning facilities are facilities that have extremely hazardous chemicals on hand that meet or exceed reporting thresholds. These facilities are required to do an Off-site Emergency Response Plan. Help is offered to facilities to complete this plan by the Act 165 Coordinator. The plan is then presented to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) by the Act 165 Coordinator for approval.