Hazardous Substance Reporting
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act regulations and related actions help U.S. communities deal safely and effectively with hazardous substances used in our society. Concerns about chemical safety were triggered by the 1984 disaster in Bhopal, India, caused by an accidental release of methylisocyanate. The release killed or severely injured more than 2000 people.
Community Right-to-Know has been an important aspect of pollution prevention since 1986 when Congress passed the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) as a part of the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA). EPCRA establishes a database framework so that local governments can develop chemical emergency response programs. In part, Community Right-to-Know informs the public of chemical releases to air, water and land by reporting facilities in their communities. In Minnesota, the EPCRA program is administered by the Homeland Security & Emergency Management Division (Department of Public Safety).
Key Requirements of EPCRA are:
- Emergency Planning
- Emergency Notification
- Community Right to Know
- Toxics Release Inventory
Information collected and exchanged encourages pollution prevention planning so that opportunities to reduce or eliminate pollution at its source are recognized. It plays a significant and widespread role to help reporting facilities, state and local environmental agencies and communities develop a broad perspective on chemical hazards and opportunities to reduce them for the benefit of all concerned.
The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) laws require facilities in certain industries, which manufacture, process or otherwise use certain toxic chemicals above specified thresholds, to report annually:
- the amounts of toxic chemicals released into the environment
- transferred off-site for treatment
- used for energy recovery
- disposed of
- managed on-site at the facility
The Minnesota EPCRA Program manages this information the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) database. The data are collected from various covered industries including manufacturing, electric utilities, commercial hazardous waste treatment and other industrial sectors. The searchable database includes annual chemical release and management data from reporting facilities back to 1988. Search the database by chemical or Minnesota facility, city or county. The US EPA provides TRI tools for finding and evaluation TRI information nationwide.
The University has a number of EPCRA reportable sites and chemicals that may present a physical or health danger to the public. Only specific chemicals and volumes meet the criteria for inclusion. There are no TRI reportable sites in the University system.
EPCRA reported chemicals fall into these categories:
- Fuels & Oils: including diesel fuel for emergency generators, fuel oil for steam plant operations, or gasoline, ethanol or mixed fuels for fleet vehicles; hydraulic oils for equipment and operations; and scintillation fluids for research.
- Compressed gases: including chlorine for water treatment; propane/natural gas for heating purposes; ammonia for farm and research; freon for campus cooling and operations;
- Strong Acids/Bases for operations (lead acid batteries) and research activities.
Many regulated chemicals are contained in tanks also regulated as an Aboveground or Underground Storage tanks. Visit the Land Programs page for more information about University tanks.