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EMERGENCY PLANNING

District 5 Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
Hazards Analyses
Small Quantity Hazardous Waste Verification Program (SQG)

 

District 5 Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)

The District 5 LEPC was created in 1988 in response to legislation provided by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA)/SARA Title III. LEPCs are designed to facilitate emergency planning efforts at the local level, and assist with regional coordination and help public and emergency responders address hazardous materials public safety issues. All States have LEPCs. In Florida, the LEPCs are organized in conjunction with the eleven Regional Planning Councils. The District 5 LEPC is composed of three coastal and two inland counties in Central Florida: Citrus, Hernando, Levy, Marion and Sumter. The Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council, in existence since 1973, provides the necessary staff support for the District 5 LEPC with funding from the Florida Department of Community Affairs.

Mission Statement

The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), as established pursuant to Section 301 of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), Title III/Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA), shall prepare regional hazardous materials emergency plans which indicate the facilities that store, use, or produce hazardous substances at or above established threshold amounts.

  • The LEPC shall serve as the repository for regional reports filed under SARA Title III.
  • The LEPC shall direct regional SARA Title III implementation activities and perform associated outreach functions to increase awareness and understanding of and compliance with the SARA Title III program.
  • The LEPC shall play an active role in risk communication, public education, industry outreach, mitigation, and emergency planning associated with 112(r) and Risk Management Planning.

Applicable Laws:

  • Federal law, passed 1986: Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), Title III/Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. (This is unrelated to OSHA's Worker Right-To-Know [29 CFR 1910.1200].)
  • State law, passed 1988: Florida Hazardous Materials Emergency Response and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1988. Administered by the Florida DCA, Bureau of Compliance Planning and Support.
  • Federal law, passed 1990: Clean Air Act as amended in 1994, Section 112(r)(7).
  • State law, passed 1998: Florida Accidental Release Prevention and Risk Management Planning (ARP/RMP). Administered by the Department of Community Affairs.

Program Responsibilities and Requirements

The LEPC is a committee of people representing eighteen (18) occupational categories that have an interest in hazardous materials response planning. Examples of occupational categories include: fire fighting, emergency management, law enforcement, first aid or EMS, health organizations, media representatives, local environmental agencies and local officials.

The District 5 Local Emergency Planning Committee is crucial to the development and successful implementation, if required, of the Hazardous Materials Emergency Plan for the Withlacoochee Region. The LEPC is not responsible for response; however, its function in mitigation and preparedness activities reduces the possibility of a hazardous materials incident. Promoting education and training throughout the region in order to provide information about hazardous materials, emergency planning, and health and environmental risks has and continues to be the paramount objective of the LEPC.

The LEPC works closely with the State to encourage compliance with Title III reporting requirements. During the annual State sponsored EPCRA Awareness Week, the LEPC publicizes its own plans for the week to alert the community to related activities. Public workshops and attendance by LEPC staff at county expos play a large role in the education and outreach process.

The LEPC is dedicated to the idea that "well trained is well prepared." Free of charge training opportunities are continuously offered for personnel in the law enforcement, emergency medical services (EMS), fire fighting and public works fields.

Meetings and Membership

All LEPC meetings are open to the public and are held quarterly. For more information or to be placed on the "interested party" list, please contact staff at the WRPC office.

Prospective members should submit a letter to request appointment to the District 5 LEPC.

Address: Chairperson, District 5 LEPC, c/o Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council, 1241 S.W. 10th Street, Ocala, FL 34474-2798.

Please include relevant background and a brief statement regarding your occupation and/or interest in the LEPC.

Membership is contingent upon the current availability in a particular category and SERC approval.

SARA Title III/EPCRA

The EPCRA legislation was passed by the United States Congress in response to the 1984 Bhopal, India release of poison gas where more than 3,000 persons lost their lives. The State of Florida's corresponding legislation was passed in 1988. This legislation is known as the Florida Hazardous Materials Emergency Response and Community Right-To-Know Act.

This federal and state law applies to any facility, public or private, that stores/uses/produces or has present, hazardous materials at or above established threshold amounts. For the group of substances known as "extremely hazardous substances" (EHS), the threshold amounts range from 10 pounds to 1,000 pounds at any one time during the calendar year. For all other hazardous substances, the threshold amount is 10,000 pounds.

The purpose of the law is to facilitate emergency planning efforts at the state and local levels, and to increase the public's access to information about the hazardous materials that exist in their communities. Companies and public agencies submit annual reports by March 1st that include information on the SARA Title III hazardous chemicals. The LEPC uses this information to develop its Hazardous Materials Emergency Plan. This plan is revised annually and approved by the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC).

State Emergency Response Commission (SERC)

The LEPCs fall under the purview of the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) which was also created by SARA Title III. The SERC is a policy board whose members are appointed by the Governor. The SERC approves the members who serve on the eleven LEPCs. SERC meetings are held quarterly and are coordinated by the Florida Department of Community Affairs (FDCA), Bureau of Compliance Planning and Support. The Chairman of the SERC is always the Secretary of the FDCA, with the FDCA staff administering the programs. Compliance and enforcement powers are vested in the SERC and FDCA.


Hazards Analysis

Any facility that has reported an amount equal to or greater than the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ) of any "Extremely Hazardous Substance" covered by EPCRA (also known as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986) must submit a report to the State Emergency Response Commission. These facilities are commonly referred to as "302 Facilities" as a result of the section under EPCRA that established the law.

The Hazards Analysis (HA) planning process in Florida is an integral part of a community or region's emergency plan. The RPC through its Department of Community Affairs contract is mandated to include the list of these facilities within the contents of the Regional Hazardous Materials Emergency Plan.

Program Responsibilities and Requirements

On an annual basis the State contracts with each county to update the information on 50% of their 302 facilities and to produce a map showing the threat zone for each of the chemicals stored on site. The WRPC assists a number of the Region's county emergency management offices for these services.

When conducting the HA process all of the facilities identified by the state must have an on-site visit to update the facilities information and meet the contract requirements.

Required work products are submitted to the State for review. Upon approval, all data is provided to the appropriate emergency management office. Information is also shared with local first responders to enhance response capabilities in the event of an emergency. Staff often assist the counties in providing the facilities a copy.


Small Quantity Generator Hazardous Waste Verification Program

All counties are mandated by Florida Statutes to conduct a Small Quantity Generator (SQG) Hazardous Waste Assessment, Notification and Verification Program annually. The program is administered at the State level by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Waste Management, Bureau of Solid and Hazardous Waste.

The goal of the program continues to be environmental protection through business assistance. The primary functions of the program are identification, notification and on-site verification of businesses that are considered active and/or potential generators of hazardous waste. Within the Withlacoochee Region, Levy county contracts with the Planning Council to complete the requirements.

Program Responsibilities and Requirements

During a yearly cycle, the database for each county is continually updated. County tax rolls, city business licenses and even phone books are used to add potential businesses to the rolls. A great number of the added businesses are identified when on-site inspections are being conducted. Likewise, those facilities that are determined as no longer in business are deleted.

Staff also maintains an on-going relationship with personnel from the respective Department of Environmental Protection districts. This can sometimes result in a business being referred to the DEP office as needing an inspection. In turn, the DEP district offices provide copies of correspondence to the Regional Planning Council for those found in violation.


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