Hazardous Materials Reporting Deadline Looms
From Portage County Emergency Management
On April 17, 2013, a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in central Texas killed 15 people and injured more than 160. The incident at the West Fertilizer Company is considered one of the worst industrial accidents in U.S. history. In the aftermath of that tragedy, questions have been raised about what information emergency first responders and the local residents have about the risk facilities in their neighborhood can pose.
That’s where the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) can help. 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. States and communities, working with facilities, can use the information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.
EPCRA requires companies to document and report hazardous materials used and stored in its facilities.
On or before March 1, 2014, companies are required to submit an Annual Inventory Report for chemicals present the previous calendar year that were stored above the reporting threshold. Facilities with more than 10 full-time equivalent employees may owe an inventory fee.
What is the purpose?
- Identification of hazardous chemicals currently stored at a facility.
- Emergency planning and response.
- Community right-to-know.
Which chemicals must be reported?
- Extremely Hazardous Substances stored at 500 pounds or the threshold planning quantity (whichever is less) at any one time. For list of substances go to: http://emergencymanagement.wi.gov/EPCRA/program.asp
- Any hazardous chemical requiring a safety data sheet under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard and being stored at 10,000 pounds or more.
Where do facilities report chemicals?
- Go to Wisconsin Hazmat Online Planning and Reporting System (WHOPRS) at: https://whoprs.wisconsin.gov/
- Facilities can also submit hard copy reports. These need to be submitted to Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) so that the information can be data entered into the online system. In Wisconsin hard copy reports do not need to be submitted to the LEPC and Local Fire Department as the online system meets this requirement.
More detailed information is available on the Wisconsin Emergency Management web site. For more information please go to http://emergencymanagement.wi.gov.
Facilities that would like additional information should contact Portage County Emergency Management Office at (715) 346-1397.