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Understanding SARA Title III
What is SARA Title III?
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the original Superfund act, was passed by Congress in 1980 to clean up the nation's hazardous waste sites. In response to continuing community concern about hazardous materials and chemical release tragedies such as the incident in Bohpal, India, a reauthorization and expansion of Superfund was signed into law October 17, 1986.
It is known as the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Title III of SARA created a new nationwide program known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
What is the purpose of SARA Title III?
The law was designed to improve local hazardous materials emergency response capabilities and provide the public with information about hazardous and toxic chemicals in their community.
SARA Title III:
Requires communities to develop emergency plans to protect themselves from chemical accidents. Gives citizens the right to know about hazardous chemicals stored and released in their community.
SARA Title III is divided into the following sections:
- Emergency Planning and Facility Notification (Sections 301-303).
- Emergency Notification (Section 304).
- Community Right-to-Know Reporting Requirements (Sections 311-312).
- Sections 311-312 apply to businesses but exempts substances and fertilizers used in routine agricultural operations.
- Toxic Release Inventory Reporting (Section 313).
- Section 313 applies only to manufacturers.
What are the state and community responsibilities under SARA Title III?
The governor appoints a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). The SERC then appoints and coordinates Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs). LEPCs are established in every county. The LEPC is made up of volunteers from your community who are working to protect the health and welfare of the local public. These committees are responsible for developing a comprehensive hazardous materials emergency response plan for all facilities and farms that need one. The plan should identify the facility, emergency response and notification procedures, training programs and evacuation plans.