Business FAQ

What are the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Laws?
The Federal statute that authorizes LEPCs to collect information and prepare emergency plans is known as the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA). The Emergency Planing and Community Right-to Know provisions are in Title III of this law. Consequently LEPC activities are often called SARA Title III activities. The EPA Hotline at 1-800-535-0202 is an excellent source of information on this law.

Which companies are required to file reports with the LEPC?
Companies that have hazardous materials, as defined by OSHA regulations, in excess of thresholds established by EPA are required to file Tier II reports.

What is a Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ)?
A Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ) is the amount of an extremely hazardous substance determined to be dangerous enough that the LEPC should make planning for accidents involving these materials a high priority. The TPQ varies depending on how hazardous the material is. The EPA has published a list of TPQs. The list may be obtained by calling the EPA Hotline at 1-800-535-0202.

What is a Tier II report?
A Tier II report is a standardized reporting format that businesses use to report their inventory of Extremely Hazardous Substances and /or Hazardous Materials when required to do so. The form is used to gather information about the facility and the quantity and location of materials.

How can I find out what my company needs to do?
Do we need to fill out a report?
Check the flow chart and see if you need to file a report or create a plan. Remember that the EPA enforces OSHA rules concerning HAZMAT when you make your decision. If you’re still in doubt, call the EPA Hotline at 1-800-525-0202. They will send you the information you need. The requirement to report depends on four factors:
  1. Type of facility.
  2. Presence of hazardous material (HAZMAT).
  3. Amount present.
  4. Applicable exemptions.
If you have a spill of hazardous materials, in addition to other agencies, you MUST notify the LEPC.

What is the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC)?
In Texas, the governor has designated the State Emergency Management Council as the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). By law, the Director of the Department of Safety (DPS) is the Director of the SERC. The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) is the lead agent for spill incidents. The Texas Department of Health (TDH) is responsible for documenting chemical inventories and interpreting information for end users. The Texas DPS, TNRCC, and the Fire Protection and Oil and Hazardous Material Training Divisions of the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), Texas Railroad Commission (TRC), and the Texas Department of Transportation (TDOT) have responsibilities only under the Texas Emergency Management Plan. These agencies are the primary response agencies. The SERC is required to supervise and coordinate Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and must:
  • Establish procedures for the receipt and processing of public requests for information collected under SARA Title III.
  • Review emergency plans submitted by the LEPCs.
  • Make SARA Title III information on chemical hazards available to the public.
The SERC may be contacted by writing to:
Jack Colley
Texas Division of Emergency Management
P.O. Box 4087, MSC 0223
Austin, TX 78733

Who funds the Hidalgo County LEPC?
The Hidalgo County LEPC is a voluntary, non-profit organization with no steady source of funds. Sometimes the LEPC is successful in getting small grants from various government agencies for training or planning activities. Donations are accepted from industry and private citizens wishing to contribute. You may contribute by contacting Secretary of the LEPC in care of:
Tony Pena Jr.
Emergency Management Coordinator
1615 S. Closner, Ste. G
Edinburg, TX 78539

How does the Hidalgo County LEPC make a plan?
The Fire Department responsible arranges to visit the facility and prepares their response plan for a fire or accident. Representatives of the facility being reviewed are invited to the meeting to provide background information and answer questions. Based on these things, the facility is added to the city and county response plan.