Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)

Emergency-Management-LEPC-logoLocal Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) were created in 1988 under the structure and guidance set forth by the SARA Title III Superfund Amendment Emergency Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) and the State of Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM). LEPCs implement EPCRA and the State’s hazards programs at the local and regional levels in ten regions Statewide. In addition to EPCRA, the State of Florida administers two programs that address planning training, and exercises designed to strengthen awareness, preparedness, and response as related to chemical releases/spills incidents. The Hazardous Materials Preparedness (HMEP) and the Hazards Analysis (HA) grant programs provide responders and chemical facilities with technical and training assistance and compliance assistance.

The Treasure Coast LEPC is housed within, and supported by, the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) representing one prong of the Regional Planning Council’s Emergency Programs Division. The intent of the TCLEPC is to implement applicable sections of EPCRA to improve preparedness and response strategies in response to chemical releases/spill incidents;  build capacity to protect community populations and the environment through first responder emergency planning, training, exercises, and public outreach awareness education ensuring availability of information; and strengthen relationships between responders and chemical facilities to prevent, mitigate, and respond to accidental or intentional chemical release incidents. The TCLEPC serves the four (4) county region which includes Indian River, Martin, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie counties.

The TCLEPC is comprised of a staff coordinator, a Committee Chair and Vice Chair, and a SERC appointed committee membership. The Committee is comprised of subject matter experts, first responders, local and State agency representatives, chemical facility owner/operators, and interested citizens. EPCRA sets forth guidance and the SERC and LEPC Bylaws ensure the following disciplines are represented on the Committee to strengthen hazardous materials planning and preparedness efforts:

  • lepcfire rescue and hazardous materials
  • law enforcement
  • emergency management
  • transportation
  • health and hospital
  • environmental
  • local government officials (elected and departmental)
  • non-governmental organizations

The TCLEPC meets quarterly, rotating meeting locations to increase opportunities to promote EPCRA awareness with responder agencies, community organizations, and citizens. Meetings and agendas are available on this site.

The TCLEPC coordinator, staff, and membership are responsible for implementing several sections of EPCRA within the region and participates with and utilizes guidance set forth by the State of Florida SERC and the State Training Task Force (TTF) to develop and organize local hazardous materials training and exercise activities, outreach and education initiatives, and in updating the Treasure Coast Regional Hazardous Materials Response Plan. The Coordinator, Chair, and Committee provide technical assistance to the community, chemical facilities, local governments, and first responders; The TCLEPC meets quarterly following the quarterly SERC and TTF meetings to disseminate information and guidance to local governments, first responders, and the public community.

The TCLEPC engages in the following activities to meet with EPCRA mission requirements, and work in partnership with the FDEM, SERC, local emergency management offices, first responder agencies and chemical facilities to accomplish local and regional safety:

  • Regional Hazardous Materials Response Plan: is a conglomeration of the region’s four counties standard operating procedures for response to hazardous materials incidents and is reviewed and updated annually.
  • Regional Repository: serves as the central/regional location for EPCRA Section 302/313 facility Tier II chemical inventory reports, and provides compliance and technical assistance to facilities, local governments, and first responder agencies.
  • Availability of Information: Assures availability of information to the public on chemical inventories, evacuation routes, and risk and safety during response to incidents.
  • Outreach & Education: develops and disseminates brochures and guides, provides EPCRA, LEPC, Shelter-in-Place, and evacuation information presentations for departments and the community to increase awareness and understanding of EPCRA sections.
  • Technical Assistance: The TCLEPC assists facilities with Tier II compliance and submission of reports, E-Plan usage, hazardous materials training, and exercises, and development and review of facility emergency response plans.

As per EPCRA Sections 302 and 313, facilities that store, manufacture, or use Extremely Hazardous Materials (EHSs) on site from 1-365 days a year must register with the state of Florida SERC notifying them of EHS present on site by March 1st each year. Registration may be completed at any time during the year. The Tier II Chemical Inventory Report that identifies chemicals, inventories, hazards, and risks will accompany the registration form and lists all EHSs on site; refer to the EPA List of Lists for a list of chemicals by name and by Chemical Abstract System (CAS) number. Some substances become EHSs if stored more than 10,000 pounds such as Diesel Fuel and Gasoline. Florida uses the electronic filing software E-Plan for facility registration, Tier II filing, and registration fees payment. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier II Submit, and hard copy package submissions are also accepted.   

EPCRA sections below detail facility notification requirements for the SERC, TCLEPC, and local fire departments.

  • Section 302 - Facility Notification/Registration: requires a one-time notification to the SERC by public/private facilities and businesses that EHSs are present on site over the established Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ) register with the SERC. Florida utilizes the E-Plan electronic filing system and must be contacted for an assigned facility registration password for access. Once registered the State will assign the facility a SERC identification number.
  • Section 304 - Emergency Notification: Facilities must report accidental releases of EHSs and/or “hazardous substances” defined under CERCLA at or above the reportable Release Quantities (RQs) to the Florida State Watch Office (SWO) within fifteen (15) minutes of the acknowledged release. Any releases of these substances in quantities greater than their corresponding RQ listed in the EPA Consolidated List of Chemicals (List of Lists) must be reported to State and local officials.
  • Section 311 – Safety Data Sheet (SDS): Facilities handling or storing any hazardous chemicals must submit SDSs for EHSs on the facility site to the SERC, LEPC, and the jurisdictional fire department. Hazardous chemicals are defined under the EPA Consolidated List of Chemicals (List of Lists). SDSs describe the properties and health effects of the specific chemical(s). The SDS is submitted with the registration/notification package and the Tier II. If using E-plan electronic filing, the SDS is uploaded as a pdf document.
  • Section 312 - Tier II Reports: any EHS chemical on site during the past year from 1 to 365 days is required to be listed on the Tier II inventory form along with inventory amounts, method of storage and location on site, health hazards, and facility emergency contact information. The Tier II is completed in the E-Plan electronic filing system.
  • Facility Site Plan is to be uploaded if using E-Plan electronic filing or included in the hard copy package submitted to the SERC, LEPC, and the jurisdictional fire department.
  • Filing Software: Facility registration, renewal registrations, and Tier IIs are due by March 1st Facilities may file using E-Plan and EPA Tier II Submit electronic filing software options; or by hard copy (Tier II by hard copy must be submitted to the TCLEPC and jurisdictional fire department).
  • E-Plan Software Access: The State of Florida sends an annual notice to filers a few months prior to the filing deadline of March 1st. If you are new to filing, contact the State to have and E-Plan login password assigned to the person that will access E-Plan. If you are already filing using E-Plan, you are given the option to Copy & Paste last year’s data, or add a new facility to generate a new report.
  • Annual Tier II Submission: E-Plan electronic filing is preferred and strongly encouraged to satisfy annual registration and Tier II filing with the state of Florida SERC. Registration fees may be paid via E-Plan. Facility site plans and chemical SDSs must also be uploaded to E-Plan to remain compliant.
  • LEPCs: facilities have met notification requirement for LEPCs if they have filed the annual Tier II report using the E-Plan electronic filing program. As a courtesy, facilities are encouraged to submit a copy of their Tier II before or after the annual submission to the TCLEPC. for review before or after submission if the facility would appreciate a courtesy compliance review (email is preferred).
  • Fire Departments: the facility must provide their jurisdictional fire department with a copy of the facility Tier II, site plan, and SDS by March 1st Since all fire departments do not have access to electronic filing, Tier II, SDS, and facility site plans must be submitted to the facility’s jurisdictional fire department via regular or electronic mail. Notification is NOT satisfied automatically using E-Plan or EPA Tier II Submit for annual filing. County or municipal fire chiefs can authorize that E-Plan filing qualifies as notification. If so, the facility must have a statement in writing authorizing this method of notification on file and/or uploaded to E-Plan, the statement must be renewed each year, and copy must be provided to the LEPC.

EPCRA Section 324: provides for the availability of chemical facility information to the public. The TCLEPC Coordinator ensures access to facility chemical inventory, evacuation planning, hazardous conditions, and risk levels upon request. The Regional Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plan, the FDEM How-to-Comply Handbook, and Chemical Inventory (Tier2) Facility Reports are informational items most commonly requested.

Two grants are tied to the TCLEPC’s capacity to accomplish preparedness and outreach and education sections of EPCRA; the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and the Hazards Analysis grants administered by the FDEM. These grants provide critical funding allowing the TCLEPC to provide on-going region wide training, exercises, and technical assistance for first responders and supporting agencies, and local governments. The following grants programs provide funding in support of EPCRA and TCLEPC activities: 

Annual grants with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) provide technical assistance to counties in the development of hazards analysis that detail facility chemical inventories, risk and vulnerability analyses, and health risks data. The EPA CAMEO Database is used to maintain a list of facilities that use, store, and/or manufacture EHSs. The database helps to develop hazardous material emergency plans, update the regional plan, and provide training and exercises that provide responders the information needed to respond safely and recover from releases/spills.

The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant program was established in 1990 by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act, and in 1993, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) began issuing grants to assist states in developing, improving, and carrying out emergency planning as part of the National Response System (NRS), and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA). The HMEP grant program is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) through the Florida Division of Emergency Management. The LEPCs are tasked to assist in providing hazardous materials training for first responders and/or supporting agency personnel at low or no cost to enhance preparedness and response readiness, capabilities, and to ensure public safety related to hazardous materials releases/spill incidents. The HMEP program is funded by fees collected from hazmat shippers and carriers transporting hazardous materials intrastate, interstate, and/or in foreign commerce in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 49, Part 107, Subpart G. These fees fund monitoring, technical assistance, training curriculum development, and publication of the Emergency Response Guidebooks (ERG) updated, printed, and distributed by the US DOT every four (4) years. 

The State of Florida issues the HMEP grant annually to LEPCs Statewide where it is implemented through training and planning. The Training portion of the grant includes provision of hazardous materials courses to public sector first responders in awareness, operations, and technician level training. The Planning projects include regional hazardous materials planning projects such as response team needs assessments and surveys, EHS facility summaries, commodity flow studies, and the development and conduct of exercises.

The HMEP grant program is flexible and allows LEPCs to carryout training and planning projects geared toward the specific needs of the region. TCLEPC planning projects over the last decade such as commodity flow studies, facility summaries for each county, and exercises have helped staff to determine emergency response capabilities within counties and then direct select training to those teams and agencies. Our region utilizes the HMEP list of approved hazardous materials training set forth in the most current U.S. DOT HMEP Training Guidelines, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 472: Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents, and 29 CFR § 1910.120 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Training is offered and conducted at Awareness, Operations, and Technician levels and additionally, tailors training to the region’s fire and hazmat team competency needs and offers public responders the opportunity to participate in an annual hazmat training team competition and symposium that provides over 35 unique classes and hands-on experience training at no cost to the students.

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