Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) protects public health, safety, and the environment from chemical hazards. This is done by requiring federal and state governments, local agencies, tribal nations, and industries to partner in implementing emergency planning and preparedness. 

Under these regulations, businesses may be required to submit hazardous chemical information to:

Businesses may be required to submit one or more reports depending on:

  • The types of chemicals or substances stored on-site.
  • The quantities of the chemicals or substances.
  • Facility activities.

What are the reports under EPCRA?

There are four key reports:

  • Emergency Response Planning.
  • Emergency Release Notifications.
  • Hazardous Chemical Inventory Reporting (Tier Two).
  • Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting.

What reports do I need to submit?         

For Emergency Response Planning and Tier Two reports

Ask yourself:

If you answered yes to these questions, please review the following to determine if your business must submit reports:

  • Does my business have any chemicals that are Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHSs) and meet the reporting threshold? Check the List of Lists to determine if a chemical is an EHS and what the reporting threshold is. 
  • Does my business, at any time, have 10,000 pounds or more of any chemical or product on site?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, your business must:

  1. Request a Community Right-to-Know Number.
  2. Complete the initial SDS/MSDS reporting form for Tier Two, Section 311.
  3. Complete the Tier Two report, Section 312, by March each year.

Businesses with any EHSs that meet the reporting thresholds, must also complete the Emergency Response Planning Form, Section 302 and 303. 

For reporting a release of a hazardous chemical

If your business has a release of a hazardous chemical, additional reporting requirements may apply.  Please see full details about the reporting requirements under Emergency Release Notifications and Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting sections below.

Details and forms for each report type

Section 301

Requires SERCs to designate LEPCs. The LEPCs are responsible for developing local emergency response plans and submitting them annually to the SERC

Section 302

Facilities that have any Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) listed at or above its threshold planning quantity must:

  • Notify the SERC and your LEPC within 60 days after the first shipment arrives on site or the substance is produced.
  • Report any changes in the status of substances that would affect emergency planning within 30 days.

Some facilities voluntarily report substances that are below thresholds and we record that information. 

Section 303

Requires facilities to identify a Facility Emergency Coordinator and provide appropriate contact information. The LEPC may invite the coordinator to participate in local emergency planning efforts.

Section 304

Emergency releases

You must report a release of a hazardous substance that could expose anyone outside of your facility. This includes releases from motor vehicles, rolling stock, and aircraft.

Immediately call the required emergency numbers:

  • The SERC: 800-258-5990
  • Your LEPC
  • National Response Center: 800-424-8802
    • You must call this number if you released an EHS/CERCLA hazardous substances.

There are no penalties for reporting a spill unnecessarily, but there may be significant penalties for not reporting one.

Follow up Notification

Within 30 days, you must send a follow-up notification to the SERC and your LEPC using the Emergency Release Follow up Notification form.

Continuous releases

If you release a similar amount of hazardous substances consistently, you may fall under the continuous release reporting regulation (40 CFR §302.8). Learn more about:

Section 311

A facility must submit the Section 311 reporting form detailing the hazardous chemicals present on site in excess of the reporting threshold levels.  This information can be found on the safety data sheets (SDSs) or material safety data sheets (MSDSs).

Reporters must identify the hazards associated with the product using the following categories:

  • Fire hazard
  • Sudden release of pressure
  • Reactivity
  • Immediate or acute health hazard
  • Delayed or chronic health hazard

You must update this information within 90 days when:

  • There is new information on a hazardous substance that has previously been submitted.
  • A new hazardous substance arrives at the facility in excess of the threshold planning quantity for the first time.

Section 312

A facility must submit a tier two report if they store hazardous substances onsite that meet or exceed the reporting threshold amounts. Hazardous substances are any substances that a facility must maintain a SDS/MSDS under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard.

Section 313

TRI reporting

You must submit a TRI report annually for each chemical listed on the TRI chemicals list that are manufactured or used above the threshold quantities. 

TRI data

The TRI data is used to track accidental  and routine releases of those chemicals to air, land, and water and how waste is managed or disposed.

This webpage is funded in partnership with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries by the Worker and Community Right-to-Know Fund (PDF).