Chemicals, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Special Topics in Environmental Management

The Who, What, and When of Release Notifications

A spill or release of a chemical just occurred at your facility. What do you do? Does it need to be reported? What information needs to be reported, to whom, and how soon?

These are the questions that need to be answered any time there is a spill or release at your facility. Section 304 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) establishes the federal requirements for emergency release notifications, which are implemented under 40 CFR 355.30 to 355.61.

A “release” is any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment of any hazardous chemical, extremely hazardous substance (EHS) listed under 40 CFR 355 Appendices A and B, or Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability (CERCLA) hazardous substance listed under 40 CFR 302.4. Releases include abandoned or discarded barrels or containers.

If your facility accidentally releases a “reportable quantity” (RQ) of an EHS or CERCLA hazardous substance into the environment within a 24-hour period, you must comply with emergency release notification requirements.

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