Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Local Emergency Planning Committee?
  • Why was the LEPC formed?
  • Who serves on the LEPC?
  • What is required in a plan?
  • How do you know what to plan for?

What is the Local Emergency Planning Committee?

The Local Emergency Planning Committee is a group of individuals from specific agencies and interested community members who assure planning and resource capabilities for Chemical Emergencies in Chicago.

Why was the LEPC formed?

Back in 1985 after a chemical incident in India that killed and injured thousands of people, there was concern whether a similar kind of incident could happen here in the United States.  In answer to rising attention, President Ronald Reagan signed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act into law on October 16, 1986. Title III of that Act is known and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Who serves on the LEPC?

Members are selected from agencies and businesses who have an interest in, or who play an active role in response to chemical emergencies. They assist in the formation and annual review of an Emergency Plan that is required by the law.

What is required in a plan?

The plan covers the response to incidents involving Hazardous Materials. These plans cover who will respond and what roles they have in public safety, containment, clean-up and recovery from an incident.

How do you know what to plan for?

Each facility that maintains an inventory of specified amounts of a chemical that is classified as a hazardous substance by federal standards is required to report that to certain agencies. The reports are called Tier Two reports and they are due prior to March 1st of each year. These reports list the chemical name, amounts stored, storage information and the hazards associated with the specific substance.

This information is sent to the local fire department serving the facility, the Local Emergency Planning Committee and to the State Emergency Response Commission. The information on the report is then reviewed by the agencies to assure that the plan covers any threats that may arise from these hazards and that proper resources are maintained to respond to an emergency situation involving these substances.

Certain chemicals that can do excessive harm to public safety and the environment are listed as Extremely Hazardous Substances or EHS’s. EHS’s are given lower reporting amounts called Threshold Planning Quantities or TPQ’s which require reporting for amounts as low as 10 pounds up to 500 pounds or more of these chemicals.

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