Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
The Gaston County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is a federally mandated committee with membership from business and industry; emergency response groups such as fire, medical and law enforcement; community groups; media; hospitals; environmental interest; universities; and the general public. The mission of the LEPC is to effectively plan for emergencies involving hazardous materials. The LEPC is tasked with the responsibility for SARA Title III Environmental Compliance; Site-Specific Chemical Planning Program; coordination of chemical information to emergency responders; and maintenance of the county-wide incident management plan. The LEPC meets quarterly and public is invited to attend.
The primary responsibility of the LEPC is to receive information about hazardous substances from industry and to use this information to develop comprehensive site emergency plans to handle emergencies. It is also responsible for establishing procedures and programs which make it easy for citizens to understand and have access to the information that industry submits.
The LEPC can assist you in obtaining chemical related information from industry in your neighborhood. Federal law requires LEPCs to establish procedures for receiving and processing requests from the public for information. The Gaston County Office of Emergency Management has been designated as the official agency to serve as coordinator of this information.
Industry must provide three types of information to the LEPC, including:
- In case of an accidental release of certain chemicals, industry must immediately notify appropriate federal, state and local agencies, including the LEPC. Once submitted, release information is maintained on file with the LEPC.
- If business stores, uses or manufactures one of approximately 360 chemicals that the U.S. EPA considers extremely hazardous, they must report to the LEPC the amount, general location and hazards caused by that chemical's use or storage. (Chemical Reporting Requirements)
- Annually, the industry must submit to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and to the U.S. EPA, a Toxic Release Inventory which reports on the amounts of toxic chemicals they routinely emit into the air, water or ship off-site for treatment or disposal.
Federal law required the LEPC to complete an Emergency Response Plan within two years after the date of the enactment of the Community Right-to-Know Act. The LEPC is required to review the plan at least annually.