Office of Emergency Management


The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was enacted by Congress in 1980 to clean up the nation's hazardous waste sites and to provide for emergency response to releases of hazardous substances into the environment. CERCLA is also called Superfund and hazardous waste sites are known as Superfund sites. In response to continuing community concern regarding hazardous materials and chemical release tragedies, a reauthorization and expansion of Superfund was signed into law in 1986. It is known as the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Title III of SARA ("SARA Title III") is the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act. The Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase the public's knowledge and access to information on chemicals at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment.

SARA Title III requires the establishment of Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) whose primary responsibility is to develop off-site emergency response plans that community officials can use at the time of a chemical accident. The Kalamazoo County LEPC is part of the OEM. In developing these plans, the LEPC identifies available resources to prepare for and respond to a potential chemical accident. These plans must be written for all facilities that are subject to Section 302 of SARA, namely those that have extremely hazardous substances (EHSs) on site in amounts above certain thresholds. Over 70 such sites, ranging from small storage locations to major manufacturers, currently exist in Kalamazoo County. Once a plan is developed and approved, it is used by local first responders to prepare for a potential response to an off-site haz mat release. The LEPC also must review these plans at least annually.

Businesses using, manufacturing or storing hazardous materials who think they may be subject to SARA Title III requirements should contact the LEPC through the Office of Emergency Management.