Chemical Safety & Reporting

North Carolina Emergency Management works with local governments, industry, and residents to mitigate and manage hazardous materials incidents following guidelines outlined in the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Clean Air Act. These laws require companies to report certain threshold quantities of chemicals for use by first responders, residents, the state, and local government. The collaboration created through these reports opens channels for communities to be informed and better prepare for chemical hazards.

Information Requests

EPCRA empowers citizens with information about hazardous substances being stored and produced in their communities. To request specific information about substances near where you live or work contact: NCEM Communications Officer Keith.Acree@ncdps.gov. For security reasons, blanket requests for information cannot be fulfilled. Click here for additional guidance for public information requests.

State Emergency Response Commission

The North Carolina State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) was established by EPCRA to oversee elements of emergency planning, mitigation, response, and recovery within the state. The initial focus of the SERC was hazardous materials preparedness, and while the SERC maintains this function, it also now serves in an advisory capacity to the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety, who serves as the State Administrative Agent (SAA) to coordinate activities of the North Carolina State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and the Domestic Preparedness Regions (DPR). 

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 and Section 112(r) of the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) require facilities to report threshold quantities of chemicals stored and produced on site. Some facilities may also be required to take a more active role in chemical emergency planning and prevention. These requirements are intended to foster a collaborative chemical safety relationship between government, citizens, and industry.

EPCRA General Requirements

Section 302: Facilities with more than the threshold planning quantity (TPQ) of an extremely hazardous substance (EHS) must report this to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and their local emergency planning committee (LEPC) in E-Plan and actively participate in the preparation of emergency plans in coordination with their LEPC. For a list of TPQs, please consult the EPA's Consolidated List of Lists, and for information on participation in Section 302 emergency planning and prevention, please contact your LEPC. Click here to submit in E-Plan.

Section 304: Any facility that has a chemical release exceeding the reportable quantity as detailed in the EPA's Consolidated List of Lists must immediately notify the State Emergency Reponses Commission (SERC) at 800-858-0368 and their LEPC. In addition, any chemical identified as a “hazardous substance” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) requires immediate notification to the National Response Center (NRC) at 1-800-424-8802. Certain follow up notifications may also be required.

Section 311: Facilities with more than a threshold quantity of certain chemicals must submit a detailed chemical inventory list or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) information to the SERC within 15 days of the chemicals coming on site. Federal laws allow LEPCs and local fire departments to determine their own requirements for notification. Many, but not all, local jurisdictions in North Carolina follow the federal Section 311 requirement of 90 days after a chemical comes on site; contact your LEPC, local fire department or emergency management agency to determine their requirements. 

For Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) chemicals, this threshold is the  TPQ or 500 lbs., whichever is less. (For a list of EHS chemicals and TPQs, please reference the EPA's Consolidated List of Lists.) For hazardous substances (anything required by OSHA Hazard Communication Standard to have a SDS), the threshold is 10,000 lbs. The EPA also grants some reporting exemptions in 40 CFR 370.10-13. The SERC only accepts Section 311 report submissions though E-Plan. Those who have previously completed a Section 312 Tier II report in E-Plan for a facility located in North Carolina will be able to view the Section 311 tab upon login to submit a report. Those who have not previously filed a Tier II report in E-Plan, will first need to create an account. If the Section 311 tab is not visible upon login, please contact epcra@ncdps.gov or the UT Dallas E-Plan support team to enable the display of that tab for your account. There are no fees associated with Section 311 submissions in North Carolina. Click here to submit in E-Plan.

Section 312 (Tier II): Facilities that housed certain quantities of chemicals on site for more than 24 hours in the previous calendar year must submit a Tier II report to the SERC, their LEPC, and their local fire department by March 1st of the following year. The reporting season for Section 312 (Tier II) is January 1 through March 1.  (Example: A facility that had 20,000 lbs.of propane on site for 24 hours in May 2016 would need to file a Tier II report between January 1 - March 1, 2017 for that chemical. 

For EHS chemicals, this threshold is the TPQ or 500 lbs., whichever is less. (For a list of EHS chemicals and TPQs, please reference the EPA's Consolidated List of Lists.) For hazardous substances (anything required by OSHA to have any MSDS or SDS), the threshold is 10,000 lbs. The EPA also grants some reporting exemptions in 40 CFR 370.10-13. The SERC and most LEPCs and fire departments only accept submissions though E-Plan. However, this should be confirmed with your LEPC and local fire department before submitting.

There is a fee schedule for Section 312 (Tier II) reporting in North Carolina (see details below). The SERC actively encourages voluntary reporting. Any chemicals added to your Tier II report that are below the reporting thresholds are not assessed fees and will help improve safety conditions for first responders. Example, a facility that has 9,000 lbs. of propane (a non-EHS with a reporting threshold of 10,000 lbs) that voluntarily reports it, can be added in E-Plan and will not be assessed a fee but will still show up on your report. Click here to submit in E-Plan.

Section 313: Facilities must submit a toxic release inventory (TRI) for ongoing chemical releases if it employs 10 or more workers and engages in a TRI covered industry. In addition, it must manufacture more than 25,000 lbs. or otherwise use more than 10,000 lbs. of a TRI-listed chemical as defined in the EPA's Consolidated List of Lists. (Note: Lower thresholds may exist for persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals.) TRI inventories are due every July 1st through the EPA's Central data exchange. Click here for more information on TRI.

Click here for more information on EPCRA.

CAA 112(r) General Requirements

Facilities with more than the threshold quantity of a CAA 112(r) regulated substance in a single process must submit a risk management plan (RMP) for that process.  Each RMP must contain a hazard assessment, prevention program, and emergency response plan.

Additional resources:

E-Plan

E-Plan is the only method of chemical inventory submission accepted by the North Carolina SERC. Paper submissions do not meet North Carolina's reporting requirements. Visit www.erplan.net or click here to submit in E-Plan.

Click here for details on North Carolina E-Plan implementation or how to begin using it in your LEPC or agency. 

Tier II Report Fee

As of January 1, 2015, North Carolina will institute a fee for companies who possess chemicals over the reporting thresholds for EPCRA Section 312 (Tier II reporting). The revenues from this fee will be used to facilitate chemical safety, planning, and emergency response.

These fees will be collected online when filing through E-Plan and consist of:

  • $50 for every hazardous substance above the Tier II reporting threshold.
  • $90 for every EHS above the Tier II reporting threshold.

Fees are capped at $5,000 per facility. In addition, the following are exempt from fees:

  • Family farms
  • Local, state, and federal government facilities
  • Non-profit corporations
  • Fuel used for retail sale at commercial gas stations
  • Motor vehicle dealers as defined by G.S. 20-286 (11).

For further information, contact:

Adam Ryan, epcra@ncdps.gov, EPCRA Program Manager   919-436-2746

Thomas.Steelman@ncdps.gov, RMP Planner 919-825-2531