Hazardous Materials

Chemical wastes that contaminate the soil, seep into groundwater, or run into rivers and streams are a threat to public health and the environment. Photo processing chemicals, military munitions, lead paints, residuals from the petroleum industry, medical waste and used oil are all considered hazardous materials.

Most spills happen on highways as trucks transport materials. When a spill is reported, hazmat teams are sent to quickly contain and clean up the waste.

For CDL information regarding hazmat endorsements, please visit NCDOT.

To Report a Chemical Spill

  • NC Emergency Operations Center: 800-858-0368
  • National Response Center: 800-424-8802
  • NC EPCRA: 919-436-2746
  • US EPA Hotline: 800-424-9346

Tab/Accordion Items

Submitting Emergency Plans and Chemical Inventories

All Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) reporting to the NC State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and NCEM Hazardous Materials must be filed in E-Plan. Hardcopies are not accepted. Many counties and Local Emergency Planning Committees also accept submission in E-Plan. Reporting includes Sections 302, Emergency Planning Notification, 304 Follow-up Release Notification (see Chemical Release Notifications), and Sections 311/312 Chemical Inventory Reporting. NC Section 302 facilities are required to submit a site plan as part of the annual 311/312 submission.

Emergency plan submissions are also requested in E-Plan such as Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste contingency plan and quick guides or Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans. Facilities may attach the plans to their 311/312 Tier II report; or if a facility does not fall under 311/312 reporting, they may create an account to submit emergency plans at no cost. The alternative electronic submission is emailing the plan to EPCRA@ncdps.gov.  Hard copies are not accepted.

Local responders, emergency management, and hazardous materials Regional Response Teams have responder access to E-Plan. Responder access is provided at the county level by the LEPC contact/authorized user who vets access. 

LEPC Contacts and Reporting

The EPCRA mailbox, epcra@ncdps.gov is monitored by multiple hazardous materials coordinators for questions on Tier IIs, the EPCRA program and public information requests.

E-Plan is preferred for submitting any emergency planning documents to the SERC, including non-EPCRA emergency planning reporting requirements. All EPCRA documents (Sections 302, 304, 311/312) must be filed in E-Plan to be accepted by the SERC. The EPCRA mailbox may be used as an alternative to E-Plan for electronic submittals to the SERC for non EPCRA documents such as:

  • RCRA Hazardous Waste Contingency Plans
  • Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC)

The SERC does not accept hardcopies as a form of submission.

CAPP builds upon existing requirements established in the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA), and Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAA 112(r)), of 1991.  Section 112(r) requires regulated facilities to submit a risk management plan to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  To determine if an address is within the hazard area of a potential release, contact your Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), call the EPA hotline at (800) 424-9346, or check the Vulnerable Zone Indicator System (VZIS) at epa.gov.

Knowing what chemical risks are nearby helps individuals and businesses protect their families and property, hold facilities responsible for reducing risk, and increases awareness of chemical safety. To help protect your community, participate in your LEPC.

Hazardous Materials Risk Management Program

For information on your LEPC, contact your local Emergency Management Agency or email EPCRA@ncdps.gov

Information about chemical risks provides citizens and businesses with the knowledge to protect their families and property, hold facilities responsible for reducing risk, and increase awareness of chemical safety.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, known as EPCRA, requires facilities to submit information about annual releases of toxic chemicals. That information is available from the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory.To find out if your home, school or business is located in a vulnerable area of a potential accidental release, contact your county emergency manager.

For more information see the EPCRA/Tier 2 webpage.

North Carolina RRT logo

The NC Hazardous Materials Regional Response program (NCRRT) is a system of seven teams strategically located in the state to provide hazardous materials response services to the citizens of North Carolina. NCRRT is available to respond whenever an incident exceeds local capabilities with technical support, manpower, specialized equipment and/or supplies.

NCRRT is available to supplement local resources when an incident is beyond the first responders' capabilities or when an incident requires specialized hazardous materials training and equipment. If an incident commander or local emergency manager is on the scene of a spill involving a suspected or known hazardous material, and has a technical question or needs a hazmat team to respond to the scene, NCRRT can be requested by calling the State EOC at 1-800-858-0368 or at 919-733-3300. The State EOC will connect the requestor to an NCRRT Hazmat Technician 24 hours a day for technical advice or will facilitate dispatch of an NCRRT to the scene. 
Once on scene, NCRRT works within the existing command structure. The team leader is the primary point of contact with the team and will serve as the hazmat branch in the ICS system. The team provides assistance with mitigating the incident to a point where it has stabilized, and the emergency phase has been terminated. At that point, NCRRT clears the scene.

For more information about NCRRT.

Clean-up of a spilled hazardous material and restoration of the site is the obligation of the responsible party. NCRRT and/or representatives from the N.C. Division of Water Quality or N.C. Division of Waste Management may provide guidance on how to select a cleanup contractor, though the state doesn’t endorse or provide contacts for clean up contractors.  If a responsible party has either not been identified, or is unwilling to take responsibility for the clean-up, the local emergency management coordinator, in conjunction with DEQ Water Quality and DEQ Waste Management representatives may authorize cleanup to begin. Reimbursement for costs associated with the local response and recovery may be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency under their Local Government Reimbursement program. Legal action may occur against a responsible part for failure to properly clean up a hazardous materials release.

Cleanup Contractors

Selecting a qualified contractor presents its own challenges. Currently there are minimal federal or state regulations or standards overseeing cleanup contractors. Emergency managers and responders may be proactive in assisting responsible parties select qualified contractors by developing a vetting process, standard procedures or local ordinance defining requirements for cleanup contractors. This will aid in the hazardous substance incident being properly cleaned up in a timely manner, at a reasonable cost to the responsible party while minimizing injury or harm to the responders, cleanup contractors, public or the environment.

Hazardous Materials – Best Practices for Validating Hazardous Materials Cleanup Contractors

J. Cole Owen, State Hazardous Materials Coordinator
Cole is the State Hazardous Materials Coordinator, who oversees the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) and Tier II Grant Programs. He coordinates the state’s worst case analysis tool for local first responders, and assists with general management of the NCRRT Program. Cole can be contacted at Cole.Owen@ncdps.gov.

Stefan Coutoulakis, State Hazardous Materials Coordinator
Stefan is the State Hazardous Materials Coordinator, who oversees CAMEO Suite and provides EPCRA support. Stefan can be contacted at 984-328-0923 or at stefan.coutoulakis@ncdps.gov.

Sarah Robison, State RMP Coordinator
Sarah Robison is the State Risk Management Program (RMP) Coordinator and is responsible for outreach and training for all RMP Facilities that fall under the Section 112(r) rules in North Carolina. Please email sarah.robison@ncdps.gov with any questions regarding the RMP Program.

JR Griffin, State NCRRT Coordinator
John Rodney “J.R.” Griffin is the NCRRT Coordinator and oversees the seven Regional Response Teams (NCRRT) throughout the state. Please email jr.griffin@ncdps.gov with any questions regarding the NCRRT program.

Local Emergency Planning Committees and EPCRA Contact
The EPCRA mailbox, epcra@ncdps.gov is monitored by multiple hazardous materials coordinators for questions on Tier IIs, the EPCRA program and public information requests. The EPCRA mailbox is the preferred method of electronic submittals to the State Emergency Response commission for documents such as:

  • RCRA Hazardous Waste Contingency Plans
  • EPCRA Emergency Action or Response Plans
  • EPCRA 304 Emergency Release Notifications
  • EPCRA 304 – 30 Day Follow-up Emergency Release Notification