The Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) was produced, and amended the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980.

SARA Title III has four major components:

  • Emergency Planning
  • Emergency Notification
  • Community Right-to-Know Reporting
  • Toxic: Chemical Release Reporting

The local committee's primary responsibility was to develop an emergency response plan for Rockland County and to establish procedures for receiving and processing public requests for information concerning chemicals and chemical spills within the county. The county's hazardous materials response plan was completed in October 1988. The plan was rewritten in the fall of 1991 and is revised annually.

In developing the emergency response plan, the local emergency planning committee (LEPC) has identified locations at which hazardous materials are present. In Rockland, we have over 100 hazardous chemical sites that fall under the reporting requirements. Information in the plan include: emergency notification procedures; methods for determining the occurrence of a chemical spill and the probable affected area and population; identification of emergency facilities and the persons responsible for them; evacuation plans, training requirements for emergency response personnel; and standard operating procedures for response personnel.

The emergency notification provisions of Title III require facilities to immediately notify the LEPC and the state emergency response commission of any accidental spill or release into the environment of specified amounts of any of the more than 900 designated hazardous substances. The committee is responsible for maintaining these records and making them available to the public.

The community right-to-know provisions of Title III require facilities to provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) or a list covering all hazardous chemicals present at sites affected by the law. A MSDS contains information about a chemical's properties, possible health deterrents, exposure limits and safety measures.

Annually, on March 1, facilities must also provide information about the locations and amounts of hazardous chemicals present at a facility, expressed both as a maximum amount and as a daily average. This information is reviewed by the LEPC, and presented to the county emergency services.

Tier II Reporting

Traditionally, facilities required to report under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) have used the hard-copy Tier II form or some electronic variation (i.e., Tier2 Submit) as a means of complying with the inventory reporting requirements. This variance in reporting methodology often makes it difficult to utilize this information for State and local planning purposes. The State of New York has decided to accept and encourage the use of an electronic Tier II submission program as the primary means for companies operating in New York State to comply with federal chemical inventory reporting requirements.

Tier II Reporting
Submit your Tier II Report

Right to Know Act

In October 1986, following the chemical incident in Bhopal, India, the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act amended CERCLA by making numerous changes and expanding the scope of the "Superfund" program. Some of the major changes SARA brought to CERCLA included:

  • Provided new enforcement authorities and settlement tools
  • Increased State involvement in all phases of the Superfund program
  • Increased focus on human health problems posed by hazardous waste sites
  • Encouraged greater citizen participation in making decisions on how sites should be cleaned
  • Required the EPA to revise the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) to ensure it accurately assessed the relative degree of risk to human health and the environment posed by uncontrolled hazardous waste sites

SARA also created the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), or SARA Title III. This is a statute (Public Law 99?499) that was designed to improve community access to information about hazardous chemicals and to facilitate the development of emergency response plans by State and local governments. The major components of EPCRA require states, local government, and industry to:

  • Develop and evaluate emergency preparedness plans
  • Identify facility emergency notification procedures
  • Initiate community right?to?know procedures
  • Establish a system for toxic chemical release reporting


The By-laws of the County's Local Emergency Planning Committee state that the primary duty is to develop and maintain an Emergency Response Plan for the County of Rockland and its municipalities and to review the plan annually.