Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act

Policy

The University of Chicago shall comply with the requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (“EPCRA”) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (“CERCLA”) to support emergency planning efforts at state and local levels by providing the public and local governmental agencies with information about the hazardous substances present in University of Chicago facilities.

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Applicability

This policy applies to the Hyde Park campuses of the University of Chicago and University of Chicago Medicine (“UCM”), herein referred to as the “University”. The Hyde Park campus is defined as the area south of 55th Street, north of 61st Street, east of Cottage Grove Avenue, and west of Stoney Island Avenue.

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Scope

This policy is specific to the following types of substances:

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Authority and Responsibility

Environmental Health and Safety (“EHS”) is responsible for:

  • Conducting initial notifications and follow-up communications with emergency management agencies in case of releases of hazardous substances;
  • Submitting reports to federal, state and local governmental agencies as required by EPCRA; and
  • Initiating internal emergency notifications and follow-up investigations in event of a hazardous material spill.

University of Chicago Police Department (“UCPD”) is responsible for:

  • Paging the EHS On-call Officer when notified about a hazardous material spill.

Emergency Management and Communications is responsible for:

  • Reviewing the annual Tier II reports and providing feedback to EHS.

University of Chicago Medicine Environmental Health and Safety (“UCM-EHS”) is responsible for:

  • Immediately notifying EHS regarding releases of hazardous substances which occur from UCM buildings.

Office of Research Safety (“ORS”) is responsible for:

  • Immediately notifying EHS regarding releases of hazardous substances which occur from research spaces and/or are related research activities.

Facilities Services and Facility Managers are responsible for:

  • Immediately notifying UCPD regarding spills of any quantity of hazardous substances from University of Chicago buildings to ensure EHS is paged; and
  • Notifying EHS of significant increases, 100 pounds or greater, in storage of hazardous substances.

Physical Plant is responsible for:

  • Following the spill response procedure described in the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) S05‐10‐18 Hazardous Material Emergency Response Plan for spills of hazardous substances inside of UCM buildings;
  • Immediately notifying UCPD about spills which occur inside of Kovler Laboratory, Cummings Life Sciences Center (“CLSC”), Donnelly Biological Sciences Learning Center (“BSLC-Donnelley”), Jules F. Knapp Medical Research Center (“BSLC-Knapp”), and Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery (“KCBD”), to ensure EHS is paged;
  • Notifying EHS and UCM-EHS of significant increases, 100 pounds or greater, in storage of hazardous substances inside of UCM buildings; and
  • Notifying EHS of significant increases, 100 pounds or greater, in storage of hazardous substances inside of Kovler Laboratories, CLSC, BSLC-Donnelly, BSLC-Knapp, and KCBD.

Project Managers are responsible for:

  • Immediately notifying UCPD for any spills of hazardous substances which occur on project sites to ensure EHS is paged; and
  • Notifying EHS about projects which may potentially result in significant increases, 100 pounds or greater, in storage of hazardous materials.

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SARA 312 Tier II Reporting

Section 312 of EPCRA requires facilities to submit Tier II Reports annually to state and local emergency agencies if their inventory of hazardous substances exceeds the following thresholds:

  • 10,000 pounds for Hazardous Chemicals; and
  • 500 pounds or the Threshold Planning Quantity (“TPQ”), whichever is less, for extremely hazardous substances.

Note: Substances which are used in research laboratories or medical facilities under the direct supervision of technically qualified individuals, such as Principle Investigators or Physicians, are specifically excluded from the EPCRA definition of a Hazardous Chemical. This exclusion, however, does not apply to research chemicals which are stored in chemical stockrooms.

EHS will complete and submit a single Tier II Report for all of the University facilities located in Hyde Park and submit them the following state and local emergency agencies:

  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency (“IEMA”);
  • Chicago Local Emergency Planning Committee (“Chicago LEPC”); and
  • Chicago Fire Department (“CFD”).

EHS will also provide copies of the annual Tier II Report to the following departments:

  • UCM-EHS;
  • Emergency Management and Communications;
  • UCPD;
  • UCM Public Safety;
  • Facilities Services; and
  • Physical Plant.

Chemicals which have been reported by the University in the annual Tier II Report include:

  • Diesel;
  • Gasoline;
  • Sulfuric acid;
  • Lead-acid batteries;
  • Cryogenic liquids;
  • Salt for water treatment and deicing; and
  • R134a refrigerant.

For University of Chicago facilities located outside of Hyde Park, EHS will complete and submit separate reports for each facility if they exceed reporting thresholds of Hazardous Chemicals or Extremely Hazardous Substances.

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SARA 302 Notifications

As required by Section 302 of EPCRA, the University must submit a SARA 302 Notification to IEMA and the Chicago LEPC whenever the quantity of an Extremely Hazardous Substance stored at an University facility exceeds its TPQ.

The exclusion noted in the previous section, for substances which are used in research laboratories or medical facilities under the direct supervision of a qualified person, also applies to SARA 302 Notifications.

When the quantity of an Extremely Hazardous Substance exceeds its TPQ, the SARA 302 Notification must be submitted within 60 days. To ensure compliance with the reporting deadline, EHS must be notified when inventory of chemicals considered to be Extremely Hazardous Substances are increased.

Examples of extremely hazardous substances present at the University which may trigger SARA 302 notification requirements include:

  • Sulfuric acid;
  • Chloroform; and
  • Formaldehyde.

Note: Sulfuric acid is present in lead-acid batteries commonly found in uninterrupted power systems (UPS), generators, or battery-powered industrial equipment (e.g. forklifts, scissor lifts, etc.).

For University of Chicago facilities located outside of Hyde Park, EHS will complete and submit SARA 302 Notifications when storage of Extremely Hazardous Substances exceed the TPQ.

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Release Notifications

Per the release notification requirements of EPCRA, facilities must immediately notify emergency agencies whenever releases of CERCLA Hazardous Substances exceeds a Reportable Quantity (RQ).

Note: Unlike EPCRA’s definition of Hazardous Chemicals, the definition of CERCLA Hazardous Substances does not exclude substances used in research laboratories or medical facilities.

In case of reportable releases from a University facility, EHS will immediately notify the following state and local agencies:

  • IEMA;
  • Chicago LEPC;
  • National Response Center (NRC); and
  • The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) if the discharge of CERCLA Hazardous Substances into the sewer system have potential to disrupt MWRD’s wastewater treatment operations.

EHS must be notified immediately regarding spills to ensure compliance with release notification requirements of EPCRA. To ensure EHS is notified about spills, immediately report chemical spills to:

  • The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) if the spill occurs in a University building located in Hyde Park to ensure EHS is paged; and
  • UCM Public Safety if the spill occurs in a UCM building located in Hyde Park.

Within 30 days of the release incident, EHS will provide written-follow up notices to IEMA and the Chicago LEPC providing updates to details about the release and results of incident investigations and corrective actions implemented.

For University of Chicago facilities located outside of Hyde Park, EHS will assist with developing facility-specific release notification procedures as deemed necessary.

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Projects

Project managers should work with EHS during the Project Design Phase to identify if the project will result in significant increases, 100 pounds or greater, in the storage of chemicals stored in a building. Examples of equipment installations which may require SARA 302 Notifications or impact Tier II Reporting include:

  • UPS battery banks;
  • Batteries in generators and battery-powered industrial equipment (e.g. forklifts, scissor lifts, etc.);
  • Fuel storage tanks;
  • Chillers; and
  • Water treatment systems.

The general contractor or construction manager (GC/CM) is responsible for reporting spills of hazardous materials to the project manager. When the GC/CM controls the construction site and a spill results in a reportable release of a CERCLA Hazardous Substance, the GC/CM is responsible for notifying appropriate emergency management agencies.

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Guidance Documents

EPCRA Summary Sheet

Reviewed: December 2018

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