The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) was passed by Congress in 1986. EPCRA was included as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) and is sometimes referred to as SARA Title III. EPCRA provides for the collection and availability of information regarding the use, storage, production and release of hazardous chemicals to the public and emergency responders in your community. The law promotes a working relationship among government at all levels, business and community leaders, environmental and other public interest organizations, and individual citizens to improve hazard communications and emergency planning.
In 1988, the Ohio General Assembly passed Substitute Senate Bill 367. This law, Chapter 3750 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC), provides for the implementation of EPCRA in Ohio. The administrative body for the implementation of Chapter 3750 is the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC).
SERC is made up of nine state agencies: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency; Emergency Management Agency; Attorney General's Office; Health; Transportation; Natural Resources; State Fire Marshal; State Highway Patrol; and Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Additionally, SERC has 10 voting members: two representing environmental advocacy; two representing industry trade association; three representing firefighting; and three representing local government/municipalities. Two members of the legislature serve as non-voting members.
SERC appoints members of the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) of each emergency planning district. In Ohio, each county has been designated as its own emergency planning district, with the exception of Montgomery and Greene counties, which combine their planning efforts. LEPC members include representatives from each of the following groups or organizations: elected state and local officials; law enforcement; emergency management; fire fighting; first aid, hospitals and health; local environmental authorities; transportation; broadcast and/or print media; community groups; and owners and operators of subject facilities.
SERC appoints LEPC members to two two-year terms of office. LEPCs use Ohio EPA's inventory information to develop and exercise their local planning district's emergency response plan(s).
Other Helpful Websites
Owners and operators of oil and gas well sites regulated by ODNR, which are subject to the Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management new release/spill incident notification requirements are no longer required to make a separate call to Ohio EPA’s Emergency Response hotline. ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources and Ohio EPA are coordinating efforts and the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management will be sharing the incident notification information with Ohio EPA.
Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler has officially designated the Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management as his state agency designee for the immediate verbal notifications for reportable releases/spills from activities regulated under Ohio Revised Code Section 1509, which are subject to the incident reporting requirements adopted under division 1501:9 of the Administrative Code.
Because of the federal requirements of EPCRA and Ohio Revised Code Section 3750.06(C), this designation does not eliminate the requirement for the initial notification of reportable releases/spills to be made to the LEPC emergency coordinator or the local fire department, or the written 30-day follow-up report to be submitted to the LEPC.
The owner or operator of an oil and gas well site regulated by ORC 1509 Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management-Oil and Gas) must make the verbal notification within 30 minutes upon having knowledge or discovery of a release/spill of hazardous substance, extremely hazardous substance, or discharge of oil that exceeded the reportable quantity to:
- the LEPC emergency coordinator of each emergency planning district that contains an area likely to be affected by the release;
- the fire department having jurisdiction where the release occurred; and
- the Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management
The written follow-up emergency notice of the reportable release from a facility is required to be submitted within 30 days to the local emergency planning committee of the district in which the release occurred and to the Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.
Responsible parties under this new initiative shall maintain compliance with the release/spill reporting requirements under both the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3750, Emergency Planning.
SERC Audit Disclosure Response Protocol
Ohio’s amended audit privilege and immunity law became effective on Sept. 30, 1998. The purpose of this law is to enhance protection of human health and the environment by encouraging regulated entities to voluntarily discover, promptly disclose and expeditiously correct violations of environmental laws. Under the law, the owner or operator of a facility may perform a voluntary self-evaluation (audit) designed to improve compliance or identify, correct, or prevent noncompliance with environmental laws. In return for performing a proper audit, the owner or operator can qualify for immunity from the gravity portion of any civil penalty for the violations disclosed. Also, the audit and documents used to conduct the audit are privileged.
Because a company ultimately has the burden of proving in court that it is entitled to immunity, it is not the SERC’s role or even ability to grant or deny immunity. Rather, it is ultimately a question for a court to answer. Accordingly, in our communication, we will only be issuing an opinion as to whether the submittal contains all of the information required by ORC 3745.72.
ORC 3745.72(C) requires that all disclosures must be in writing, dated, and hand delivered or sent by certified mail to the director of the state agency that has jurisdiction over the alleged violation. For violations, disclosures must be sent to the Director of Ohio EPA and the Director of Department of Public Safety who serve as the SERC Co-Chairs. The disclosure must contain all of the information identified in the protocol document.
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
Emergency Order (Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0067)
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an Emergency Order on May 7, 2014, requiring all railroads operating trains carrying more than 1 million gallons of Bakken crude oil, or approximately 35 tank cars, to notify State Emergency Response Commissions about the expected weekly train movements through their respective state.
The notification must include estimated volumes of Bakken crude oil being transported, the frequency of expected train traffic and the route through which Bakken crude oil will be transported. In addition, the order requires each railroad to provide contact information for at least one individual responsible for responding to emergency responders about the shipments.
On June 11, 2014, Ohio's State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) passed a resolution at its meeting designating the State of Ohio Fusion Center as the repository for notifications and revisions/updates to the notifications. The Ohio Fusion Center will maintain the notifications and distribute the notifications to state and local emergency responders. A copy of the resolution can be found here: 2014 SERC USDOT Emergency Order Resolution.
The SERC is transferring the notifications received from any rail carrier to the Ohio Fusion Center.
Notifications and revisions/updates should be submitted to the Ohio Fusion Center at the following address:
Ohio Homeland Security
c/o Strategic Analysis and Information Center Commander
1970 W. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43223
Effective Oct. 9, 2013, the Ohio SERC voted to rescind using the E-Plan reporting system and it is no longer a reporting option for the statewide regulated facilities.
Tier 2 Submit Electronic Reporting Information and Links
Oct. 17, 2013
In the April 26, 2013, response to the petition, U.S. EPA determined that the alternative reporting in Ohio law does not supersede the reporting requirements of EPCRA. As a result, U.S. EPA concluded that Ohio oil and gas well owners or operators must separately meet the reporting obligations of EPCRA to ensure compliance with federal law.
Many oil and gas well owners submitted hazardous chemical inventory reports, required under section 312 of EPCRA, in the fall of 2013, following the notice by the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) dated Sept. 11, 2013. After receiving requests from the oil and gas industry, the SERC explored options to provide oil and gas well owners flexibility for the submission of their 2013 annual chemical inventory reports, due March 1, 2014. Please be advised that the reporting instructions contained in a memorandum sent to oil and gas well owners/operators on or around Jan. 23, 2014, have been revised to make it easier to report, as outlined below.
Specifically, the SERC is making the following two changes to its previous instructions to provide flexibility to oil and gas well owners who filed chemical inventory reports in the fall of 2013, and are also required to submit annual chemical inventory reports for calendar year 2013, due March 1, 2014: (1) submission of the facility map is optional, and (2) the chemical inventory report may be completed using the abbreviated “CY2013 Short Form.” If your previous inventory report filed in 2013 for calendar year 2012 has not changed, you may submit a “short form,” which would contain only the additional or modified items added to the reporting form by U.S. EPA, along with a certification that the previously submitted forms are still accurate.
SERC Instructional Booklet, Inventory Forms and Fee Worksheet for Oil & Gas
To increase the efficiency and quality of the fee process, the State Emergency Response Commission's (SERC) fiscal agent incorporated a color coding system for filing fee invoices and worksheets processed during the course of the State Fiscal Year (SFY). As a result, this year's SERC filing fee worksheet will be printed on green paper.
In the first few weeks of January 2016, Ohio EPA's Right-to-Know Program will send each regulated facility a cover letter and green pre-printed SERC filing fee worksheet with an assigned Revenue ID number. To reduce costs, Ohio EPA limits the number of SERC compliance manuals printed and encourages facilities to use the Tier 2 Submit software to electronically report their chemical inventory.
A free version of the Tier 2 Submit software can be downloaded from the U.S. EPA Tier II Chemical Inventory Reports /Tier 2 Submit webpage. Facilities opting to file using Tier 2 Submit may submit their report on a CD to both the SERC and the LEPC.
If you elect not to submit your information electronically, or do not receive information in the mail, you may download the SERC compliance manual and forms from the website. You may also request a printed copy of the manual and forms by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-888-644-2260.
If you have any questions concerning the SERC, please call (614) 644-2260.
Ohio Reporting Compliance Manual Information and Links
Guidance, Documents and Information
Ohio Revised Code Laws
The State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) was established by Senate Bill 367 of the 117th Legislature to implement, administer and enforce, in conjunction with U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA and local fire departments, the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 in Ohio. SB 367 and its subsequent amendments are codified in Chapter 3750 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3750 can also be found at Ohio Online Docs website. (click on "TITLE XXXVII HEALTH - SAFETY - MORALS" and then click on "CHAPTER 3750 EMERGENCY PLANNING")
Ohio Administrative Code Rules
Stakeholder Input Requested on Rules - Various Chapters in OAC Chapter 3750, State Emergency Response Commission Program Rules
May 31, 2016: On behalf of the director of the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Ohio EPA is requesting stakeholder input on potential amendments to Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapters 3750-1, 3750-15, 3750-25, 3750-30, and 3750-50 (Linked below). The rules in this rulemaking contain various portions of the state emergency response commission (SERC) including the following:
Prior to generating draft rule language, Ohio EPA is asking for input/suggestions on these rules from potentially affected parties. Instructions for providing comments and where to submit them are provided in the Stakeholder Input Request. Ohio EPA will be accepting comments on these potential changes through Friday, July 1, 2016.
- OAC Rules 3750-1-(01, 02) – The rules in this chapter contain the basic definitions and purpose statement used by the SERC.
- OAC Rule 3750-15-05 – This rule contain requirements the procedures the SERC will use for providing public notice of proposed rules.
- OAC Rules 3750-25-(01, 05, 10, 15, 25) – The rules in this chapter contain the requirements for emergency release notification including procedures for determining if a facility is subject to notification requirements and designation of hazardous substances.
- OAC Rules 3750-30-(01, 20) – These rules contain requirements for hazardous chemical reporting
- OAC Rules 3750-50-(03, 05, 10, 20) – The rules in this chapter address annual inventory filing fees and various fund utilized by the SERC.
Complete SERC Regulations Document
The SERC regulations are located in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) chapters 3750-1, 3750-10, 3750-15, 3750-20, 3750-25, 3750-30, 3750-50, 3750-60, 3750-75, 3750-80, 3750-85. These rules define and amplify chapter 3750 of the Ohio Revised Code. Additional chapters are added as needed to address new laws and requirements.
Individual rule chapters are presented below. PDF copies of currently effective rules can be obtained by following the chapter link (OAC 3750-xx, where "xx" is the desired chapter number) in the chapter title line. For information regarding a specific chapter, please contact Jeff Beattie at (614) 644-2269. Chapters under review or development are noted and information on draft or proposed rule language and how to submit comments is posted in the dated notices under the "Rule Changes" heading.
Emergency Response Commission
Commission Management Rules
- 3750-10-01 Establishment of State Emergency Response Commission, Executive Committee and Committees [PDF]
- 3750-10-03 General Management Rules [PDF]
- 3750-10-05 Internal Operating Rules [PDF]
- 3750-10-07 Executive Committee: Issuance of Orders: Persons Who May Request Enforcement Order Procedure [PDF]
- 3750-10-08 Issuance of Oders to Facilities [PDF]
- 3750-10-09 Public Testimony [PDF]
- 3750-20-01 Facilities Subject to Emergency Planning Requirements [PDF]
- 3750-20-05 Emergency Planning Requirements of Subject Facilities [PDF]
- 3750-20-10 Calculation of Quantities for Comparison with Threshold Planning Quantities for Solids and Mixtures [PDF]
- 3750-20-30 List of Extremely Hazardous Substances and Their Threshold Planning Quantities [PDF]
- 3750-20-50 List of Hazardous Substances and Their Applicable Reportable Quantities [PDF]
- 3750-20-60 Addition of Hazardous Chemicals, Extremely Hazardous Substances and Hazardous Substances [PDF]
- 3750-20-70 Exercise Definitions [PDF]
- 3750-20-72 Chemical Emergency Response Plans [PDF]
- 3750-20-74 Review of Plans [PDF]
- 3750-20-76 Types of Exercises [PDF]
- 3750-20-78 Execution of Exercises [PDF]
- 3750-20-80 Review of Exercises [PDF]
- 3750-20-82 Issuance of Exercise Order by Commission [PDF]
- 3750-20-84 Public Review of Plan Exercises [PDF]
Emergency Release Notification
- 3750-25-01 Facilities Subject to Emergency Release Notification Requirements [PDF]
- 3750-25-05 Designation of Hazardous Substances [PDF]
- 3750-25-10 Determination of Reportable Quantities for Hazardous Substances [PDF]
- 3750-25-12 Determining Notification Requirements of Mixtures or Solutions [PDF]
- 3750-25-13 Release Notification Requirements for Radionuclides and Solid Particles [PDF]
- 3750-25-15 Calculations for Reportable Quantities of Continuous Releases [PDF]
- 3750-25-20 Reportable Quantities for Oil Including Crude Oil [PDF]
- 3750-25-25 Release Notification Requirements [PDF]
Hazardous Chemical Reporting
- 3750-30-01 Facilities Subject to Hazardous Chemical Reporting Requirements [PDF]
- 3750-30-15 List or Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) Reporting Requirements for Subject Facilities [PDF]
- 3750-30-20 Facility Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form [PDF]
- 3750-30-25 Identification of Hazardous Chemicals [PDF]
- 3750-30-27 Threshold Quantities for Hazardous Chemical Reporting [PDF]
Fees, Funding and Grants
- 3750-50-01 Annual Inventory Filing Fees and Form [PDF]
- 3750-50-03 Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Fund [PDF]
- 3750-50-05 Special Emergency Planning Fund [PDF]
- 3750-50-07 First-time Filer Grant Awards [PDF]
- 3750-50-08 Committee Responsibilities for First-time Filer Grant Application [PDF]
- 3750-50-09 Commission Responsibilities for First-time Filer Grant Awards [PDF]
- 3750-50-10 Grant Application for Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Funds [PDF]
- 3750-50-15 Reimbursement for Costs Incurred under Chapter 3750. of the Revised Code [PDF]
- 3750-50-20 Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Reserve Fund [PDF]
- 3750-50-25 Grant Application for Funds in the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Reserve Fund [PDF]
- 3750-60-01 Definitions [PDF]
- 3750-60-03 Scope [PDF]
- 3750-60-05 Assertions of Claims of Trade Secrecy Where Claim is Pending Before the Administrator [PDF]
- 3750-60-07 Assertion of Claims for Trade Secrecy for the Specific Chemical Identity of Those Additional Chemicals Listed or Identified by the Commission [PDF]
- 3750-60-09 Methods of Asserting Trade Secrecy Claims [PDF]
- 3750-60-10 Methods of Selecting a Generic Class or Category [PDF]
- 3750-60-20 Substantiating Claims of Trade Secrecy [PDF]
- 3750-60-23 Substantiation Form to Accompany Claims of Trade Secrecy, Instructions to Substantiation Form [PDF]
- 3750-60-25 Claims of Confidentiality in the Substantiation [PDF]
- 3750-60-27 Supplemental Information [PDF]
- 3750-60-30 Initial Action by the Commission [PDF]
- 3750-60-40 Review of Trade Secrecy Claim [PDF]
- 3750-60-43 Additional Material Submitted for Good Cause [PDF]
- 3750-60-50 Sufficiency of Assertions [PDF]
- 3750-60-52 Standards for Sufficiency of Substantiation of a Trade Secret Claim [PDF]
- 3750-60-60 Public Petitions Requesting Disclosure of Chemical Identity Claimed as Trade Secret [PDF]
- 3750-60-80 Orders Issued by the Commission [PDF]
- 3750-60-83 Appeal from Commission's Determination of the Sufficiency of Trade Secrecy Claim [PDF]
- 3750-60-85 Appeal from Commission's Determination the Validity of Trade Secrecy Claim [PDF]
- 3750-60-90 Release of Chemical Identity Determined to be a Non-trade Secret; Notice of Intent to Release Chemical Identity [PDF]
- 3750-60-93 Disclosure of Trade Secret Information [PDF]
- 3750-60-94 Adverse Health Effects [PDF]
- 3750-60-95 Address to Send Trade Secret Claims and Petitions Requesting Disclosure [PDF]
Emergency Response Lock Box Units
- 3750-75-02 Facilities Subject to the Emergency Response Lock Box Unit Requirements [PDF]
- 3750-75-03 Criteria for the Construction of an Emergency Response Lock Box Unit [PDF]
- 3750-75-04 Emergency Response Lock Box Unit Contents and Maintenance [PDF]
- 3750-75-05 Conditions for the Placement of, and Access to an Emergency Lock Box Unit [PDF]
- 3750-75-07 Application for Issuance of a Lock Box Order by a Fire Department [PDF]
- 3750-75-08 Application for Issuance of Lock Box Order by a Local Emergency Planning Committee [PDF]
- 3750-75-09 Decision by Emergency Response Commission Regarding a Lock Box Application from a Local Emergency Planning Committee [PDF]
- 3750-75-10 Criteria for Issuing an Order Requiring the Placement of a Lock Box Upon a Request by a Political Subdivision [PDF]
Variances to Local Emergency Planning Committees
- 3750-80-01 Application for Variance by Local Emergency Planning Committee [PDF]
- 3750-80-02 Criteria for Granting a Variance to a Local Emergency Planning Committee [PDF]
- 3750-80-03 Decision by Emergency Response Commission [PDF]
Variances to Political Subdivisions
- 3750-85-01 Application for Variance by Political Subdivision [PDF]
- 3750-85-02 Criteria for Granting a Variance to a Political Subdivision [PDF]
- 3750-85-03 Decision by Local Emergency Planning Committee [PDF]
In 2008, U.S. EPA finalized a rule that affects Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) under the Emergency Planning Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The final rule was published on Dec. 18, 2008, and took effect on Jan. 20, 2009. The intent of the rule is to establish reporting criteria and requirements that pertain to the release of, but not limited to, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from the animal waste at the CAFOs. Each has a reporting threshold of 100 pounds in any 24-hour period.
The final rule clarified and quantified the reporting thresholds in terms of animal numbers at the affected CAFO. Affected facilities must report to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and their county-based Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). The release(s) from a CAFO may very well be stable in quantity and concentration by reporting the release as a “continuous release;” the owner or operator then has a simple notification telephone call to the SERC that is followed up by a written report within 30 days. Continuous releases occur without interruption or are routine and anticipated. They are part of normal everyday operations. Continuous releases can qualify for reduced reporting requirements whereby instead of reporting the release every day that it exceeds the threshold, you can report at one time. No further report is needed unless a change in the operation would lead to a statistically significant change in the bounds or better data become available that indicate a different good-faith estimate is more accurate. After that, CAFOs are to re-evaluate their status every year from their initial January/February report date.
The states in Region 5 (OH, IN, IL, WI, MN and MI) have adopted a generic reporting form for CAFOs to use. The form was set up to enable CAFOs to make good-faith estimates of the reporting emissions due to the number of variables and/or little information availability involved in estimating air emissions from animal agricultural facilities. The form has upper and lower bounds of emissions and includes instructions that walk the CAFO through the reporting elements. CAFOs can use the current available formulas to estimate their emissions with the understanding that the estimate could be substantially above or below the actual emission rate. Completed forms can be emailed to SERC@epa.ohio.gov or mailed to SERC-DAPC/SERC, 50 W. Town St., Columbus, OH 43215. Questions may be directed to 1-888-644-2260.
Note: If your CAFO signed the 2005 or 2006 EPA Air Emissions Compliance Consent Agreement to make a good-faith estimate of your emissions, you are bound by the terms of that agreement and have agreed to estimate your emissions within 18 months of the conclusion of the current National Air Emissions Monitoring Study and report emissions as necessary at that time. The Agreement was signed by 2,568 agricultural operations representing 6,267 farms who received a covenant not to be sued for CERCLA, EPCRA and Clean Air Act violations in exchange for their participation in the Agreement. An amount of $2,500 per farm was assessed for the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study. U.S. EPA was to announce the results of the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study in 2011, and then determine whether and how the participants in the Agreement need to report emissions. For more information on the Agreement and study, visit http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/anafoair.html#emissmonstud.
What is a CAFO and who is qualified as a CAFO?
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are operations that stable or confine animals in numbers greater than or equal to the numbers of animals specified for each category below:
Mature dairy cows, whether milked or dry
Cattle other than mature dairy cows or veal calves (“Cattle” includes, but not limited to, heifers, steers, bulls and cow/calf pairs)
Swine each weighing 55 pounds or more
Swine each weighing less than 55 pounds
Sheep or lamb
Laying hens or broilers, if the farm uses a liquid manure handling system
Chickens (other than laying hens) if the farm uses other than a liquid manure handling system
Laying hens, if the farm uses other than a liquid manure handling system
Ducks, if the farm uses other than a liquid manure handling system
Ducks, if the farm uses a liquid manure handling system
Animals that are not stabled or confined and graze on pastures are not counted toward the threshold. This rule does not change the reporting requirements where the source is not animal waste at farms or is to any medium other than air. Accidental releases of pesticides or anhydrous ammonia must still be reported regardless of the size of the farm.
How to Report
- Immediately notify the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) 1-800-282-9378 and Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) by telephone. Indicate that you are reporting a non-emergency continuous release of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from a CAFO. List of LEPC Information Coordinators can be found at epa.ohio.gov/dapc/serc/manual.aspx.
- Within 30 days after the initial phone notification, a written report should be submitted to SERC and LEPC. SERC address: Ohio EPA-DAPC/SERC, 50 W. Town St., Columbus, OH 43215. Use the emission forms as provided or can be downloaded via internet at epa.ohio.gov/dapc/serc/documents.aspx.
- One year after the initial written notification, you need to reassess and confirm the accuracy of your calculations to the SERC and the LEPC in writing.
CAFO Initial Phone Notification
The release notification for 24-hour reporting of spills in the State of Ohio is:
When a CAFO makes the initial phone notification, you will be asked for information that pertains to the CAFO. Below is an example of the general type of information that will be asked:
- Date of Notification:
- Company Name:
- Address, City, State, Zip Code:
- Contact Name:
- Phone Number:
- Source: CAFO fixed facility
- Quantity Released: Unknown at this time
- Date of Release: Continuous release
- Time and Duration of Release: Continuous release
- Chemical(s) Released: Ammonia, Hydrogen Sulfide
- Remark: This is the initial notification for EPCRA continuous release reporting at CAFO.
On behalf of the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), the Ohio EPA maintains information submitted to the SERC and is responsible for the receiving and fulfilling requests from the public for access to that information. A person who requests to receive a copy of information submitted under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3750, Emergency Planning shall submit a separate application for each facility for which information is being requested.
SERC developed “SERC Information Request Form” (PDF) (Word)
Release/Spill Information ONLY:
If the request regards release/spill information under ORC Section 3750.06, please contact the Ohio EPA, Rich Bouder, Richard.email@example.com