Farmer's Responsibility

On October 16, 1986 the Superfund Amendment Reauthorization Act, also known as SARA was signed into law. Title III of this law is known as Community Right-to-Know, which gives emergency responders and community members the ability to find out what hazards are in their area. Prior knowledge of what chemicals are present and what effects they may have allow community leaders and emergency responders to conduct emergency planning. Emergency planning can cut the time needed to respond to a chemical emergency and speed up containment and clean-up. With faster containment and clean-up environmental damage is decreased along with the cost associated with a chemical incident.

Extremely Hazardous Substances
When an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) is part of a mixture, only the EHS part of the mixture is counted toward reporting requirements. For example, if you have a product that is 50% ammonia, which has a TPQ of 500 pounds, you must have 1,000 pounds or more of the product on hand before you have to report. Mixture and percentage information can be obtained from the product label or the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). If you cannot obtain the mixture percentage from the label or the MSDS, contact the manufacturer or report the mixture as a whole.

A MSDS will list chemicals in two ways, either as a Hazardous Substance or an Extremely Hazardous Substance. A Hazardous Substance is defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) under the Hazardous Communication Standard (HCS). HCS requires employers to maintain MSDS's available under the Employee Right-to-Know requirements. Hazardous Substance classifications are constantly changing and there are an estimated 50,000 substances at this time. Download a listing of Extremely Hazardous Substances (PDF).

Sending a Letter
To provide notification to the LEPC and the MDE that the facility is subject to the planning requirements under Section 302, simply write a letter to:

  • Harford County Government
    Division of Emergency Operations
    2220 Ady Road
    Forest Hill, MD 21050
  • Maryland Department of the Environment
    ATTN: Community Right to Know
    1800 Washington Boulevard
    Baltimore, MD 21230

Refer to Appendix A of the The Right-to-Know, a Guide for Business (PDF) for instructions on how to prepare and information to include in this letter.

Reporting Changes
This is not a yearly report, the only other time you must re-contact the LEPC and the MDE is if an EHS chemical is added to or deleted from inventory. All changes should be reported within 60 days of the addition or deletion. In the 302 notification you must designate a coordinator to work with the LEPC and provide facility information when needed. Facility coordinators are encouraged to attend all Harford County Local Emergency Planning Committee meetings. Meetings are normally held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 3 p.m. Please call 410-638-4900 for additional information on LEPC meetings.

Farm Facilities
Farm facilities are not required to develop emergency response plans for their facilities under the current requirements of SARA Title III. They may, however, be required by your insurance company or other OSHA regulations. If you require any assistance in preparing a plan, please call 410-638-4900.

Environmental Releases
Sara Title III, Section 304, covers emergency notification requirements when there is a release into the environment of any Hazardous or Extremely Hazardous Substance over the designated Reportable Quantity (RQ). If there is any danger of off site exposure you must report the incident.

When the amount of spillage is at or greater than the listed RQ and off site exposure has, or has the potential to occur, you are required to start reporting procedures under Section 304.

The release of a pesticide registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), when used generally in accordance with its intended routine agricultural applications, according to approved product label instructions, is exempt from this reporting requirement, and also normal application of fertilizers. This exemption applies only to on site releases.

Covered Release
When a covered release has occurred, you are required to contact the Harford County Division of Emergency Services immediately. The emergency number 911 should always be used for this purpose. Be prepared to give the following information:

  1. Name of chemical released
  2. If the chemical is a listed EHS
  3. Quantity released
  4. Date, time and duration of release
  5. Your name
  6. Environmental media affected (soil, air, or water)
  7. Location of the release
  8. Number of injured or ill personnel, if any
  9. Number of contaminated personnel, if any