CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act), commonly known as Superfund, is a law that was originally enacted by Congress in December 1980. Its purpose was to give the federal government authority to monitor, regulate, and respond to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that could be harmful to the public or the environment. CERCLA, along with sanctioning two kinds of response actions, included 3 provisions:

  1. establish prohibitions and requirements concerning closed and abandoned hazardous waste sites;
  2. provide for liability of persons responsible for releases of hazardous waste at these sites; and
  3. establish a trust fund to provide for cleanup when no responsible party could be identified.

EPCRA refers to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. Adopted in 1986, it was related to the Superfund law because of the public's demand for more protection from chemical exposure and emergencies. According to EPCRA, businesses and industry are required to report the types of chemicals they store, use, and release. The act allows communities to track toxic chemicals and provides emergency planning and notification if hazardous substances were released into the environment.

Both CERCLA and EPCRA are subject to oversight and enforcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


NMPF Issues Update for EPCRA Reporting - February 6, 2009

As a follow-up to the January 16, 2009 notice listed below, NMPF provided additional guidance on the EPCRA written reporting that was required 30 days after the verbal report was recommended. Any producer that submitted a verbal report on January 20, 2009 by telephone to their state emergency response committee (SERC) and local emergency planning committee (LEPC) of continuous emissions of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide should follow up that call with a written report providing a “good faith estimate” of the upper and lower bounds for those continuous emissions.

Given that no further EPA clarification or guidance is currently available, any producer that called in a report on January 20 should submit their written report on or before February 19, 2009. That report should be mailed to the same SERC and LEPC offices that producers called with their verbal reports.

A reporting template is available here that you can use for the submission of your written report.


EPA's CERCLA Livestock Exemption Rule Causes Confusion for EPCRA Reporting - January 16, 2009

On December 18, 2008, EPA published a final rule that exempted animal waste from emissions reporting under the CERCLA regulations. In this same rule, EPA determined that EPCRA reporting is still required. The effective date for this rule was January 20, 2009. Many in the industry viewed this January 20 deadline as the date for compliance with EPCRA reporting and not just the effective date of the CERCLA exemption.

NMPF recommended that any producers who emit more than 100 pounds of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide make a call to their state emergency response committee (SERC) and local emergency planning committee (LEPC) to report continuous emissions. A fact sheet and emissions estimator should help producers determine if they need to report, who to call, and what to say. The emissions estimator is for ammonia only. At this time, there is no good data on hydrogen sulfide emissions from dairy operations. However, anecdotal reports suggest that if you have less than 20,000 dairy cow, then you probably don’t emit more than 100 lbs of hydrogen sulfide.

The fact sheet is available here. The emissions estimator is available here.


Comments on EPA Proposal to Exempt Animal Waste from Administrative Reporting of Hazardous Substances Released into the Air - March 24, 2008

At the end of 2007, EPA suggested that rules under CERCLA and EPCRA be amended to exclude the reporting of air emissions that emanate from animal waste on farms. Formal comments were submitted jointly by NMPF and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) in response to this proposal.

The full letter is available here.