Background

CERCLA and EPCRA Reporting Requirements for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) require facilities to report releases of hazardous substances that are equal to or greater than their reportable quantities (RQ) within any 24-hour period. Following a hazardous substance reportable release, a facility owner or operator must notify federal authorities under CERCLA and state and local authorities under EPCRA.

On December 18, 2008, EPA published a final rule that exempted most farms from certain release reporting requirements in CERCLA and EPCRA. Specifically, the rule exempted farms releasing hazardous substances from animal waste to the air above threshold levels from reporting under CERCLA. For EPCRA reporting, the rule exempted reporting of such releases if the farm had fewer animals than a large concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).

In short, all farms were relieved from reporting hazardous substance air releases from animal waste under CERCLA, and only large CAFOs were subject to EPCRA reporting.

A number of citizen groups challenged the validity of the final rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. On April 11, 2017, the Court struck down the final rule, eliminating the reporting exemptions for farms. EPA sought additional time from the Court to delay the effective date so that EPA could develop guidance materials to help farmers understand their reporting obligations.

Unless the DC Circuit Court takes further action, the court’s ruling takes effect on November 15, 2017.

Reporting

The National Pork Producers Council has put together a guidance document, to which we have added additional state-specific information. This document is to be used by producers to determine if they need to report, where they can report and how they report in order to come into compliance from the recent court ruling. Download NPPC guidance document here.

We have not (yet) received confirmation that the EPA’s request for an extension has been approved by the court so producers at this point are still being asked to make the initial report to the NRC by November 15th. If we receive confirmation that EPA’s request for an extension is granted, we will let you know right away. View EPA Guidance document here.

If producers are unsure whether or not they need to report, then just report.

Informational sessions

There are a number of informational sessions scheduled in Eastern NC and the NC Pork Council will be holding several conference calls for producers to help them understand what is required for compliance. The details of those calls are forthcoming but the in-person meetings scheduled so far are below:

Lenoir County
Monday, November 13
4 pm
Lenoir County Livestock Arena

Greene County
Tuesday, November 14
9 am
39 Vandiford Thomas Rd, Farmville

Duplin County
Tuesday, November 14
10 am & 1 pm
Duplin County Extension Office

Bladen County
Tuesday, November 14
2 pm & 7 pm
Bladen County Extension Office

Please contact the NCPC office if you have questions.