Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)

Mission Statement

 "To enhance the protection of the community and the environment from hazardous materials incidents through planning, preparation and communication between citizens, business and government."

Columbia County LEPC meets quarterly. For meeting location and times, please contact Columbia County Emergency Management at (509) 382-2518. The public is invited to attend.

What is LEPC?

A committee required by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) that is made up of representatives from government, industry, elected officials, environmental groups and others.

Columbia County LEPC has incorporated the planning requirements of Title III into the community Emergency Management Plan developed by the Columbia County Department of Emergency Management. Business using or generating certain quantities of materials on the EPA's Extremely Hazardous Substance list must report to the LEPC and their local fire departments.

Who does the emergency planning?

Any business which uses, manufactures, stores or transports hazardous materials is required to have procedures for safe handling of these materials as well as emergency response procedures.

Fire departments and other response agencies are also required to have procedures for hazardous materials spills.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Corrosive
  • Flammable
  • Poisonous
  • Toxic Fumes

Many solids, gasses and liquids used in the production of fuels, medicines, plastics, and other products and processes in our community are classified as hazardous. Hazardous materials are used. stored and transported daily throughout the country.

Under most circumstances, these materials are handled safely. However, when improperly handled, disposed of or released these substances can become hazardous to people and the environment necessitating coordinated planning for emergencies.

Community Right to Know

The LEPC has set up a Community Right to Know Program which incorporates the chemicals reported to the LEPC by local businesses.

This program is based upon the 1986 Title III of SARA. This legislation requires local planning by businesses and response agencies (such as fire departments) whenever hazardous materials are involved. SARA also requires the establishment of a system in each community that informs citizens of chemicals used, manufactured or stored locally.

Workers Right to Know

Laws exist which require a Hazard Communication Standard also known as the Worker Right to Know program. Employers are required to inform employees of chemical hazards present in the workplace.

For more information about Worker Right to Know contact your supervisor or the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Safety and Health toll free information at: 800.423.7233

Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Draft 2023

Columbia County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update 2023