What is the AZSERC Program?
As of 2016, the Arizona Emergency Response Commission, also known as AZSERC is overseen by ADEQ. AZSERC receives and coordinates emergency notifications of chemical releases, collects chemical inventory information and provides the information to interested parties, training programs and grants programs. AZSERC serves as a state clearinghouse for hazardous chemical emergency preparedness and planning activities and information through coordination with federal, tribal nations, state, local governments, industry and community interest groups.
Established by Arizona Law1, AZSERC is tasked with the implementation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPRCA) in Arizona. The Commission oversees 15 Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and supports community, industry, government and academia with:
- Planning, release and incident reporting
- Data management guidance for inventory reporting
- Public disclosure of information about hazardous chemicals in Arizona
- Development of training and outreach programs
Additionally, AZSERC provides consultative services, conducts and participates in workshops, and coordinates the development and review of plans and programs for the 15 LEPCs.
What is EPCRA?
EPCRA was passed in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals, triggered by the disaster in Bhopal, India, in which more than 2,000 people died or suffered serious injury from the accidental release of methyl isocyanate. To reduce the likelihood of such a disaster in the United States, Congress imposed requirements on both states and regulated facilities | Learn more about EPCA >
What are SERCs and LEPCs?
The Governor of each state has designated a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). Each SERC is responsible for implementing EPCRA provisions within their state. The SERCs in turn have designated about 3,500 local emergency planning districts and appointed a LEPC for each district. The SERC supervises and coordinates the activities of the LEPC, establishes procedures for receiving and processing public requests for information collected under EPCRA and reviews local emergency response plans.
The LEPC membership must include, at a minimum, local officials including police, fire, civil defense, public health, transportation and environmental professionals, as well as representatives of facilities subject to the emergency planning requirements, community groups and the media. LEPCs must develop an emergency response plan, review the plan annually and provide information about chemicals in the community to citizens.
1Arizona Revised Statutes Title 26, Chapter 2, Article 3