Hazardous Materials in Allen County

Allen County is continually at risk of a hazardous materials incident. The county has 302 fixed-site facilities with hazardous materials. The release of hazardous materials can occur at fixed sites. Yet, incidents on the highways or railroads are more likely to cause a release.

Why does this matter to me?

Ask yourself these questions:  

  • If a cloud of poisonous chemical gases was coming at you right now, would you know what to do?  
  • Has the government taken the necessary steps to protect you and your family in such an event?  
  • Are the facilities near you in compliance with any government requirements?  
  • Do the firefighters know which hazardous chemicals are present at facilities near you? Do they know these chemicals' amounts and locations? Can they effectively respond in case of an accident? 

You (the public) have the right to know the plan for chemical emergencies where you live, travel, and work. Without proper emergency planning, hazardous materials incidents can overwhelm unprepared emergency response teams.

What is in place to protect my community?

To prepare for chemical spills and inform the public of safety issues related to chemical hazards, the US Congress passed The Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA). The EPCRA is a part of Title III of the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA Title III).  

In response to the EPCRA, Indiana created the Indiana Emergency Response Commission (IERC).  

The Allen County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) enacts the EPCRA and the policies of the IERC. 

Allen County’s LEPC creates plans, conducts exercises, and collects data on the hazardous chemicals in our area.  

In short 

  • Federal Law > State Policy > Local Action 
  • EPRCA > IERC > LEPC

How are these chemicals categorized?

A hazardous material is any chemical that is a physical hazard or a health hazard as defined under 40 CFR Part 302.  Hazardous materials also include:

  • radioactive and non-radioactive materials
  • explosives in reportable quantities
  • other chemical hazards. 

You can read the EPA's List of Chemicals (pdf). This list describes the chemicals that facilities must report according to the EPCRA, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act.

About the EPCRA

Public demand for chemical release information skyrocketed in the mid-1980s. In 1986, a deadly cloud of highly toxic pesticide killed thousands of people in Bhopal, India. That same year, a serious chemical release at a plant in West Virginia, USA hospitalized 100 individuals.

Learn more

About the IERC

The primary purpose of the IERC is to carry out SARA Title III in Indiana. Its broader purpose is to enhance environmental protection, public health, and safety related to chemical hazards in Indiana.

Learn more

What Does the LEPC Do for Me?

You have the explicit right to know about hazardous chemical information. You can see and get copies of the

  • Tier 2 (chemical storage) reports,
  • facility emergency plans,
  • written follow-up reports,
  • regional emergency plans,
  • and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).

Visit the Allen County Office of Homeland Security office during open hours.  

If the MSDSs are for a chemical that involves trade secrets, the facility can choose not to provide this. This is a rare scenario. Most chemicals and chemical mixtures used at facilities are not trade secrets. 

Any time a chemical emergency occurs in your area, the facility must notify you within a few moments and tell you how to respond. 

The Allen County LEPC is always working to improve its public communication efforts. 

What does the Allen County LEPC do? 

Not every county in Indiana has businesses with toxic chemicals. Any county that does though, has an LEPC. 

The Allen County LEPC is a county board created according to Title III of SARA, the EPCRA, and Indiana law. The primary purpose of the LEPC is to carry out SARA Title III in Allen County. Its broader purpose is to enhance environmental protection, public health, and safety related to chemical hazards in Allen County.

The Allen County LEPC: 

Creates and updates the LEPC (Hazardous Materials Plan) 2020 every year.

Exercises the plan at least once annually. See pictures of our 2019 exercise at Prairie Farms below. 

Provides a list of facilities that contain hazardous chemicals in Allen County to the public.

LEPC 2019 1 LEPC 2019 2 LEPC 2019 3

Always Be Prepared and Alert

A necessary adaptation to modern life is becoming aware of chemical hazards and preparing for an accident.

Chemicals are used, released, and transported around us all the time.

  • Be informed and alert to unusual conditions so that you can help protect the community.
  • If there is a leaking tank or an overturned tanker truck, call the authorities.
  • Report suspicious activities or unusual odors to authorities.
  • If you see chemical drums bulging at a facility, immediately report it as an emergency. 

Finally, become aware of shelter-in-place and evacuation strategies for the community. Become familiar with these concepts. Be sure the local schools, hospitals, daycare centers, nursing homes, and care facilities, and other vulnerable facilities have these plans in place.