Hazardous Materials in Allen County

Allen County is continually at risk of a hazardous materials incident. There are 302 fixed site facilities with hazardous materials, and the county is vulnerable to accidents involving these materials. Release of hazardous materials can occur at fixed sites, but a release is more likely to occur from transportation incidents on highways and/or railroads in the county.

Why does this matter to me?

Ask yourself these questions:  

  • If there was a cloud of poisonous chemical gases coming at you or your home right now, would you know how to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property?  
  • Have the necessary steps been taken by government 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 what hazardous chemicals are present at facilities near you and these chemicals' amounts and locations, so they can effectively respond in case of an accident? 

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

What is in place to protect my community?

In order 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), 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) was created to enact the EPCRA and the policies of the IERC. 

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

In short 

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

How are these chemicals categorized?

Hazardous materials are defined as 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 and explosives in reportable quantities, as well as other chemical hazards. 

You can read the EPA's List of chemicals (pdf) subject to reporting requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (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 after a deadly cloud of highly toxic pesticide killed thousands of people in Bhopal, India. Shortly thereafter, 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 implement SARA Title III in Indiana, but its broader purpose is to enhance environmental protection and public health and safety as these are affected by chemical hazards in Indiana.

Learn more

What Does the LEPC Do for Me?

You have the explicit right to know about hazardous chemical information in your area. You can see and get copies of the Tier 2 Reports (chemical storage reports), facility emergency plans, written follow-up reports, regional emergency plans, and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Simply visit the Allen County Office of Homeland Security office between the hours of 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM to obtain this information.  

If the MSDS is for a chemical that involves trade secrets, the facility can choose not to provide this, but 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 is required to notify you within a few moments and tell you how to prepare/respond. 

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

What does the Allen County LEPC do? 

Not every county in Indiana has businesses with toxic chemicals, but all others have LEPCs that follow through with policies. 

The Allen County LEPC, is a county board created pursuant to Title III of SARA, the EPCRA, and Indiana law. The primary purpose of the LEPC is to implement SARA Title III in Indiana, but its broader purpose is to enhance environmental protection and public health and safety as these are affected by chemical hazards in Allen County. 

The Allen County LEPC: 

Creates the Allen County LEPC Emergency Plan (pdf) that is updated annually.

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

Becoming aware of chemical hazards and preparing for an accident is a necessary adaptation to modern life. Chemicals are used, released, and transported around us all the time. Be informed and alert to unusual conditions so that you can assist in protecting the community. If there are leaking tanks or an overturned tanker truck, call the authorities. Be alert to problems at nearby facilities and report suspicious activities or unusual odors to authorities. If chemical drums are seen bulging at a facility, it should be immediately reported 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, day care centers, nursing homes and care facilities, and other vulnerable facilities have shelter-in-place and evacuation plans in place.