LEPC Ensures Quality Hazmat Response With Help From Some Friends
All of us in Kane County take for granted that there are people out there ready and waiting to respond in the case of a horrific chemical accident or disaster.
But we don’t often think about who runs toward trouble and how the agencies find funding to get those federally mandated, life-saving tasks done.
One of the unheralded groups is the Kane County Local Emergency Planning Committee, whose job it is to make sure there’s local funding and support for hazardous materials teams that protect us when there’s a transportation accident or chemical plant accident or spill.
Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons and radioactive materials. These substances are most often released as a result of transportation accidents or because of chemical accidents in plants.
Perhaps even less acknowledged by the general public is the contribution of partner facilities that aid the LEPC, support the local hazardous material teams and give back to their community.
So each year, the LEPC recognizes and thanks those partners with awards. In May, the LEPC recognized the following:
- Custom Pak Illinois
- W.R. Meadows Inc.
- Parent Petroleum
- Fiberbasin, Inc.
- Dodge Chemical Company
- Engineered Ceramics
- VVF Illinois Services LLC
- Flinn Scientific
- Producers Chemical Co.
- Butterfield Color
- Electro-Max, Inc.
- Elgiloy Specialty Metals – Hampshire
- Elgiloy Specialty Metals – Elgin
- Polynt Composites USA, Inc.
Over the years, the Kane County LEPC has performed its mandated role by the use of grant funds, the generosity of member facilities and volunteer donations of time, supplies and energy.
As the grant funds have dwindled over time, the LEPC has investigated other sources of funding and fulfilling its mandated duties.
Other counties and other states have instituted filing fees that the facilities must pay when submitting their Tier II, but KCLEPC did not want to force something on the facilities.
A voluntary donation sounded like the better way to go, and a goal was that half of the funds acquired would go back into the community in the form of mini-grant to the three main hazardous materials response teams: MABAS Division 2, MABAS Division 13 and the Kane County Bomb Squad, the latter of which has the unique capability of being about to respond and handle Class 1 explosives.
The remaining fund goes to further the goal of the LEPC, increase member training and be put aside for a future study. The Partnership Program — a voluntary program that chemical facilities in the county can participate in annually — was born out of this goal.
History of the LEPC
The Local Emergency Planning Committee is a federally mandated committee created when Congress passes the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986 after the 1984 Bhopal India Union Carbide incident.
Congress mandated that each state create an Emergency Response Commission. That entity then established and appointed the LEPC.
Per Illinois Administrative Code Title 29, Chapter I, Part 620, section 620.50, the LEPC is made up of at least 12 groups: state and local elected officials, local environmental groups, law enforcement, hospitals, local government ESDA (now EMA & OEM), transportation, firefighting, emergency medical service, broadcast and print media, community groups, health, owners and operators of facilities.
For more information, visit the KCLEPC website by clicking this link.
SOURCE: LEPC news release