Spill/Release Reporting

News & Updates


Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensations, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and California law require responsible parties to report hazardous material releases if certain criteria is met.

CERCLA requires that all releases of hazardous substances (including radionuclides) exceeding reportable quantities be reported by the responsible party to the National Response Center (800) 424-8802. Additionally, CERCLA provides a reduced reporting requirement for continuous releases of hazardous substances that exceed the Reportable Quantity (RQ). Notification of continuous releases that equal or exceed the RQ need only be given once, with one follow-up report on the first anniversary of the initial report, following the continuous release reporting process. Thereafter only "statistically significant increases" need be reported. The purpose of the continuous release mechanism is to reduce unnecessary release notifications for releases of hazardous substances.

If an accidental chemical release exceeds the EPCRA applicable minimal reportable quantity, the facility must notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) and Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) for any area likely to be affected by the release and the National Response Center (800) 424-8802, and provide a detailed written follow-up as soon as practicable.  Information about accidental chemical releases must be made available to the public.

In California, any significant release or threatened release of a hazardous material requires immediate reporting by the responsible person to the Cal OES State Warning Center (800) 852-7550 and the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) or 911. The CUPA may designate a call to 911 as meeting the requirement to call them. Contact information for your jurisdiction's CUPA can be found at http://cersapps.calepa.ca.gov/Public/Directory/ or http://cersapps.calepa.ca.gov/Public/UPAListing. Notifying the State Warning Center (800) 852-7550 and the CUPA or 911 constitutes compliance with the requirements of section 11004 of title 42 of the United States Code regarding verbal notification of the SERC and LEPC (California Code of Regulations, Title 19 Section 2703 (e)).

In the top right corner of this web page, within the "Quick Links" box, various guidance documents can be downloaded for your education on spill notification and the types of releases that are reportable. The Cal OES HazMat Section can help you decide how to respond to a spill. They can be reached at (916) 845-8798. In addition, CHEMTREC  maintains a large database of Material Safety Data Sheets, chemical information references resources, and networks of chemical and hazardous material experts. CHEMTREC provides access to technical information regarding chemical products as well as telephone access to product specialists, chemists, or other experts. (1-800-424-9300 in the U.S. or 703-527-3887 outside the U.S.)

For questions contact Brian Abeel, phone: (916) 845-8768 or email: 
Statute: Health and Safety Code Section 25510
Regulation: Title 19, California Code of Regulations, Division 2, Chapter 4, Article 2
Federal Statute: United States Code, Title 42, Section 9602, 9603, and 11004
Federal Regulation: Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 302 and 355