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Improving Communities’ Preparedness

The mission of Iowa’s Local Emergency Planning Committees is to assist in improving communities’ preparedness for handling chemical accidents, promoting cooperation among state and local government and industry, and increasing public awareness of chemicals in the community.

The LEPCs have broad-based representation, including elected state and local officials, law enforcement, emergency management, first aid (emergency medical services), fire fighting, health, local environmental, hospital, transportation, broadcast and print media, community groups and owners and operators of facilities subject to the requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA).

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For spill reporting and information, contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at 515.725.8694.

For Tier II and Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting, contact the DNR at 515.783.7346 or 515.204.3352.

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There are currently 31 Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) in Iowa, with eight regional LEPCs and 23 individual (county) LEPCs.

Funding for the activities of the commission come from the Iowa General Assembly, and grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Transportation and FEMA.

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Resources for LEPCs

Funding for hazmat commodity flow studies is available from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) Grant program. A guidebook for conducting hazardous materials commodity flow studies can be downloaded free of charge from the Transportation Research Board (TRB). This guidebook was developed using input of over 550 LEPCs from across the country.

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Procedures for Establishing a New LEPC


If no LEPC is active or exists, the county Board of Supervisors is responsible for submitting nominations to Iowa HSEMD for appointment to the Local Emergency Planning Committee.


Representatives of the following groups or organizations (a person may represent one or more groups provided they are duly appointed by each group or organization they represent):

1. Elected State and local officials
2. Law enforcement personnel
3. Emergency management personnel
4. Fire fighting personnel
5. First aid personnel
6. Health personnel
7. Local environmental personnel
8. Hospital personnel
9. Transportation personnel
10. Broadcast and print media
11. Community groups
12. Owners and operators of facilities subject to the requirements of this subtitle.

Initial Steps

Establish procedures for functioning of committee to include:

  • Selection of chair/vice-chair and secretary;
  • Determine length of term for LEPC members;
  • Designate a 24-hour emergency contact point for emergency release notifications (may use 911 if procedures are in place);
  • Designation of local government office for receiving non-emergency notifications from facilities subject to the law;
  • Designation of an official (information coordinator) to respond to requests for information from public (e.g. Safety Data Sheets, chemical inventory forms, minutes of LEPC meetings, and emergency response plans)

Establishment Procedures

  • Public notification of committee activities;
  • Receiving and responding to public comments;
  • Distribution of emergency plans;
  • Receiving and processing requests from public for information under EPCRA Section 324, including Tier II information under Section 312;
  • Public access for review of material including
    • emergency response plan
    • Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
    • inventory forms;
  • Publish annual notice of information available;
  • Make available minutes of all LEPC meetings to public;

What Iowa HSEMD Needs from LEPCs

  • Name of chair and vice chair;
  • Emergency 24 hour number for emergency release notification (section 304);
  • Name of an information coordinator to respond to request for information to public (sections 311(c)(2) and 324;
  • Name and address of local government office for receiving non-emergency notifications (sections 311 & 312);
  • Minutes of LEPC meetings;
  • Current list of emergency facility coordinators designated by each facility;
  • Public notification of committee activity;
  • Procedures for receiving and responding to public comments and requests.
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Hazardous Materials Teams in Iowa

Independent hazardous materials teams in Iowa have developed where the need for response capability to an accidental chemical release has been recognized by larger communities and have contracted their services to other counties surrounding them. In most cases, hazmat teams will not automatically respond outside of their contracted area. Hazmat teams cover more than 99.5 percent of the state’s population and 95 Iowa counties.

The cost of maintaining an independent hazmat team is substantial and the expense is shared by the member counties by a per capita contribution.

Many local responders are trained to the operations level, meaning they can contain and secure the incident but may lack adequate training or equipment to fully respond to the incident. It is not always feasible for volunteers to maintain the level of training or the specialized equipment necessary when responding to hazardous materials accident. A professional hazmat team that is ready to respond fulfills a much needed service in the interest of the public. Often the hazmat team also provides planning and training assistance to first responders in the member counties.

These independent hazmat teams are different than the state WMD HazMat Team (although members of some of these teams are part of the state team). Read more about the state team.

Hazardous Materials Teams in 95 Counties

Team #1-Sioux City Fire Department (Serving Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Ida, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties)

Team #2-Region V HazMat Team (Serving Calhoun, Carroll, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright counties)

 Team #3-Mason City Fire Department (Serving Cerro Gordo, Emmet, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Kossuth, Mitchell, Palo Alto, Winnebago and Worth counties)

 Team #4-Northeast Iowa Response Group (Serving Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy, Hardin, Howard, Poweshiek, Tama and Winneshiek counties)

Team #5-Des Moines Fire Department (Serving Boone, Dallas, Madison, Marshall, Polk, Story and Warren counties)

 Team #6-Southeast Iowa Response Group (Serving Clarke, Davis, Decatur, Jefferson, Mahaska, Monroe, Ringgold, Van Buren, Wapello, and Wayne counties)

 Team #7-Linn County HazMat Team (Serving Benton, Buchanan, northern Cedar, Clayton, Delaware, Fayette, Iowa, Jones and Linn counties)

 Team #8-Cedar Rapids HazMat Team (serving City of Cedar Rapids)

 Team #9-Johnson County HazMat Team (Serving Johnson County and southern Cedar County)

 Team #10-Dubuque Fire Department (Serving Dubuque County)

 Team #11-Davenport Fire Department (Serving Clinton and Jackson counties and the west half of Scott County)

Team #12-Bettendorf Fire and Rescue (Serving the east half of Scott County)

 Team #13-Council Bluffs Fire Department (Serving Adair, Cass, Fremont, Guthrie, Mills, Page and Pottawattamie counties)

 Team #14-Burlington Fire Department (Serving Des Moines County)

 Team #15-Ames HazMat Team (Serving the City of Ames and Boone, Dallas, Madison, Marshall, Polk, Story and Warren counties)

Team #16-Muscatine HazMat Team (Serving Henry, Keokuk, Louisa, Muscatine and Washington counties)

 Team #17-Newton Fire Department (Serving Jasper County)

Team #18-Hydro-Klean (Serving Appanoose and Lucas counties)

Team #19-Tri-County Special Operations (Serving Crawford, Harrison and Shelby counties)

Team #20-Lee County HazMat (Serving Lee County)

Team #21-Mahaska County HazMat Response Group (Serving Mahaska County)

Team #22-Marion County HazMat Team (Serving Marion County)

Team #23-Environmental Services (Serving Union County)

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