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Hazardous Materials and Environmental Emergencies

Karyn Yaussy

  Karyn Yaussy
Emergency Management Coordinator
Phone: (828) 465-8989
Email Karyn Yaussy

Physical Address:
map 25 Government Drive
Newton, NC 28658

Mailing Address:
PO Box 389
Newton, NC 28658

Office Hours:
M - F 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m

Phase 1 Environmental Assessment

Environmental site assessments are typically conducted in phases, and are used to determine whether a property is contaminated or not. Often these assessments are done before the property is purchased by a new owner. A Phase I environmental assessment is a review of available documentation and knowledge associated with the property’s historical record to see if there is known recognized environmental conditions (RECs) or the potential for environmental conditions (PECs) at the property. The scope of work for a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) should be based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI). If the Phase I results indicate that there is known or potential contamination, the assessment of the site proceeds to the next phase.

Engineering and consulting firms can obtain property information on fires, chemical spills or hazards and other known incidents by emailing Karyn Yaussy, Emergency Management Coordinator at Please include the complete physical address of the property and how we may contact you: including your name, company name and complete contact information.

Tier 2/RMP Reporting

The Catawba County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) requires facilities that use, store, or manufacture hazardous chemicals (chemicals requiring a Material Safety Data Sheet) to submit a Tier II Report if the quantity of any hazardous chemical present at any time during the reporting year meets or exceeds the lesser of the following thresholds:

EPCRA, Section 302(c) states that you must notify the SERC and LEPC within 60 days if any of the following occur.

  • The addition of new hazardous chemicals
  • A change in the quantity of hazardous chemicals present within your facility
  • A change in the location of hazardous chemicals within your facility
  • Your facility no longer uses, stores, or manufactures hazardous chemicals

Companies must utilize the E-Plan electronic filing system for annual Tier II and RMP reporting. This electronic submittal satisfies the reporting requirements for the Catawba County LEPC, the North Carolina State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), and the local fire department providing emergency services for your facility. Hard copies are not required to be sent to Catawba County LEPC or to NC State Emergency Response Commission.

Tier 2 and RMP reporting website:

Please contact the Emergency Management office at 828-465-8230 for questions about Tier 2 reporting.

Regulatory References:

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act

North Carolina General Assembly General Statutes Section 95-191

Local Emergency Planning Committee

The Catawba County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is a federally mandated committee with membership from business and industry; emergency response groups such as fire, medical and law enforcement; community groups; media; hospitals; environmental interest; universities; and the general public. The mission of the LEPC is to effectively plan for emergencies involving hazardous materials. The LEPC is tasked with the responsibility for SARA Title III Environmental Compliance; HAZMAT training and exercises; Site-Specific Chemical Planning Program; coordination of chemical information to emergency responders; and maintenance of the county-wide emergency response plan. The LEPC meets twice a year and the public is invited to attend.

The primary responsibility of the LEPC is to receive information about hazardous substances from industry and to use this information to develop comprehensive site emergency plans to handle emergencies. It is also responsible for establishing procedures and programs which make it easy for citizens to understand and have access to the information that industry submits.

The LEPC can assist you in obtaining chemical related information from industry in your neighborhood. Federal law requires LEPCs to establish procedures for receiving and processing requests from the public for information. The Catawba County Emergency Management Division has been designated as the official agency to serve as coordinator of this information. You may contact the following for additional information:

Catawba County Emergency Management
100-A Southwest Blvd,
Newton, NC 28658
Industry must provide three types of information to the LEPC, including:

  • In case of an accidental release of certain chemicals, industry must immediately notify appropriate federal, state and local agencies, including the LEPC. Once submitted, release information is maintained on file with the LEPC. 
  • If business stores, uses or manufactures one of approximately 360 chemicals that the U.S. EPA considers extremely hazardous, they must report to the LEPC the amount, general location and hazards caused by that chemical's use or storage.
  • Annually, the industry must submit to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and to the U.S. EPA, a Toxic Release Inventory which reports on the amounts of toxic chemicals they routinely emit into the air, water or ship off-site for treatment or disposal.

Federal law required the LEPC to complete an Emergency Response Plan within two years after the date of the enactment of the Community Right-to-Know Act. The LEPC is required to review the plan at least annually.

A comprehensive plan was developed for Catawba County and is available for public inspection by calling (828)465-8230 Monday – Friday during business hours.

Community Right-to-Know

In 1986, in the wake of the Bhopal, India disaster, the U.S. Congress enacted the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act as part of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). This Act (PL 99-499) requires industry to provide information to local governments and citizens on the types and amounts of hazardous materials they manufacture, store, handle, use or release regularly into the environment.

In Catawba County and the State of North Carolina, the reportable quantities are 55 gallons or 500 pounds or more of any OSHA Hazardous Substance; for Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS), the Federal reportable quantities apply. Submission, of an annual Tier II report, of any chemicals which meet or exceed these amounts, satisfies the Federal, State and local reporting requirements.
The intent of the Act was that, with this important information, communities could take steps to reduce the risk of fires, explosions, and pollution and be better prepared for emergencies before they occur. Further information may be obtained by contacting:
Catawba County Emergency Management
100-A Southwest Blvd.
Newton, NC 28658
Hazardous Materials Response Team (HMRT)

The Catawba County Hazardous Materials Response Team (HMRT) is a 40 member multi-agency response team with specialized training in dealing with hazardous materials including flammable materials such as gasoline or propane, toxic gases such as chlorine or anhydrous ammonia, manufacturing chemicals, transportation incidents,  radioactive releases and incidents involving chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

HMRT members train together monthly and have full-scale exercises twice a year in addition to being available to respond anywhere within the county. Members are credentialed by the NC Fire & Rescue Commission and meet national standards established in NFPA 472 and OSHA 1910.120 for Level 1 (Operations) and Level 2 (Technician) hazardous materials responders ( )

Persons interested in the HMRT may contact:
Wes Blackwelder at 828-465-8230 or