ISU Extensionís Response to EPCRA/CERCLA Reporting

Angela Rieck-Hinz, Extension Program Specialist IV, Agronomy


In December 2008, the EPA quietly announced finalized rules providing a full exemption for reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at farms to the federal government and a partial exemption of reporting the releases to state and local governments. The new rule exempts all farms from reporting air releases under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The requirements for large animal feeding operations (AFOs) to report certain types of releases to local and state agencies, as directed by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) remain unchanged. The new exemption went into affect on January 20, 2009, and due to a lack of information and guidance from state and federal regulatory agencies and mis-information from the national livestock commodity groups, many livestock producers were led to believe they must file emissions reports by the end of the day on January 20.  Compounding the confusion was the fact this exemption went into affect one day after a federal Holiday and on the same day we saw a change in Administration due to recent elections so most federal agency staffers were not available to address questions for two days and state agency people were not informed as to the situation.


ISU Extension’s response to this short-term crisis was to develop and coordinate resources that could be used by technical consultants and livestock producers to address this concern and to provide technical support to ISU Extension Field Specialists who were left scrambling to assist panicked livestock producers. 


As a result, a Web page was developed to provide a centralized location for communications about this requirement. Due to the nature of the reporting requirements and the need to report again one year from your original reporting date, the web page remains active at:

In addition, spreadsheets from other sources as well as materials developed at ISU were posted to the site and detailed instructions for reporting requirement were included in the monthly IMMAG email newsletter that was sent to over 250 people.

Outcome Statement: 

During the month of January 2009, the CERCLA/EPCRA site on the Animal Agriculture and Air Quality Web page was visited 728 times.  The Animal Agriculture and Air Quality Web page saw a three-fold increase in the number of people visiting this site as compared to previous months. The top three most downloaded files for this site for the months of January and February 2009 were related to CERCLA/EPCRA reporting.  The swine reporting form was the most downloaded form at 548 downloads in January  and 637 downloads in February , followed by a fact sheet from EPA at 245 downloads and the dairy reporting form at 176 downloads in January and 274 downloads in February.  These statistics would indicate an increase in awareness of the situation regarding the CERCLA/EPCRA reporting requirements.  Because it is not possible to determine who was accessing the forms, or if in fact they were required to meet the reporting requirements, determining medium to long term results in behavior changes is not possible.  And while changes in awareness and knowledge constitute impact, due to the voluntary nature of the reporting requirements, changes in behaviors or practices that may have an impact on air emissions may not be achievable. 


110 Dairy Team

140 Iowa Beef Center

150 Iowa Pork Industry Center

160 Natural Resources and Stewardship

Page last updated: April 7, 2009
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,