Frequent Questions

Releases excluded from CERCLA reporting requirements

Are certain types of releases specifically excluded from reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)?

Exclusions from Definition of "Release"

CERCLA section 101(22) specifically excludes from the definition of release:

  • Any release which results in exposure to persons solely within a workplace
  • Emissions from the engine exhaust of a motor vehicle, rolling stock, aircraft, vessel, or pipeline pumping station engine
  • Certain releases of source, byproduct, or special nuclear material from a nuclear incident; and
  • Normal application of fertilizers.

The definition of facility under CERCLA section 101(9) specifically excludes consumer products in consumer use. Releases from such products, therefore, are excluded from CERCLA reporting requirements.

Other Reporting Exemptions

Section 103 of CERCLA also exempts from CERCLA reporting requirements:

  • Application of a pesticide product registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) or the handling or storage of such product by an agricultural producer
  • Release of a substance that is required to be reported (or exempted from reporting) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C and has already been reported to the National Response Center (NRC) under the Subtitle C regulations; and
  • Federally permitted releases (these are also exempted from liability). 

Reporting Exemptions for Certain Radionuclide Releases

In a final rule to adjust the RQs for radionuclides (54 FR 22524), EPA established administrative reporting exemptions from CERCLA section 103 and EPCRA section 304 reporting requirements for four categories of radionuclide releases.

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