An uncontrolled release of hazardous materials capable of posing a risk to life, health, safety, property or the environment.
Hazardous materials releases can happen during transport or from a facility where they are used or stored.
A significant hazardous materials event at a facility is one that causes injuries, evacuation, or environmental damage.
There are 29 sites in Lansing that store chemicals that are designated “extremely hazardous substances” (EHS). Those facilities have response plans that they share with the fire department and the community through the Ingham County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).
Eighty-four thousand Lansing residents live in the vulnerable zones of EHS sites. The demographics of these areas mirror the demographics of the city as a whole. There is no one age, race, or income level that is at greater risk than any other. The two areas with the greatest vulnerability are southeast Lansing and downtown. Lansing’s risk of a release from a fixed hazmat site has been drastically reduced since the 1990s, when most of Lansing’s hazardous materials incidents occurred. This is partially due to increased regulation, but is also due to improvements in industrial processes. There are no longer any sites in the city storing significant amounts of chlorine. Several other chemicals with the potential to impact very large areas have also been removed.
The State of Michigan, the Ingham County LEPC, and the Lansing Fire Department share responsibility for maintaining records of chemicals store in the community. The Ingham County Health Department creates emergency response plans for the fire department for every site that stores a large amount of an EHS chemical. The plans identify how and where the materials are stored, and what other hazards might be in the facility.