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Lowndes County Local Emergency Planning Committee

515 2nd Avenue North,

Columbus, MS 39701
(662) 329-5110


  • Chairperson:            Mahlon Geer - Baptist Memorial Hospital

  • Vice-Chairperson:    Ken Dyer - Weyerhaeuser

  • Secretary:                Sherry Honsinger   - Mississippi University for Women

Welcome to the Lowndes County LEPC's home page. The Lowndes County LEPC is a partnership between local industries, citizens, local governments and the emergency response agencies. This site has been developed to provide you information about the local emergency management, individual emergency preparedness for the hazards we face in Lowndes County, and how we can mitigate their effects.

The LEPC meetings  will be held on the second Wednesday of the odd numbered months at 3 PM.  The normal meeting location is at the Willcutt Block training facility off of Military Road.  Meeting notices are publicly posted at the Columbus Lowndes EMA office at least seven days prior to any meeting.  Meeting locations can be changed to member's facilities that are hosting or sponsoring a LEPC training topic.


Mission Statement

Lowndes County's Top 16 Hazards

 Communications During Emergencies (ARES)

 The Emergency Management Staff

 Disaster Preparedness and Planning for Individuals & Families

 Emergency Public Information

 Lowndes County Emergency Planning Committee

LEPC Reporting Forms

 Disaster Preparedness and Planning for Business and Industry

How to Help Victims of Disasters

SARA Title III General Reporting Information

 Mitigation Measures

Emergency Operations

 Lowndes County's National Weather Service Forecast


Homeland Security


Mission Statement:

To minimize the effects of hazards and disasters upon the population and property of the Lowndes County area through an all-hazards integrated emergency management approach which includes the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. 


The staff at the Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency works for you. Our offices are located in the basement of Lowndes County Courthouse, 515 2nd Ave N, Columbus, Mississippi 39701. All of our staff members can be reached by calling (662) 329-5110, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., excluding City of Columbus holidays. Our fax number is (662) 329-5111.

  • Cindy Lawrence, Director, PIO
  • Fire Service Administrator, Sammy Fondren
  • Administrative Assistant: Shelley Swails




The Lowndes County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) was created to complying with the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA Title III.  SARA Title III, also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), mandates that any facility owned or operated by government, business, or industry which uses, stores, manufactures, or transports one or more of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) designated Extremely Hazardous Substances in amounts exceeding the Threshold Planning Quantity established by EPA, must report specific chemical inventory information to the State of Mississippi, local emergency planning committee, and the Fire Department in the facility's jurisdiction. Also, they must submit an emergency plan, which details the procedures, they are to take in the event that the chemicals present at their facility is released into the environment. The Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency is the Focal Point and repository for all SARA Title III information within Lowndes County.


The objectives of the Lowndes County LEPC are to:

  • Identify potential hazards in Lowndes County. Recently, the role of the has expanded to encompass a more all-hazards approach to emergency planning.
  • Compare our present capabilities for response to hazards that are identified.
  • Develop mutual cooperation between industry and government in pre-planning for response to all potential hazards.
  • Coordinate the development, review, revision, and exercising specific elements of the Lowndes County Emergency Operations Plan.
  • Conduct an on-going review program to establish additional requirements to insure a safe and adequate response to hazardous material accidents or incidents.
  • Improve the public health and safety in the community.


The above objectives are met through established subcommittees, in accordance with the by-laws of the organization. There are several subcommittees. Their objectives follow:

Planning and Hazards Analysis Subcommittee Objectives

  • Maintain an Emergency Operations Plan to comply with federal and state requirements.
  • Assist in standardizing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all response and support units in Lowndes County.
  • Work with Training and Exercise Subcommittee to schedule exercises that will test the Emergency Operations Plan and the Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Coordinate the development, annual review and revision of the sections of the Emergency Operations Plan that concern hazardous materials with the Emergency Management Agency so they can be included in revisions to the Emergency Operations Plan.
  • Review facility Emergency Response Plans (ERPs).
  • Develop a comprehensive inventory of hazardous materials that are generated, stored, or transported within Lowndes County by:
    • Examining previous hazardous material incident reports.
    • Review data in Tier II Reports submitted by facilities.
    • Determine if other facilities have extremely hazardous substances and other hazardous materials on site and analyze that data.
    • Conducting surveys of major transportation routes.

Community Awareness Subcommittee Objectives

  • Develop strategies for providing information to the public concerning awareness of hazardous materials and other hazards in their community and how the community is prepared to respond in a coordinated manner to protect lives and property.
  • Develop a community outreach program to inform and educated the public about hazardous materials and other emergencies. These outreach programs should include establishing speakers bureaus; developing brochures, pamphlets, and leaflets; providing information for newspaper articles, radio and TV talk shows, etc.
  • Establish a working relationship with all forms of public media to assist in public awareness.
  • Work closely with the local Community Awareness Committee to develop a public awareness campaign through newsletter, facility tours, or other means of communication with the community.
  • Prepare announcements of all scheduled meetings and provide to news media.

Training and Exercise Subcommittee Objectives

  • Evaluate existing emergency response capabilities for all potential hazards identified by the "Planning and Hazard Analysis Subcommittee."
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of existing capabilities to respond to all potential hazards.
  • Identify community assets and expertise available to assist during hazardous material incidents.
  • Provide a review of the capability assessment to the "Planning and Hazard Subcommittee" for use in revising the all-hazards Emergency Operations Plan.
  • Identify training requirements for first responders, hazardous material response team, support personnel, industry, and the public.
  • Identify sources of training that will meet requirements.
  • Work with other Agencies/Committees who can assist in the development and implementation of required training.
  • Develop and implement a training schedule and revise once a year.
  • Identify potential funding sources for required training.
  • Sponsor an exercise program to improve the response and recovery capabilities of emergency responders and to build working relationships with and among private industry and agencies.


The meetings of the LOWNDES COUNTY LEPC are open to the public. If you wish to attend any meetings of the LOWNDES COUNTY LEPC, please contact the Emergency Management office for the location and time. The LOWNDES COUNTY LEPC Full Committee and Executive Committee meet concurrently six times a year. Membership of the LOWNDES COUNTY LEPC is comprised of representatives from local response agencies, medical facilities, health and human services agencies, the media, and industries. The Executive Committee of the LOWNDES COUNTY LEPC consists of the Chairman, Vice-Chairperson, Subcommittee Chairpersons, and emergency response organization liaisons and local industries.


Businesses or industries that store, manufacture, or transport hazardous substances and materials fall under the reporting requirements of SARA Title III (Public Law 99-499), also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act (EPRCA). The Environmental Protection Agency is the enforcement arm for this legislation, and as such, has the authority to inflict fines and penalties upon businesses and industries for non-compliance. The Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency is the repository for all SARA Title III information reported by businesses and industries in the Lowndes County area. According to the legislation, there are specific documents which businesses and industries must complete. Following is a brief overview of the legislation, and the information, which the Lowndes County Emergency Planning Committee requires businesses and industries to submit:


SECTION 302, Paragraph (c):

This provision in the law requires a facility to notify the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) by letter if it has one or more extremely hazardous substance (s) above the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ). Each facility, which meets this specification, must notify the SERC and the LEPC that their facility is subject to the requirements of Section 302. In Lowndes County, the LEPC is the Lowndes County Local Emergency Planning Committee.

SECTION 303, Paragraph (c):

The facilities, which are subject to the requirements of Section 302, Paragraph (c), must submit or have on file at the LEPC a current Emergency Response Plan (ERP). This ERP must be reviewed annually to ensure the accuracy of the plan.

SECTION 303, Paragraph (d):

A letter designating a Facility Emergency Coordinator who will participate in the planning process is required. This information may be included in the letter required by Section 302, Paragraph (c).

SECTION 304, Paragraph (b):

This provision in the law requires that community officials be immediately notified if a release of an Extremely Hazardous Substance or a CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) hazardous substance occurs outside the site boundary and would include any material released to the air, soil, or off the property. Sites need to report only if the released amount is equal to or in excess of the reportable quantity. The reportable quantity specifications are found in the EPA's publication: Title III Lists of Lists. If you spill any amount of an EHS or a CERCLA chemical, please let us know. We are willing to assist you in any way possible.


Subtitle B applies to any hazardous chemical for which your facility is required to prepare or have available a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

SECTION 311, Paragraph (a):

The Lowndes County Emergency Planning Committee has opted to require the submission of a list of Hazardous Chemicals in lieu of Material Safety Data Sheets. One comprehensive form has been developed for you to list your facility's Extremely Hazardous Substances as well as your facility's Other Hazardous Substances. On the form, you are to indicate if the substance is an EHS or a CERCLA chemical. This information may be found in the Title III Lists of Lists, published by the EPA. If your facility has on hand more than the reportable quantity of an Extremely Hazardous Substance or a CERCLA chemical, please note the reportable quantity on the form. If there is a release of an Extremely Hazardous Substance or a CERCLA chemical at your facility, you can then refer to one list which will assist you in determining when the proper emergency notifications need to be made.
Some similar materials, which may have multiple Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers, or none at all, may be consolidated into one entry if the Health and Physical Hazards are identical. An example of this is paint. You may have several hundred gallons from different manufacturers in various size containers. All quantities must be reported in pounds, using the rule of thumb: 8 pounds = 1 gallon.

SECTION 312, Paragraph (a):

The Tier II Form
The Tier II Form must be used for reporting extremely hazardous substances and other hazardous substances which meet the following criteria:

  • Extremely Hazardous Substances: Your facility must report if you have one or more extremely hazardous substance (s) at or above the threshold planning quantity or 500 pounds, whichever quantity is the least.
  • Other Hazardous Substances: Your facility must report if you have one or more other hazardous substance(s) equal to or in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Link to the LEPC Forms for Tier II and the EPA's List of list
  • The Lowndes County LEPC is now accepting electronic submittal of the Tier II forms using the Tier 2 Submit program from the EPA's website


Businesses and industries which manufacture, store, or transport Extremely Hazardous Substances identified in the US Environmental Protection Agency's Title III List of Lists, or otherwise meets the requirements stipulated under Section 312, Paragraph (a), are required to submit a Tier II Report by March 1 of each year.
Businesses and industries which exceed the established limits set by EPA on the manufacturing, storing, or transporting of Extremely Hazardous Substances are also required to submit a Uniform Emergency Response Plan.
These reports must be submitted to the Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency, the Fire Department having jurisdiction of your business or industry, and to the Mississippi Emergency Response Commission.
For more information concerning these requirements, please contact the Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency at (662) 329-5110.


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Copyright 2008 Tim Groman
Last modified: 07/05/09