ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – A new EPA grant aims to identify risks of dangerous chemicals, as well as raise awareness of what might be stored in your neighborhood.
The $30,000 grant to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) will go towards audits for facilities that house and process 500-20,000 lbs. of regulated chemicals. EPA regional spokesman Patrick Bustos says facilities already file environmental reports, but the audits will seek out mistakes or dishonesty in those reports.
Bustos says the grant will also start up a dialogue between local emergency planning committees and facilities to raise awareness of potential dangers.
“The real key is then to work with the local emergency planning committees if they find any of these facilities to say ‘Hey, there’s this particular facility that handles these particular chemicals in your community, are you guys working together in terms of knowing what’s in your community?'” he says.
Bustos says SEMA is taking a proactive approach by encouraging awareness and safety before a problem arises. He says the local committees must be aware of the chemicals present so that, in the case of a disaster, they can respond appropriately.
Bustos says one of the major chemical concerns in Missouri is anhydrous ammonia, which is used in fertilizers. If people come into contact with large amounts of the chemical, it can cause blindness, burns, lung damage and death.
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