Tax accountants are not the only professionals who are busy this time of year. For EHS professionals, the new calendar year brings with it the job of submitting various reports to the EPA or state agencies.
Many of these reports are impacted by the types and amounts of substances present at their facility as well as where they may have come from and where they went during the previous year. A few of the most significant EPA reporting obligations for the first half of the year are summarized below.
EPCRA Hazardous Chemical Inventory Report
Regulatory Requirement: 40 CFR 370
Report Deadline: March 1
Facilities subject to OSHA’s hazard communication requirement (29 CFR 1910.1200) to prepare or have Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for hazardous chemicals may have to prepare a report for certain hazardous chemicals present at the site.
This Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) report must include every hazardous chemical that was present at the site above a specific amount at any time during the previous year.
For most hazardous chemicals, the reporting threshold is 10,000 pounds or more. However, if the hazardous chemical is listed as an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) at 40 CFR 355, Appendix A, the reporting threshold is the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ) listed in Appendix A for that substance.
For example, a facility would need to have 10,000 pounds or more of acetone, an OSHA flammable liquid, to include it in their hazardous chemical inventory report. However, the facility would only have to have 500 pounds or more of acrolein, listed at 40 CFR 355, Appendix A, to include it in their annual report.
The rule does allow facilities to consolidate information about hazardous chemicals with the same hazards by using the Tier I form of the report. However, if the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), or local fire department requires chemical -specific information, the facility must prepare the report using the Tier II form.
Information that the facility will need to include in their inventory report include:
- Average daily quantity on site
- Maximum daily quantity on site
- Location(s) within the site
- Storage types
While the EHS professional may be spending significant time in the first couple of months to prepare their site’s report, this program really requires an effective constituents management system to daily track their facility’s hazardous chemicals.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Report
Regulatory Requirement: 40 CFR 98
Report Deadline: March 31
On an annual basis, thirty-four stationary source categories, large combustion facilities, and greenhouse gas suppliers may have to submit information electronically to EPA regarding their greenhouse gas emissions during the previous calendar year.
Twenty-one source categories must report annually, regardless the actual amount of GHG emissions. However, most covered sources must exceed a minimum carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2
e) threshold of 25,000 metric tons or more of the covered greenhouse gases.
The EPA maintains a list of covered greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and various hydrofluorocarbons. Each listed substance is assigned a global warning potential (GWP). A substance’s CO2
e is determined by multiplying the actual emissions by the assigned GWP.
Methane, for example, has a GWP of 25. So, 1,000 metric tons of methane emissions would be the CO2
e of 25,000.
Facilities must use the e-GGRT reporting tool in EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX). Information that the facility will need to include in their GHG emission report include:
EPA’s e-GGRT reporting website
- Facility-specific information
- Aggregate annual CO2e emissions
- Annual GHG emissions from each source
What About Hazardous Waste Reporting?
Under the Federal rules, large quantity generators must submit a report on their hazardous waste generation and management by March 1 biennially (i.e., once every two years) [40 CFR 262.41]. This report is due in even-numbered years.
So, the Federal report is not due until March 1, 2022.
That said, some states may require annual reporting, so generators should review their state’s hazardous waste recordkeeping and reporting rules. Texas, Kentucky, Maine, and Delaware are among the states that require annual hazardous waste reports.
More EPA Reports Due Later in 2021
Once EHS professionals catch their breath in April, they will turn their attention to reporting due in the second half of the year. This includes the toxic chemical release inventory reporting (TRI/Form R/SARA 313) in 40 CFR 372. Plus, small quantity generators in states that have adopted the EPA’s Generator Improvement Rule changes will be required to submit their re-notification by September 1, 2021.
Many of these reporting requirements include many levels of applicability determination, data element collection and calculation, and report preparation. In addition, many of the reports must be submitted electronically, which may require creating user accounts and familiarization with the software. EHS professionals will need to start early in preparing their facility’s reports.
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