Due on March 1, the Tier I or Tier II Annual Inventory Report for hazardous chemicals may be, for many, the first major environmental report to compile and submit this year.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) requires facilities that store hazardous chemicals in certain quantities to share information with local and state emergency planning committees and fire departments. The information shared ensures that emergency personnel know what chemicals may be present if they come on site during a natural disaster, chemical release, fire, or other emergency at or around the facility.
The required information must be submitted to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), and the fire department that’s jurisdiction includes the facility.
Many states impose unique requirements for inventory reporting under EPCRA. See your state’s Tier II reporting requirements and submission details on EPA’s website.
Tier I and Tier II Reportable Chemicals
What chemicals require Tier I or Tier II reporting under EPCRA (40 CFR 370)?
The Tier I and II reporting requirement applies to every chemical covered by OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard or HCS. If the HCS requires employers to maintain an SDS for the chemical, reporting is required if the facility had more than the threshold quantity on site during the reporting year.
The HCS requires employers to maintain a Safety Data Sheet for any “hazardous chemical,” that employees may be exposed to. Hazardous chemical is defined as:
“any chemical which is classified as a physical or health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified.”
—OSHA Hazard Communication Standard [29 CFR 1910.1200(c)]
“Physical hazards” covered by the HCS include flammable liquids, aerosols, gases, and solids; oxidizers and organic peroxides; pyrophoric liquids and solids; corrosives; and gases under pressure, and more.
“Health hazard” refers to chemicals that, for example, are acutely toxic, corrode or irritate skin, cause eye irritation or damage, are carcinogens, or pose an aspiration (breathing) hazard.
[29 CFR 1910.1200, Appendix A and B]
These hazard criteria evolve over time as OSHA updates the HCS, including revisions that incorporate changing global standards (i.e., “GHS”). Facilities typically receive a Safety Data Sheet or SDS with incoming shipments of a hazardous chemicals.
10,000 pounds is the reporting threshold for most chemicals covered by the Tier I or Tier II inventory reporting requirement.
For Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS), reporting is required if the amount on site at any one time exceeds:
- 500 pounds; or
- The chemical's Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ)—whichever is lower.
Extremely Hazardous Substances and their respective Threshold Planning Quantities are listed in 40 CFR 355, Appendices A and B.
Higher reporting thresholds apply to gasoline and diesel fuel at retail gas stations [40 CFR 370.10].
Requests from Your LEPC, SERC, or Fire Department
A facility must also report chemical information when the local or state emergency planning authority (LEPC or SERC) or fire department requests information about one or more chemicals on site.
A facility must submit either of the following if requested by their LEPC:
- A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for any hazardous chemical on site; or
- Tier II information for any hazardous chemical on site.
For these requests, “the threshold level for responding…is zero.”
[40 CFR 370.10(b)]
Your State’s Rules May Be Different
States may impose unique or additional inventory reporting rules, including some that go above and beyond what US EPA requires from covered facilities. State-level variations on the Tier I or Tier II inventory reporting rules include one or more (or many) states that:
- Assess a fee for filing the report
- Require reporting for a wider range of chemicals
- Lower the reporting thresholds for some chemicals
- Require submission of the (more detailed) Tier II Form
- Allow certain industries to calculate on site quantities differently,
Knowing the state's unique EPCRA reporting rules, if there are any, will help facilities to avoid costly errors and making corrections to their reporting after the fact.
If You Don’t Report
The Tier I or II inventory report is essential to protect the health and safety of the public and the emergency responders who may be on site during a dangerous, disorienting time.
In the event of a fire, explosion, gas release, or major spill, responders use information about the chemicals on site to decide what protective equipment to use, what firefighting or containment methods will be effective, and even how fast and how far to evacuate local populations.
When an emergency scenario occurs—whether that’s a chemical release, hurricane, flood, wildfire--reporting from the regulated community helps to keep emergency responders safe and gives them a better chance at success.
Section 326(a)(1)(A) of the Right-To-Know Act empowers members of the community to file a “citizen suit” against the owner/operator of any facility that does not file a Tier I or Tier II Inventory Report for any year that a report is required, or provides incomplete information. Citizens can also sue US EPA for failure to meet responsibilities like sharing information with the public or responding to petitions.
The civil penalty for violations of EPCRA, including the Tier I and Tier II reporting regulations, recently increased to $67,544 per day, per violation. US EPA assesses penalties for failure to report, leaving a covered chemical off of the report, or submitting incomplete information to local emergency responders.
Other March Reporting Deadlines
Sharing information about chemical inventories is one of many environmental reporting requirements for facilities that store or use hazardous chemicals, substances, and/or wastes.
During even-numbered years (e.g., 2024), March 1 is the due date for both EPCRA chemical inventory reports and the hazardous waste Biennial Report required from large quantity generators under RCRA. Some RCRA-authorized states impose requirements that are stricter than the Federal RCRA standards, including additional reporting burdens.
If your state requires annual hazardous waste reporting, there’s a good chance the annual filing deadline is March 1. Texas requires annual reporting from hazardous and industrial waste generators that meet minimum criteria, for example, and March 1 is the deadline for covered facilities to submit their annual summary report via the State of Texas Environmental Electronic Reporting System (STEERS).
California requires an annual report from hazardous waste TSDFs, also due March 1.
Reporting on last year’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is due by March 31 from the roughly 8,000 facilities covered under the Clean Air Act Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). EPA recently launched an updated GHG reporting “Applicability Tool” to help facilities determine if they are required to report emissions under the rule.
Face-to-Face RCRA Training for 2023
If your site generates and stores hazardous waste, get your required training at the RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Workshop trusted nationwide! US EPA requires annual training for hazardous waste personnel in 40 CFR 262.17.
Lion's two-day workshop covers what generators need to know to properly manage hazardous waste from cradle-to-grave, including waste ID, on site management standards, meeting Land Disposal Restrictions (LDRs), and using the Hazardous Waste Manifest to document off-site shipments.
Get the course details, check out the Course Agenda, and sign up or RCRA training here.