On July 1, the heat is on for many facilities in the US—and not just because the temperature is rising.
July 1 is also when facilities must submit the annual toxic chemical reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
The Toxic Chemical Release Reporting rule, at 40 CFR 372, is often known by a couple of monikers including TRI reporting, SARA 313 reporting, and Form R reporting
(after the name of the original paper report form).
While not every facility must comply with these reporting requirements, those that do must be prepared to provide information about the disposition of chemical substances from their facilities during the calendar year.
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The TRI reports apply to specific facilities (identified by SIC or NAICS Code) and Federal facilities that either manufacture, process, or otherwise handle one or more listed toxic chemicals above specified threshold during the previous calendar year
(i.e., 2018 for the July 1, 2019 reports).
The Toxic Release Inventory is meant to account for the various ways that toxic chemicals "enter the environment," including amounts released to the air or water and those treated, disposed of, or recycled on site or sent away form of treatment, disposal, or recycling.
EPCRA TRI Reporting by SIC Code
(40 CFR 372.23(a))
Who Must Submit Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Reports?
||Except 1011, 1081, and 1094
|4911, 4931, and 4939
||Limited to facilities that combust coal and/or oil for the purpose of generating power for distribution in commerce
||Limited to facilities regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste rules (42 USC 6321, et seq.)
||Limited to facilities primarily engaged in solvent recovery services on a contract or fee basis
What Goes in a TRI Report?
For each toxic chemical that met the reporting threshold, facilities must submit to the EPA the quantities released to the various environmental vectors during the previous calendar year. This includes releases that are intentional (permitted) and unintentional (accidental).
TRI reporting categories include:
- Releases to the ambient air (stack sources and fugitive emissions)
- Discharges to surface waters (e.g., NPDES discharges)
- Quantities shipped offsite as waste
Facilities can use data from existing monitoring obligations. However, they do not have to conduct special monitoring beyond what is already required under other regulatory programs
. The law allows facilities to make reasonable estimates based on best available data. In fact, the EPA has created numerous guidance documents on estimating releases for the Form R reporting for various processes and activities. These documents are available at EPA’s TRI website.
In addition to reporting releases, facilities must report their efforts towards pollution prevention.
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EPCRA E-reporting Required as of 2014
While the program may still be known by the name of the original reporting form, Form R, the reports must be submitted to the EPA electronically.
TRI reporting is done through the EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) system
[https://cdx.epa.gov]. In order to submit through CDX, each person involved in the report preparation and submission will need to establish their own CDX account, as there are security requirements for permissions and passwords. This may take a day or so to establish, so if a facility is submitting Form R reports for the first time, be sure to build that into the preparation time.
5 Tips for EPCRA Reporting
Some general tips for successfully completing these chemical reports:
1. Start early.
In addition to setting up the facility and user CDX accounts, you should build plenty of time to review existing data from the previous year and prepare the entries.
2. Assemble and review existing monitoring data.
Identify what information can be used to calculate releases as well as gaps in the data for which estimations will be necessary.
3. Review Agency guidance.
When estimations are required, review the EPA’s guidance. There may still be some calculations that the facility must become familiar with, which is why it is important to start the process as early as possible.
4. Don’t hesitate to seek assistance.
This may be through company staff at the facility or other location, or consultants. TRI reports are available to the public, so you want to be sure that they are accurate and complete.
One important point: If individuals who assist you are going to be responsible for inputting data into the report, they must have CDX accounts and be given permission by the facility to do so.
5. Plan for next year.
There are several things to consider for the eventuality of next year’s TRI reporting. First is evaluate existing pollution prevention plans. Are there areas the facility can improve which could impact the quantity of releases or even the necessity for future reports?
Review your chemical inventory against your processes. Since the standard is chemical specific, if there are ways to eliminate or substitute a listed chemical for one that is not subject to the reporting, that would be one less Form R report to submit.
RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Training Near You
Are you ready for compliance with EPA’s major “Generator Improvements”? One by one, states have started adopting the new hazardous waste standards. The new rules not only re-organized all the RCRA regulations, they also impact episodic generation, satellite areas, container labels, contingency planning, EPA notifications, and more.
If your state has not adopted stricter contingency planning rules or new container label standards yet—they will soon.
Learn what’s new for facilities large and small at the two-day workshop that’s considered the gold standard
in hazardous waste management training.