Each new calendar year begins a new cycle of EPA Federal and State reporting requirements. EH&S personnel at companies that manufacture, process, use, or dispose of hazardous chemicals must be aware of the reporting deadlines and requirements that apply to their facilities. The first report many facilities must compile and submit is the Tier I or Tier II Annual Inventory Report, required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and due by March 1.
Hazardous Chemical Inventory Reporting
Under EPCRA, companies that have hazardous chemicals on site in amounts greater than the published trigger quantities must report certain information to local emergency authorities. These inventory reports may be submitted using either the Tier I or Tier II form, under the regulatory requirements codified at 40 CFR Part 370.
What Hazardous Chemicals Must Be Reported
OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), found at 29 CFR 1200.1900, requires employers to keep a Safety Data Sheet on file for any hazardous chemical to which their employees are, or may be, exposed in the workplace. The EPA refers to this Standard in its inventory reporting rules. EPA states that if a facility has more than a certain amount of any chemical for which OSHA requires a Safety Data Sheet, then the facility must report this to its community.
The quantities that trigger 40 CFR 370 reporting are for:
Any hazardous chemical [see 29 CFR 1910.1200 for OSHA's definition], an amount greater than 10,000 pounds present at any one time during the reporting year;
Extremely hazardous substances [listed in 40 CFR 355, Appendix A], an amount greater than 500 pounds or the substance’s “threshold planning quantity,” whichever is lower, present at any one time during the reporting year.
Submitting Annual Inventory Reports
Facilities that hit the applicable trigger quantities must submit either the Tier I or the Tier II report to their Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), and local fire department. Federal regulations allow for either form to be used; however, IF the LEPC, SERC, or fire department requests a Tier II for a specific chemical, the facility must submit the Tier II report.
Most states now require the Tier II report to be submitted electronically. EPA has created the “Tier 2 eSubmit” software package to aid facilities in completing and tracking the form.
Note: The version of Tier2 eSubmit now on EPA’s website has been updated to reflect the new Tier II form that is required beginning with Reporting Year 2013, i.e., for reports being submitted in 2014.
Regardless of which form you are using, reports for the 2013 calendar year are due March 1, 2014.
Reporting under EPCRA is essential for businesses that handle hazardous chemicals. In the event of a release or an incident, it is crucial that first responders have the information needed to properly respond without putting themselves in undue danger. Failure to report under EPCRA can result in civil penalties ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 per day, per violation and criminal penalties, including up to a 5-year prison sentence.
In addition to these EPA penalties, EPCRA Section 326 allows for citizens to initiate civil action against owners or operators of a facility that fails to report. In other words, if you put the community in danger by not disclosing the chemicals at your facility, the community can seek damages.
All EHS professionals who work with environmentally hazardous chemicals are expected to know which rules apply to their operations. Discover what you must report, monitor, and keep on file to comply with EPA’s major programs, including EPCRA, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, TSCA, FIFRA, and more, at Lion’s nationwide Complete Environmental Regulations Workshops.