Month: February 2013
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) established the requirements for Federal, state and local governments, Indian Tribes, and industry regarding reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. EPCRA was passed in response to concerns regarding environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals. These concerns were triggered by the disaster in Bhopal, India caused by the accidental release of methyl isocyanate. Requirements for the preparation and submittal of Tier II Reports were established more than 20 years ago in response to these types of chemical release accidents. Despite the time since the passage of these regulations, we have seen that some facilities are not submitting the Tier II reports in accordance with the deadline, and in some cases are simply failing to submit the reports.
Facilities covered by EPCRA requirements must submit an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), and the local fire department annually. Facilities provide either a Tier I or Tier II Form although most States require the Tier II Form. Some states and counties have requirements in addition to the federal Tier II requirements.
The EPCRA Tier II Form submittal is due on March 1, 2013. The Tier II Form is required for chemicals that are stored at your facility above specific weight thresholds that are not exempted under the EPCRA regulations. The weight threshold varies for extremely hazardous substances (EHS) and is set at 10,000 pounds for other chemicals stored at your facility.
Tier II Forms must report the required information for each hazardous chemical present at your facility in quantities equal to or greater than established threshold amounts (discussed below), unless the chemicals are excluded. Hazardous chemicals are any substance for which your facility must maintain a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) under OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (described at 29 CFR 1910.1200).
Section 311(e) of EPCRA excludes a number of substances. The OSHA regulations at Section 1910.1200(b) also stipulates various exemptions from the requirement for maintaining an MSDS for certain chemicals or materials. Minimum thresholds have been established for Tier II reporting under EPCRA Section 312. These thresholds are as follows:
- For Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHSs) – the reporting threshold is 500 pounds or the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ), whichever is lower. The current list of EHS chemicals and their TPQs is maintained at 40 CFR Part 355.
- For gasoline (all grades combined) at a retail gas station, the threshold level is 75,000 gallons, if the tank(s) was stored entirely underground and was in compliance at all times during the preceding calendar year with all applicable Underground Storage Tank (UST) requirements.
- For diesel fuel (all grades combined) at a retail gas station, the threshold level is 100,000 gallons, if the tank(s) was stored entirely underground and the tank(s) was in compliance at all times during the preceding calendar year with all applicable UST requirements.
- For all other hazardous chemicals for which facilities are required to have or prepare an MSDS, the minimum reporting threshold is 10,000 pounds.
Your facility needs to report hazardous chemicals that were present at your facility at any time during the previous calendar year at levels that equal or exceed these thresholds. The report covers the 2012 calendar year, beginning January 1 and ending December 31. For each chemical that your facility has listed, identify all the physical and health hazard boxes that apply. These hazard categories are defined in 40 CFR 370.2. The two health hazard categories and three physical hazard categories are a consolidation of the hazard categories defined in the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200.
For each chemical that is reported, the Tier II form asks for specific information such as the maximum amount stored onsite, average daily amount stored onsite, number of days present onsite, and storage codes and storage location information (for non-confidential chemicals). You may elect to withhold location information on a specific chemical from disclosure to the public. The Tier II instructions provide details for submittal of confidential information. The owner or operator or the officially designated representative of the owner or operator must certify that all information included in the Tier II submission is true, accurate, and complete. An original signature is required on the submission.
To obtain Tier II reporting procedures and requirements for your state, please click on the state where your facility is located on EPA’s website.
The completed Tier II form(s) must be submitted to each of the following organizations: SERC, LEPC, and the fire department with jurisdiction over your facility. If you have any questions about EPCRA Tier II reporting requirements and whether your facility may be subject to these regulations, please contact Paul Tomiczek III, REM, P.E. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-365-2324. More information on EPCRA Tier II Reporting obligations and instructions for completing the Tier II report are provided here.