Today, I would like to bring your attention to one of the most widely missed environmental regulations in the US: EPCRA Tier II reporting for electric forklift battery acid.
You might have heard the same regulation as SARA Title III, Right-to-know report or EPCRA Section 312. They all refer to the same regulation.
According to these requirements, if you stored:
1- Any hazardous chemical (per OSHA Hazcom standard) at the quantity of 10,000 lbs or more (no list, all
OSHA hazardous chemicals required to have an MSDS) or
2- Any Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS – listed under 40 CFR 355 Appendices A & B) in the quantity of 500 lbs or threshold planning quantity (TPQ- see the EPA Consolidated List of Lists, whichever is less, at any one time at your site, you have to report this chemical the following year by March 1st to the:
1- State Emergency Response Commission (SERC),
2- Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and
3- Local Fire Department
Now, the battery acid (sulfuric acid) in the electric forklift batteries is an EHS, and most importantly, whenever there is an EHS stored on-site, it has to be aggregated to see whether it exceeded the reporting threshold.
To calculate the quantity of the sulfuric acid, you can either:
– Check the MSDS or SDS for the batteries,
– Call the manufacturer or
– As a rule of thumb, (I’ve learned this at an EPA training), you can take about 20% of the weight of the battery and calculate the amount of sulfuric acid
Remember to add up all other sulfuric acid that you stored during the previous calendar year at your site, to find the total quantity. Usually, one electric forklift battery weighs about 2000-3000 lbs. so, even if you have just one forklift, you might be required to report.
Over reporting is not an issue, however, under reporting or not reporting at all is a violation of a Federal Act (EPCRA). Civil and administrative penalties can range up to $10,000 to $75,000 according to the EPA, not to mention there might be potential criminal penalties.
Check out this link for additional reading, a fact-sheet by the EPA Region 4 regarding Lead-acid Batteries and EPCRA Reporting: http://www.epa.gov/region4/air/epcra/r4_epcra_tier2reportleadacidbattery.pdf.
There you have the Tier II reporting in a nut shell. There are other details, of course, to keep in mind. Everything you read above is my interpretation of the associated regulation. Please do not take this article as a legal advice. Always refer to the most current regulation, or consult with your attorney for any legal advice.
Based on my nationwide experience and observations, my goal was just to
bring your attention to this very important regulation.
See you on the road;)