Today is January 9th. The submission due date of March 1st for EPCRA Tier II reporting is approaching fast! Let’s have a refresher on Emergency Planing Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Tier II reporting requirements. Here is what we are going to talk about on this article:
- EPCRA History
- EPCRA Section 312 – Tier II Reporting Requirements
- Lead-Acid Battery Reporting
- Reporting Tips
- Most common findings and issues regarding EPCRA Section 312
EPCRA History You might have heard the same regulation as SARA Title III, Right-to-know report, chemical inventory reporting or EPCRA Section 312. They all refer to the same regulation. To find out about the history of EPCRA, check out these links:
EPCRA was passed by the Congress in 1986 two (2) years after an industrial disaster occurred in Bhopal, India. Check out this video to find out more about this disaster:
EPCRA Section 312 – Tier II Reporting Requirements
These requirements have been codified under 40 CFR 370. Let’s take a look at EPCRA Tier II requirements: In a nutshell, according to these requirements, if you stored:
1- Any hazardous chemical (per OSHA Hazard Communication standard) in the quantity of 10,000 lbs or more (no list, all OSHA hazardous chemicals required to have an SDS) 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 from January 1st until December 31st, 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
* Please refer to the regulation for retail gas station requirements regarding diesel fuel and gasoline at retail gas stations.
Check out under the resources below to find out more about Tier II reporting requirements.
Lead-acid Battery Reporting
One of the most widely missed reporting requirements is reporting the lead-acid batteries. These batteries could be found in electric industrial trucks such as forklifts, and other industrial or construction vehicles.
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 or not it exceeded the reporting threshold.
To calculate the quantity of the sulfuric acid, you can either:
– Check the 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 could weigh about 2500-3000 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). EPCRA section 325 allows for civil and administrative penalties ranging from up to $21,916 – $164,3671 per violation per day when facilities fail to comply with the requirements.
There you have the Tier II reporting in a nut shell. There are so many 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 legal advice. Always refer to the most current regulation and consult with your attorney for any legal advice.
Based on my nationwide experience and observations, my goal is just to bring your attention to this very important regulation. Here is my advice:
Make sure you understand fully how to report and what to report to prevent any miscalculations or wrong reporting. If you choose to do the reporting on your own, great, just make sure you fully are comfortable with EPCRA Section 312 in its entirety. For a great refresher, check out our two (2) hour live webinar:
- Check with your state to find out the state specific reporting requirements
- Check on the changes for the reporting year 2017
- Identify your SERC, LEPC and Local Fire Department and confirm with each entity especially with the LEPCs to ensure that they are the right place to submit your report
- Ensure that you have an adequate chemical inventory
- Ensure that you accurately calculate the chemical quantities
- Ensure that you aggregate the EHS present at your facility
- Make sure that the Tier II report is signed by your responsible official (i.e. plant manager, president, director, etc.)
- The report must be submitted by March 1st
- Keep record of your submissions to all three authorities. If you mail it, send it certified or with trackable shipping service
- Keep evidence of submission of the report by March 1st
Most common findings and issues regarding EPCRA Section 312 that I observed
- Lead-acid batteries in the electric forklifts or other industrial equipment are not reported
- Extremely hazardous substances are not aggregated to identify the final adequate reportable quantity
- The proper Tier II software is not used.
- “We stored the chemicals but we didn’t used them at all, so they’re not reportable”. The Tier II report is based on storing hazardous chemical or extremely hazardous substances on site, it’s not based on usage.
- The Tier II report is submitted too late.
- The Tier II report has not been sent to all three (3) authorities. Usually, LEPC or the local fire department submissions are missing.
- The facility claims that they’ve submitted the Tier II report to all three (3) authorities, however, there is no evidence of submission.
- Not following the requirements of EPCRA Section 302: If you have an EHS at your site at quantity more than the TPQ of that EHS, then, EPCRA Section 302 requirements would also apply. For example, one times submission of the EHS, mandatory meetings at the LEPC, etc. Please refer to EPCRA Section 302 requirements for further details.
The resources below should also help greatly:
If you need help, or prefer a third set of eyes to take a look at your chemical storage and applicable Tier II reporting requirements to your facility, call or email us. We would be happy to do it for you. We have been reporting EPCRA Tier II and TRI reports for our nationwide clients since 2008. Just let us know.
Thanks for reading!
GreenUp Consultants, LLC – GreenUp Academy, LLC
Owner/ Principal Consultant
Exemplar Global certified Lead Auditor:
EMS – OHSAS – EHS Regulatory Compliance
QMS – e-Stewards/R2/RIOS Lead Auditor