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Tier II Reporting: What You Need to Know This Reporting Season

Tier II reports, i.e. Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory forms, are forms businesses with hazardous chemicals need to submit each year. These reports help communities plan and respond to emergencies and help various state and local agencies understand the risks posed by materials in facilities. Failing to comply with Tier II requirements can be costly to your organization, which is why it’s important to carefully review your facility and determine if you need to submit a report. With the March 1st reporting deadline fast approaching, this post will cover what Tier II reporting is and how to determine if you need to submit a form this reporting season.

Did You Get a Tier II Notification? What is Tier II?

Tier II is the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) Section 312 Tier II Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the purpose of the reporting is “to provide state and local officials as well as the public with specific information on potential hazards.” More importantly, this reporting is provided to local emergency responders so they understand potential hazards they may face at a facility, such as a fire.

One of the most common questions regarding Tier II is “what do I need to report?” Under EPCRA, facilities must report if they have either:

  1. Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) present at any one time over the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ) or;
  2. Any hazardous chemical present at any one time in quantities of 10,000 pounds or more.

The EPA has a list of extremely hazardous substances and what the threshold planning quantity is for each substance. This list includes substances like chlorine gas, which could be found at water treatment plants, or sulfuric acid, which could be found at facilities with large numbers of lead-acid batteries.

Many facilities may not have EHS present, but may have hazardous substances present in quantities greater than 10,000 pounds. For the purposes of EPCRA reporting, a substance or material is considered hazardous if it has a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and is present in large quantities, whether it is routinely at a facility or only present at the facility for one day. Examples include diesel fuel in an underground or aboveground storage tank, lead-acid batteries, or even paper (like at a newspaper printing facility), or sand (like at a well drilling company).

Do I Need to Report Under Tier II?

So how do you determine if you need to report under Tier II? The first step is to review purchasing requests over the past year. If you purchased anything in quantities at 10,000 pounds or greater at a time and it has a MSDS or SDS, you will have to report. 

While reviewing purchasing requests catches the obvious items, it may not catch times when you have some inventory on hand, but order less than 10,000 pounds at a time. For example, if you typically maintain three totes of ethylene glycol (250 gallons each), but when one is empty you order four more totes, you will have six full totes once the order arrives. This will bring you to over 10,000 pounds (ethylene glycol is approximately 9.47 pounds per gallon) when the order is received. Or perhaps you only use the substances seasonally and a well driller orders three pallets of bentonite pellets every spring to be used throughout the year. If the well driller still has two pallets in stock from last year, it would put the company over the 10,000 pounds reporting threshold.

For this reason, the second step is to do a periodic walkthrough of your facility and inventory how much you have on hand. In each area of your facility where materials are stored or used, you will need to determine if the amount you have on hand at the time of your inspection meets the 10,000-pound threshold. For best results, we recommend you do an inspection right after you receive a shipment of material.

How Do I Submit a Tier II Report?

The good news about Tier II reporting is once you have your list of materials, you only need to check it annually or whenever you add or stop using materials at your facility. Also, once you have your list, the reporting can be done quickly online through your state. The EPA keeps a list of State Tier II reporting requirements, which you can find here. For most states, reporting is inexpensive, ranging from $25 – $100 annually, depending on how many and what type of materials you have.

Braun Intertec has staff well-versed in waste characterization and management who understand what needs to be reported and can help you determin if you need to report under Tier II. If you think you might need to report under Tier II, or need assistance with your Tier II reporting, please contact Jennifer Wolff at [email protected]

Jennifer Wolff, PG, CHMM, CPG Senior Environmental Scientist

P: 952.995.2454