EPCRA & Community Right-to-Know Program Compliance
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) provides the US EPA with the authority to require industrial facilities to report information on the storage, use, and release of hazardous and toxic chemicals at their facility. The data reported by industrial facilities helps communities and emergency response agencies plan for emergencies involving hazardous substances. We can provide the EPA enforcement consulting to assist you with this reporting.
EPCRA includes four distinct chemical reporting requirements: emergency planning, emergency release notification, hazardous chemical storage reporting, and toxic chemical release inventory reporting.
Section 301-303: Emergency Planning
Emergency planning activities are required by Sections 301-303 of EPCRA. Facilities that maintain any Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) on site above the applicable threshold planning quantity must notify the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) within 60 days after they first maintain the substance on site.
Section 304: Emergency Release Notification
Emergency release notification is required by Section 304 of EPCRA. Any facility that accidentally releases an EHS or CERCLA hazardous chemical into the environment in an amount greater than the reportable quantity for that substance must immediately notify the SERC and LEPC of the release. CERCLA releases must also be reported to the National Response Center.
Section 311 and 312: Hazardous Chemical Storage Reporting Requirements (Tier II)
Hazardous chemical storage reporting is required by Sections 311-312 of EPCRA. Section 311 requires facilities to either submit copies of safety data sheets (SDSs) for chemicals used on site above the applicable threshold, or a detailed list of the chemicals used on site above the applicable threshold. The information must be submitted to the SERC, LEPC, and local fire department.
Section 312 requires facilities to submit an annual inventory report (Tier II) for all hazardous substances stored on site above 10,000 pounds. Hazardous substances include all chemicals for which facilities are required to prepare or maintain an SDS. The report must also include all EHSs stored on site above 500 pounds or the applicable threshold planning quantity, whichever is lower. The report is due by March 1 each year and is submitted to the SERC, LEPC, and local fire department. Most states use the EPA Tier II form, but some states, such as New Jersey, have developed their own form. In both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Tier II reports are submitted to the state electronically.
Tier II reports, due on March 1 of each year. Since the 2013 reporting year, revisions to the federal regulations for Community Right-To-Know reporting require additional facility information be submitted on state and federal forms.
The revisions include: changes to the storage quantity range codes used (though states may elect to maintain their previous codes), changes to the method for reporting mixtures versus pure chemicals, and the capability to identify a reported substance as a non-EHS substance based on the material concentration. Revised information fields on the Tier II reports include: spaces to provide written descriptions of storage conditions, maximum number of occupants, TRI ID number (if applicable), facility RMP number (if applicable), and additional facility contact information, and checkboxes for indicating if the facility is subject to EPCRA Section 302 (Storage of Extremely Hazardous Substances) and if the facility was manned or unmanned. Optional data fields for voluntarily providing specific details about the facility that would aid in emergency response situations have also been added to the Tier II reports.
Section 313: Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI)
Toxics release inventory (TRI) reporting is required by Section 313 of EPCRA. TRI reporting, also known as Form R reporting, is required in order to provide the public with information on the amount of hazardous chemicals that are released, disposed of, recycled, or treated in their community each year. Facilities are required to perform a “threshold analysis” each year in order to determine whether they are subject to TRI reporting. The threshold analysis must include a review of all materials used on site during the reporting year. The total amount of each chemical used must be compared to the applicable reporting threshold. If a threshold is exceeded for any chemical, either a Form R or Form A report must be submitted to the EPA by July 1 each year.
The toxic release inventory is a complicated, high liability program. It is important that whether the facility is subject to reporting or not that there is support documentation on the threshold analysis. EPA expects this documentation when they conduct onsite inspections. The EPA can assess substantial fines for non-reporting or incorrect reporting. ESC has been helping clients with their TRI reporting for many years. ESC will determine whether the facility is subject to reporting, what chemical(s) need to be reported, and whether there are any applicable reporting exemptions. If the facility must report, ESC will estimate releases to each environmental medium, complete and submit the reports, and provide the client with supporting information that documents the basis for the reporting and release estimates.