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.
EPCRA includes four distinct chemical reporting requirements: emergency planning, emergency release notification, hazardous chemical storage reporting, and toxic chemical release inventory reporting.
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.
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.
Hazardous chemical storage reporting is required by Sections 311-312 of EPCRA. Section 311 requires facilities to either submit copies of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) 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 MSDS. 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.
Toxics release inventory (TRI) reporting is required by Section 313 of EPCRA. TRI reporting, also known as Form R, 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 can be 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.
ESC assists industrial facilities with all aspects of EPCRA reporting. We look forward to assisting you.