In the world of EHS and compliance, Tier II reporting is everything. Now there’s a Practical Guide that tells you everything you need to know.VIEW THE EBOOK
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Tier 2 reporting requirements provide the state and local government information about potentially hazardous chemicals at your facility. This is important so that emergency staff can have all of the information available in case there is an emergency. It also helps the EPA provide oversight and allows the community more transparency in the way chemicals in their community are housed and maintained.
Tier II reporting and fees are due annually on March 1st. Different states have their own submissions and Tier II reporting requirements. Also, Tier II reporting thresholds may differ, depending on the location. For example, Tier II reporting requirements for Texas facilities are unique to that state. There may also be alternate thresholds and processes for Ohio Tier II reporting requirements.
You should also be aware of the Tier II reporting exemptions which often include substances that are governed by other entities. Some exemptions might include foods or food additives, which are governed by the FDA, and hazardous waste which might be governed by the Federal Solid Waste Disposal Act. The reporting threshold for most chemicals is 10,000 pounds but for some chemicals, it may be as low as 500 pounds.
Under EPCRA section 312, the owner of a facility is required to have a safety data sheet for all chemicals under the OSHA data communication standard. That safety data sheet must be kept up to date at all times. A majority of facilities that maintain safety data sheets will also need to submit Tier II reports. There is a reporting threshold for different types of chemicals. If the chemicals in your facility fall below these quantities, you're not obligated to report. For most extremely hazardous chemicals, the threshold is 500 pounds. For most hazardous chemicals, the threshold is at 10,000 pounds. For facilities with underground gasoline tanks, the threshold for gasoline is 75,000 gallons and for those with underground diesel tanks, the threshold is 100,000 gallons.
An online submission, such as E-Plan, can help you to navigate this complicated process. Tier II reporting software is designed to aid in keeping track of all of the chemicals and materials that need to be included in reporting. This is more difficult than it might appear on the surface. Some chemicals have a lower threshold than others and it's integral that you keep all records up to date. Software can be a great help in making certain that all of your records are accurate and that the manager in charge of your compliance issues has access to all of the information and reporting options. Manual methods for keeping track of chemicals can be cumbersome and working with various excel sheets make it difficult to get a full picture of everything in your facility or multiple facilities. The software allows you to keep all records in a central location and diminishes the possibility of errors from manually keying the information from your records to the Tier II report.
The Tier II reporting deadline is on March 1, but many facilities begin their Tier II filing well in advance. The EPA has designed software to aid in your process. If the Tier II manager is working with Tier II reporting software, they should make sure that the vendor guarantees that they stay up to date with the latest requirements and work with any specific requirements in your state.
The Tier II reports are designed to be easily accessible for first responders in the event of an emergency. Chemical facilities and factories are well versed in this type of reporting, but they are not the only industries that need to comply. Colleges, commercial spaces, and healthcare organizations may all be subject to reporting requirements. Not meeting the reporting requirements can result in fines and penalties, so it's important that the person in charge of your EPA reporting and compliance oversight maintains good records and an up to date knowledge of current thresholds and requirements. This includes Tier I reporting, as well as Tier II reporting.
It helps to understand the reason behind these requirements so that you can fully meet compliance needs. 2019 tier 2 reporting requirements are designed specifically to meet the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). The act was designed so that communities could have full transparency in the types of chemicals in their community and so that they could plan for and be prepared for chemical emergencies.
Tier 2 reporting provides state, local officials, and the public information on potential hazards. It also mandates that companies safely maintain chemicals and that they maintain constant oversight of what they have in their facility. With better oversight in individual facilities, and access to the information at a local, state, and Federal level, there are checks and balances to help maintain safety and act as a safety net if there were a chemical emergency.
As discussed earlier, different states do have their own individual reporting processes. Some states have added Tier II Manager online reporting systems to streamline the process. Other states use their own methods. You need to follow the requirements within the state where the facility is located.
The Kentucky Tier II reporting processes have recently changed. Starting in January 2020, Kentucky facilities need to submit their EPCRA reports using the TIER II MANAGER online reporting system. This system was recently implemented and all reporting in Kentucky must be made through this platform and no reports will be accepted using the old method. The TIER II Manager is an all in one platform where facilities can submit reports, make corrections, and make payments.
The Louisiana Tier II reporting process requires facilities to submit their reports electronically through the Louisiana State Police Tier II Inventory Filing website. They do not accept submissions via TIER II Manager or any other E-Plan submission system. They do, however, offer guidance documents to help you navigate their website and process.
The California Tier II reporting process recently announced that facilities that have chemicals below the threshold only have to report every 3 years, rather than annually. Under their Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP), they require facilities to inventory their material, develop a site map, develop an emergency plan, and provide training for all employees.
Nevada Tier II reporting process also uses an online portal. They created their own, Nevada Online Hazmat Reporting System to handle tier ii reporting for the state. Their platform can be accessed through the State Fire Marshall's website. The New Jersey tier ii reporting process is located on the state's Department of Environmental Protection Compliance and Enforcement website. This site offers resources to aid facilities in understanding the requirements as well as all of the forms necessary to complete your process. The Indiana tier ii manager requires facilities to file directly using the Tier II Manager.
You can find the specific requirements for your state here, or you can look at your state government website for more information.
Retail gas stations are not exempt from Tier II reporting. According to EPCRA section 312, the minimum threshold for reporting gasoline that's stored completely underground is 75,000 gallons. The threshold for reporting diesel fuel that's stored completely underground is 100,000 gallons.
Retail gas stations aren't exempt from Tier II reporting but they do have higher thresholds that only apply to retail facilities that sell gas and diesel fuel to the public. A gas station might be eligible for exemptions for the storage of gas or diesel. A farm that uses gas or diesel to run machinery might be eligible for the exemption if it's only used for agricultural operations and the amount is below the threshold.
Each state has its own protocols. The tceq tier ii payment website offers resources to submit reports, make payments, and verify filing deadlines in Texas. The Texas Tier II reporting protocols will be slightly different than those in other states. Under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), reports are to be filed annually with the local fire departments, local emergency planning committees (LEPC), and the state emergency response commissions (SERCs).
Tier II reporting in Illinois needs to abide by the protocols outlined in the state. According to Illinois, facilities are required to use the Tier II Manager Online Filing system. Only Tier II Manager submissions are accepted and all filings, corrections, and payments must be made through this system.
Facilities in Kentucky also need to report through the Tier II Manager online system and no reporting will be accepted through the previous system. This change was recently made, replacing the 2019 tier ii reporting software for the state.
Facilities in Massachusetts need to follow the protocols for the state which require that the reports are filed using the Tier II Manager system, as well. In MA, the facilities receive a return email acknowledging their submissions for their records. They also need to make individual submissions to the Massachusetts SERC, their local Emergency Planning Committee, and their local fire department. They can find all of the information necessary listed on the state website.
You can find Tier II reporting examples and further instructions on all of the pertinent filings through the EPA. Your local and state entities can provide more robust resources that are specific to your location if you need aid in understanding the forms or verifying that they're correct.
The reporting deadline for 2020 was March 1. This is the deadline each year. For most facilities, preparing for filing should start around the beginning of the year. This is especially important if you met or exceeded the thresholds in the previous year. You will likely need to report again in the following year, as well. Fees and fines can be exceptionally high if you do not report on time or if you've made mistakes in your Tier II reporting. Accuracy and efficiency are key.
If you've been maintaining your safety data sheets, it should streamline the process for you greatly. There may be chemicals that you don't readily think of in your reporting and it's important that your facility is assessed thoroughly to make sure that everything that meets or exceeds the threshold is reported.
Verify your state requirements first, and that any online administrative needs are already taken care of. For instance, if your state recently moved to an online portal, make certain that you have verified the login information so that there is no issue in accessing the information and submitting your reports. Your state may have various requirements that you need to follow, such as submitting the report to multiple government bodies.
If you're unsure or need further clarification, you can take online seminars or work with a software vendor that allows you to organize all of your data in a way that makes reporting easier and less cumbersome.
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When EHS violations are serious or repeated (or both!), state and federal enforcement agencies can close in and close down commercial properties.
When a company is found guilty of criminal acts for non-compliance, enforcement officials can make them surrender assets and other financial resources.