It’s likely if you’re operating in a manufacturing industry, you’ve at least heard of Tier 2 reporting. If you don’t report currently, you may have looked at it in years past and not considered if anything has changed which may necessitate reporting for 2013. When I conduct environmental compliance audits across the country, this is one area which is frequently considered and then promptly forgotten. Then something changes (the company starts manufacturing something which requires more chemical inventory) and the Tier 2 requirement is never revisited.

What is this Tier 2 thing anyway?

Tier 2 reporting is one of the requirements related to EPCRA, a federal regulation more commonly known as the “Community Right to Know Act”. This regulation was spawned as a result of a chemical accident involving methyl isocyanate in Bhopal India (in 1984) which killed thousands of workers and those living in the area around the plant. As a consequence, the EPA created this reporting requirement to allow communities to know what is being stored in their neighborhoods.

Should I be submitting Tier 2 reports?

There are actually 3 separate reports related to Tier 2 (Form 302 related to EHS chemicals, Form 311 for chemical inventory and Form 312 for chemical identification and locations. The general “rule of thumb” is if you’re storing 10,000 lbs or more of any substance requiring the facility to have an MSDS (or SDS) because it’s an OSHA hazardous substance, then you must report it on the Annual Tier 2 report (forms 311 and 312). There are some substances considered Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) and which have much lower thresholds. This requires completion of Form 302. Some of the more common EHS chemicals include sulfuric, nitric and hydrochloric acid and lead. For a complete listing of the EHS chemicals, check out this link:

Some of the commonly missed chemicals for Tier 2 reporting include diesel (especially for those of you with backup generators). Those often have 850-10,000 gallon tanks associated with running the generator. When you multiply out the weight of diesel (est. 9 lbs/gal), it starts adding up to 10,000 lbs quite rapidly.  The other big hitter is petroleum distillates such as various oils. This could be in totes, bulk tanks and equipment. Start adding up what you have on-site and you may find that you have much more than you realized on-site.

Walk around your facility and take note of everything you have in large containers (totes, supersaks, bulk tanks, pits, large equipment, etc). You may have an excellent reference in your chemical inventory associated with your MSDS listing (or now SDS). Other good resources include Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans, Emergency Action Plans and Spill Prevention, Resource and Recovery Plans which often have chemical inventories included. Do the math and figure out the weight versus the total volume on-site and if you’re over 10,000 lbs, it’s time to get that report done.

So, if I have to report, how do I get it done and what’s the deadline?

Reports are due by February 28, 2014 for the previous year (2013). Most states are requiring electronic submittal and if you’ve not started, get going now. Do not wait until the final week! These sites get quite bogged down as the deadline looms nearer and they can (and often do) crash. If you’re in Indiana, you will need to get an electronic submittal form completed to authorize the electronic form. This takes a few days, so again – don’t wait.

Other states are utilizing the Tier 2 Submit software available for free from the EPA website. Complete the submittals and file them as your state requires. Or, if you’d rather not be a do-it-yourselfer, give ECS a call and we can get this all done for you. We’ve done lots of these already this year. What’s a few more?  If you’re interested in getting assistance, fill out the contact form below or give us a call at (812) 945-1541.

If you insist on doing this yourself, just remember that in addition to utilizing the state’s required software and submittal to the State Emergency Planning Commission, you also have to submit an electronic or mailed copy to the LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Commission) and the local fire department. The list of LEPCs for your state are generally available on the state’s web page.