Nov. 2021: Environmental Compliance Regulation Updates

In November 2021, EPA enacted various additions and amendments for EPCRA and environmental compliance regulations that impacted Tier II submissions for reporting year (RY) 2021. In certain cases (and states), these changes will also impact Tier II reports for RY2022. It’s vital to therefore keep up with EPA changes like the ones that follow, and the compliance experts at Encamp are here to help you do just that.

EPA regulatory changes as of November 2021

Of the EPA changes that took effect in November 2021, these will help EHS teams and environmental professionals as they start preparing for RY2022.

EPA Enforcement Alert

To address growing concerns about chemical storage, EPA issued an Enforcement Alert last November on the Risks of Improper Storage of Hazardous Chemicals at Chemical Warehouses and Distribution Facilities. Key compliance concerns noted in the Alert include:

  • Failure to account for the chemicals in all containers (including aerosol cans, cylinders, storage tanks, etc.) that could be affected by the same emergency event, such as a fire.
  • Failure to file and implement an RMP, often because insufficient inventory facility management systems failed to flag that chemical inventories had exceeded regulatory thresholds.
  • Failure to submit a Tier II form, Safety Data Sheet (SDS), or TRI Form R, in violation of EPCRA.

Among these concerns, we’ll add that even when Safety Data Sheets are submitted, they’re often out of date and don’t meet OSHA’s modified Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This SDS issue is one of the most common Tier II reporting errors we see each year at Encamp.

Tier2 Submit 2021 

The Tier2 Submit software is developed by EPA. If the state in which your facility is located requires you to use this software for Tier II report submissions, you must download the newest version for each reporting year. (For RY2021, the Tier2 Submit 2021 version was released in December 2021.) You can download the software directly from the EPA’s Tier2 Submit web page; typically, the latest release becomes generally available each December for the forthcoming reporting year. 

According to NOAA, here were some of the more noteworthy changes in Tier2 Submit 2021, which will be included in the 2022 release along with other potential updates:

  • Improved accuracy of the latitude/longitude county check. The Tier2 Submit software for 2021 checks against the actual county boundary line, as opposed to using the less precise “bounding box” method.
  • New keyboard shortcuts for forward/back, zoom settings, and accessing help/support.
  • An option to the import process to view only imported records, or the full set of records. (Note: this feature was available previously in CAMEO Data Manager, but is new to Tier2 Submit.)
  • Updated state-specific fields and/or instructions specifically for Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.

New Texas Tier II rules 

In November 2020, Texas updated its Tier II rules (now found in 30 TAC 325) to include additional obligations for facilities. These rules were in effect for RY2021 and should remain so for 2022. Of note:

  • A year-round requirement to submit an updated Tier II report within 90 days of any change on the report, including contact information, chemical quantities, and storage locations.

Vermont LEPC consolidation for Tier II reporting

In July 2021, Vermont consolidated its 13 LEPCs into a single state-wide LEPC. For RY2021, all Vermont Tier II reports were to be submitted to this single LEPC, regardless of where facilities are located. This process will be the same for RY2022.

New Tier II portals

Beginning with the RY2020 reporting season, both Missouri and North Dakota transitioned to new reporting systems. 

(We’ll alert you to changes in any other state reporting portals for RY2022.)

What’s on the horizon?

To prepare for compliance reporting years beyond RY2021, EPA is exploring implementing a rule that would provide exemptions for certain materials historically required to be included on Tier II reports. This could include substances such as sand, gravel, and rock salt, as well as any other substances a facility determines would pose minimal hazards and minimal risks. Stay tuned as we share any new developments.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

Eugene Simonds

Eugene Simonds is a Compliance Program Manager at Encamp and a former Environmental Engineer. In his previous role as a consultant, he specialized in multimedia environmental compliance across a broad range of clients and industries. A licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and certified RCRA/DOT/HAZWOPER, his passion is simplifying the environmental compliance experience for everyone.

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