“When you start getting into SERCs and LEPCs and their ever-changing requirements (for Tier II reporting), it’s almost impossible to keep up. And if you’re filing Tier II reports in 30 or 40 different states, you’re dealing with 30 or 40 different state systems. You have to figure out a better way to organize that data and information and be able to manage it consistently, repeatedly.” – Denton Bruce, Senior Director of EHS for Bunzl Distribution

Watch the webinar on-demand

Three Takeaways to Make Tier II Reporting Easier  

In An Insider’s Look at Tier II Reporting, Denton Bruce from Bunzl, Bob Johnson, Environmental Affairs Manager for Lennox International, and Marilia Sinigaglia, a Customer Service Manager at Encamp, recapped what their 2021 EPCRA reporting year involved and what made it a success. The popular event got direct interest from close to 250 EHS leaders and people in environmental compliance roles. 

With Bunzl Distribution maintaining more than 200 facilities across the U.S. and Lennox International operating 250 distribution locations in 40 states, our insiders discussed all the Tier II reporting hurdles they faced for RY 2021 and how they are overcoming them. 

Here are the three principal takeaways from the discussion.

Takeaway #1 – Maintain continual compliance throughout the year 

Along with the pandemic, constant changes to regulations and verifying their applicability for each facility have forced many companies to change how they manage EPCRA compliance. 

Critical new and updated regulations for EPCRA reporting over the years

Having expert partners who specialize in compliance issues like these helps EHS leaders manage change within their data management and reporting process. Also helpful is technology that signals regulatory updates via automated notifications and alerts. “Partnering with you guys (Encamp),” said Lennox’s Bob Johnson, “allowed us to shift a lot of the burden to somebody that specializes, or what I call ‘focuses on,’ that part of the data management process” to ensure continual compliance. 

Support like this lets leaders close their EHS books each month instead of waiting until Q1 to prepare for the March 1 Tier II reporting due date. 

Takeaway #2 – Collect and centralize compliance data to increase process control 

“The voracious appetite for data is a challenge,” Johnson said in regard to the compliance data he manages at Lennox. In general, data can range from facility profiles, chemical inventory lists and safety data sheets (SDSs) to regulatory contacts, including SERCs, LEPCs, and local fire departments. Creating a central database, or single source of truth, to manage this information and all sites is critical. These data collection best practices also help.

When you can also combine the portals from various states with a single reporting interface, all the better. “Standardization is key,” said Bunzl’s Bruce. For reporting data, “Encamp allowed us to (implement) standardized repeatable reporting that was very streamlined in a resource constrained environment.”

Takeaway #3 – Simplify how regulatory requirements for Tier II reporting are managed

Especially when businesses add or acquire facilities, regulatory requirements often multiply in state and local level complexity. “I think we added 15 to 20 new facilities,” Johnson said regarding the sites Lennox acquired in 2021. “And obviously some of those were in states that we hadn’t reported in before.”

With a common repository for compliance and regulatory data, EHS teams can build out new facility profiles, upload new site data, verify applicable EPCRA reporting requirements, and even manage how Tier II reporting fees are paid, among other functions. “They (Bunzl and Lennox) were able to send us the data from whatever system they used, and we manipulated that data to talk to our system,” said Marilia Sinigaglia of Encamp. “We led with empathy, and then constant communication,” she added. 

As Johnson said about one of Lennox’s new facilities, “Since we were partnered within Encamp, I didn’t have to dive deep and do a research thesis on reporting in West Virginia.”  

In an Encamp study for Tier II reporting year 2021, 62% of respondents gave a rating of 7 out of 7 when asked whether technology fulfilled their Tier II needs.

A final issue to think about: How long would it take to pull all the information you need for a full environmental compliance audit?

This web event and the EHS insiders who made it possible can help you begin to answer that question. Listen to the full webinar to see how they did it.

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.

Credible and trustworthy data is central to an organization’s environmental compliance. Every day. Because for hazardous chemicals, hazardous waste, or both, state and local regulations don’t allow days off. The risk of disastrous events and the potential impact to the community and environment is too high — and too constant. 

In line with a business’s compliance program areas and Tier II reporting requirements, compliance information must therefore be consistently up to date, validated, complete, and accurate. Which means monitoring and collecting relevant data should be a continuous effort, right?

Unfortunately for many EHS operations, continuous data collection isn’t always doable, for notable reasons: Multiple facilities, often in different states. A shortage of trained EHS staff, particularly at the facility level, where non-EHS employees are forced to handle compliance tasks they’re not familiar with. But the biggest roadblock for gathering data is scattered data sources, the lack of a central database, and no established information flows or pipelines. 

The result is that data needed for environmental compliance isn’t always available. And when it isn’t, it can invite non-compliance and potentially costly penalties and reputational damage.

Achieving Continuous Environmental Compliance

A much stronger safeguard for environmental compliance is to build a centralized compliance foundation to manage and monitor data in one place — continually. Equally vital is a continuous data collection process tied to the compliance foundation you establish. The purpose of these measures is twofold:

  1. Businesses and their EHS teams drive continuous environmental compliance via a single source of truth specific to applicable program areas, and
  2. Should the business scale and add or acquire facilities, a compliance foundation’s course of persistent data collection and improved data management, quality, visibility, and control supports growth and continuous environmental compliance accordingly. 

These measures are also the first two steps of Encamp’s Guided Environmental Compliance method, which additionally introduces digital transformation to compliance data management and the reporting process.

From our experts: “Technology and best practices must work together” 

Although technology plays a key role in achieving continuous environmental compliance, best practices for data collection and building your respective compliance foundations are just as key. No one knows this better than Megan Walters, VP of Compliance & Customer Success at Encamp, and Eugene Simonds, Encamp’s Compliance Program Manager. They discuss the uppermost best practices for continuous environmental compliance in the sections that follow.  

Establish your environmental compliance foundations 

Without sound compliance foundations for your company’s program areas, according to Megan, the biggest problem for environmental compliance and reporting is poor data quality. The accuracy of information suffers due largely to data not being fully visible and monitored on a continuous basis. Subsequently, compliance reports that are inaccurate or incomplete because of unchecked or unvalidated data pose glaring risks for non-compliance — and for the financial, operational and reputational penalties that can come with it.

A worse outcome is that leaders across the organization begin to question whether environmental compliance efforts are able to meet the requirements of federal, state and local regulatory agencies. 

Building a reliable compliance foundation for each regulatory program area, whether EPCRA, RCRA, the Clean Air Act, or the Clean Water Act, should therefore become a priority for compliance operations. This is also a first step towards environmental digital transformation. 

Where technology and environmental digital transformation comes in

“Within a given compliance foundation, data should consist of all existing corporate, facility, and personnel information relating to that program area,” Eugene said. “Data should also be organized in a way that’s readily visible and available to those who need it, enterprise-wide.” 

Technology and environmental digital transformation come into play here in the form of digitized data and a single centralized system for managing compliance information. (Encamp is such a unified data system). When data is organized in one centralized location, the unified system serves as your organization’s single source of truth for compliance operations and continual environmental compliance alike. Within the system, digitized data is additionally more visible and easier to manage electronically.

For data collection and establishing a compliance foundation, Megan suggests making these best practices a staple of your compliance program:

For a centralized data system, also consider the various data it should house. According to Eugene, key data for continuous environmental compliance should include: 

(Note that when Encamp is your chosen data system, a dedicated Encamp Customer Success Manager (CSM) works with your environmental compliance and operations teams to collect existing data during initial onboarding. Centralizing data into the single Encamp portal then sets the tone for the system to become your compliance foundation for a particular program area.)

Greater control of environmental compliance information

“The premise of any unified data system and centralizing environmental compliance information is to increase control of your data, both in collecting it and in building compliance foundations,“ Eugene added. Encamp is built on this premise, and even extends control to being able to push compliance data to all relevant regulatory databases at a state or federal level. Completing this critical step means you no longer need to manually access or update information in individual state and federal systems, which can be especially time-consuming. 

For new facilities, scalability and best practices are built in

If your organization adds facilities (whether through company growth or acquisition), it’s important to have a robust and flexible system that scales and correspondingly makes changes to your compliance foundation, including all places in which data lives at a state and federal level. As an inherent change management system for all new sites, your environmental compliance operations are able to:

Technology research firm Gartner predicts that in 2022, 70% of organizations will rigorously track data quality levels, improving quality by as much as 60% to significantly reduce operational risks and costs.

Establish continuous data collection

“Collecting data for environmental compliance purposes is hard enough as it is” as Eugene also pointed out. “But when data lives in different locations such as spreadsheets and separate databases, information is harder to obtain in a sustained manner.” For compliance foundations and continual environmental compliance, this makes creating a constant, real-time data monitoring and collection process all the more critical. 

Eugene’s recommended top best practices to establish data collection on a continuous basis are to:  

Whereas you once had countless spreadsheets being passed around via email and internal drives, establishing a continuous data monitoring and collection process allows all relevant compliance data for each program area to be collected in a systematic and largely automated manner. 

“For environmental compliance in a continuous manner,” as Eugene said, “the end result is greater data visibility and control, with less effort and fewer errors.”

Standardizing the data collection process across all locations ensures that needed data is collected more accurately and in real time. According to a recent study, 66% of operations professionals cited automation as being key in reducing data errors.

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.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know ActEPCRA — was passed in 1986 in response to chemical-related safety and environmental concerns in communities throughout the U.S. Specifically, the concerns stemmed from hazardous chemicals stored and handled in facilities located in these local communities. 

EPCRA in simple terms

Since 2018, Encamp’s Tier II Reporting software for section 312 EPCRA compliance has made us the EHS industry’s largest third-party filer of Tier II reports. Compliance reporting is also one of the critical steps in Encamp’s Guided Environmental Compliance method that integrates digital technology into compliance program areas to centralize information, make data more visible, and build a continuous and auditable process for EHS operations. This guided method also blends Encamp’s high-tech software with the high-touch support of our compliance experts, who know the in’s and out’s of EPCRA and its sections that set regulatory provisions for regulated facilities within a local jurisdiction.

Yet given the complexities of EPCRA, we get questions about it virtually every day. Especially for Tier II and reporting, here’s what you should know about EPCRA… in simple terms. Call it our way of helping you and your EHS team avoid the common reporting errors we see companies make every year in their Tier II filings. 

Glossary

Why is the “Community-Right-to Know” section of EPCRA so important?

Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase the public’s knowledge and access to information on chemicals stored at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. States and communities, working with facilities, use the information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.

SERC, TERC and LEPC roles

Gotta love all the acronyms, right? At the state level is a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), or where applicable, a Tribal Emergency Response Commission (TERC). A Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) resides on the local level in each community within a state.

The duties of SERCs and TERCs

The SERC supervises and coordinates the activities of the LEPC, establishes procedures for receiving and processing public requests for information collected under EPCRA, and reviews local emergency response plans. In regards to TERCs, the Chief Executive Office of the Tribe appoints the commission’s members; TERCs have the same responsibilities as SERCs.

What LEPCs do

LEPCs are composed of local officials including police, fire, civil defense, public health, transportation, and environmental professionals. Also serving on these committees are representatives of facilities subject to the emergency planning requirements, as well as community groups and the media. LEPCs must develop an emergency response plan, review it annually (at a minimum), and provide information about chemicals stored or used in the community to local citizens.

EPCRA sections and their four key provisions

EPCRA entails four core responsibilities for chemical use and storage, classified by sections. These sections apply to all regulated facilities within a local jurisdiction.

A fifth EPCRA section is section 322, Trade Secrets. For companies that wish to claim trade secrets for chemicals reported under EPCRA, EPA requires a facility to submit a substantiation to justify the claim of trade secrecy as specified in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 350 to 372. The section 322 form has four parts:

See EPA’s EPCRA website for more in-depth sections information, frequently asked questions, and guidance documents.

Tier II falls under EPCRA section 312 

Tier II reporting is housed under EPCRA section 312. For regulated facilities, the requirements of this section dictate that facilities submit an annual inventory of hazardous chemicals onsite that surpass a stated quantity threshold. Thresholds are federally mandated, but can be superseded by state or local requirements. Chemical inventories are submitted to the facility’s SERC (or TERC), LEPC, and local fire department.

Section requirements in more detail

Sections 301-303, Emergency Response plan guidelines 

LEPCs are tasked with emergency response planning and notification for their communities, which directly involves the facility that stores extremely hazardous substances. You must comply if your facility meets the following conditions:

  1. Any EHS is present in an amount equal to or greater than its threshold planning quantity (TPQ).
  2. Has been designated for emergency planning purposes, after public notice and opportunity for comment, by the SERC, State Governor, or the Chief Executive Officer of the Tribe for the Indian Tribe under whose jurisdiction your facility is located

Emergency Response plans contain information that community officials can use at the time of a chemical accident.

A response plan report must include:

  1. Emergency planning notification
  2. A designated facility emergency coordinator
  3. Changes relevant to emergency planning
  4. Requested information if the LEPC requests it

Section 304, emergency notification guidelines

Emergency notification reports must be submitted immediately to officials at both the local (LEPC) and state (SERC, TERC) levels whenever a facility accidentally releases hazardous substances and/or EHSs. 

Substances include any of the EPA’s listed types of chemicals in an amount equal to or greater than its reportable quantity.

Regulated chemicals include ammonia and hydrogen peroxide and any substance in Appendix A of the EPA hazardous substances list, or formaldehyde, nicotine, and any substance included in Appendix B.

An emergency notification report must include:

  1. The chemical name
  2. An indication of whether the substance is extremely hazardous
  3. An estimate of the quantity released into the environment
  4. The time and duration of the release
  5. Whether the release occurred into air, water, and/or land
  6. Any known or anticipated acute or chronic health risks associated with the emergency, and where necessary, advice regarding medical attention for exposed individuals
  7. Proper precautions, such as evacuation or sheltering in place
  8. Name and telephone number of contact person

Sections 311-312, thresholds and reporting requirements

Again, Tier II reporting is a section 312 requirement. Per Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, facilities must maintain an MSDS or SDS for any hazardous chemical used or stored in the workplace. 

Regulated chemicals:

Note that these guidelines apply at the federal level. States may have a lower threshold.

  1. EHSs listed in Appendix A and Appendix B with a TPQ of 500 lbs or less
  2. Gasoline at a retail gas station, with a threshold level of 75,000 gallons
  3. Diesel fuel at a retail gas station, with a threshold level of 100,000 gallons
  4. All other hazardous chemicals with a TPQ of 10,000 pounds.

A Tier II report must include:

  1. The chemical name or the common name as indicated on the MSDS or SDS
  2. An estimate of the maximum amount of the chemical present at any time during the preceding calendar year and the average daily amount
  3. A brief description of the manner of storage of the chemical
  4. The location of the chemical at the facility
  5. An indication of whether the owner of the facility elects to withhold location information from disclosure to the public

Section 313, Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) guidelines

As a mandatory program for toxic chemical releases and pollution prevention activities reported by industrial and federal facilities, TRI typically applies to larger facilities involved in manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, or hazardous waste treatment. Currently, more than 21,000 facilities around the U.S. are subject to TRI requirements, which is determined by your facility’s NAICS Code, number of full-time employees, and chemical thresholds. 

Verify if your facility is a TRI-covered industry

In all, TRI examines wastewater discharges, air emissions through stacks, air flow through doors and windows (fugitive air release), off-site transfer of waste or by-products to landfills or recycling facilities, and surface water discharge like storm water. TRI reports are due annually on July 1st.

Regulated chemicals:

Chemicals covered by the TRI program are those that cause cancer or other chronic human health effects, significant adverse acute human health effects, and significant adverse environmental effects. See TRI chemical changes as of January 2022.

Additional EPA resources

List of Lists

Updated Tier II forms and instructions

State-specific Tier II reporting instructions and procedures

Important schedules and due dates

Note that these are federal schedules. For sections 302 and 304, states may have more stringent timelines.

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.

The EPA guidelines on how lead-acid batteries are to be reported for EPCRA and Tier II reporting can be one of the most confusing aspects of environmental compliance. For instance, do compliance and operations teams and facilities report a lead-acid battery as a mixture, or as a component?

Adding to the complexity, certain states like Texas, California, and Oregon, have published their own reporting guidance for lead-acid batteries, so it’s no wonder confusion reigns over issues such as the mixture-or-component question. 

Lead-Acid Batteries: The Ultimate Reporting Guide 

Encamp has just published the 2nd edition of its Lead-Acid Batteries: The Ultimate Reporting Guide, and it answers the most common Tier II questions about lead-acid batteries for you. Where do these batteries fit in the on-site chemical inventory and threshold equation for Tier II reporting? What should the notification include when you report damaged lead-acid batteries? And of course, how do you settle the mixture or component issue? — which we’ve detailed here.

 

Mixture reporting vs. component reporting

According to EPA, there are two ways of reporting lead-acid batteries for Tier II. The agency’s recommended approach states that a facility should be consistent in reporting between 311 (SDS Reporting) and 312 (Chemical Inventory Reporting). EPA also states that the submission of the Tier II form can be used for 311 purposes for hazardous chemicals brought on-site between October 1 and December 31 of a calendar year, although you must confirm this with your SERC and LEPC.

For 311, when a new chemical is brought or produced on-site and it exceeds its threshold:

Based on EPA’s guidance, reporting between 311 and 312 should be consistent:

Mixture reporting

When reporting lead-acid batteries as a mixture, be sure to include physical and health hazards associated with every mixture component listed on the SDS. Depending on what state your facility is in and what reporting system they have chosen to use, you may have to report the overall mixture as an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) or the mixture component (sulfuric acid, in this case) as an EHS.

Tier2 Submit

If you’re required to use EPA’s Tier2 Submit software to file your Tier II report, here’s what your lead-acid battery will look like reported as a mixture.

EHS is marked as Yes because EPA requires the overall chemical to be marked as an EHS if one of the mixture components is an EHS.

E-plan

If your SERC uses E-plan for submissions, the system will require the overall chemical to be marked as an EHS, just like Tier2 Submit. Below is an excerpt from the E-plan instructions.

Tier II Manager

If your SERC (or LEPC) uses Tier II Manager as their portal, you have the option of indicating that the lead-acid batteries contain an EHS and that it exceeds the TPQ. Below is a screenshot from a Tier II Manager report.

Component reporting

If you decide to report the sulfuric acid separately, the reporting is a little more straightforward. Since sulfuric acid is an EHS, you will simply check the EHS box on whichever system your SERC uses.

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.

Here’s how an environmental compliance calendar proves its value. 

Coca-Cola Consolidated is the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States with 12 manufacturing facilities across the country, some of which are recently-acquired sites. The company additionally maintains more than 70 distribution centers as part of its operations.

For environmental compliance, the company’s Environmental Affairs group oversees activities at multiple sites to ensure compliance with company standards as well as regulations including EPCRA. Among their tasks, the group prepares and submits all required Tier II compliance reports, conducts environmental assessments, and tracks environmental metrics to drive efficiency and meet company-wide sustainability goals.

For years, to manage tasks for compliance and reporting efforts across sites, the group used a compliance calendar built in-house, in Excel. 

Excel is not an environmental compliance calendar

As Brandi Collignon, Manager, Environmental Affairs, put it, using a spreadsheet as a compliance calendar was a collective roadblock. Their Excel-based calendar was difficult to manage, and linking it to the team’s Outlook email/calendar wasn’t doable. 

Worse, the calendar wasn’t adequately shared at the site-level for Coca-Cola Consolidated’s newly-acquired facilities, meaning updates and edits couldn’t be fully distributed in real time. When updates were made, having to review and share them manually was time-consuming. 

Collaboration across sites was therefore insufficient, and many of the company’s newly acquired facilities missed their compliance reporting dates because of it.

A critical need

For Coca-Cola Consolidated, an environmental compliance calendar that put all relevant team members on the same page at the same time wasn’t just a need. For two key compliance objectives, it was a critical need to:

A fully connected team, in full view

Working with the Encamp Customer Success team, Coca-Cola Consolidated implemented Encamp’s Compliance Calendar for all of its facilities in just seven days. As an intelligent environmental compliance calendar, the Encamp solution provides a task library, including pre-built templates, that does the real work. 

The Environmental Affairs group at Coca-Cola Consolidated now schedules required compliance and reporting activities at every facility. They assign specific tasks to specific team members. Then in real time and with a 360° view, they track progress and due dates throughout the process of preparing and submitting final compliance reports.

And they do all this for approximately 390 unique tasks within their compliance program. 

At each facility and at all times, every team member now knows their responsibilities and who’s completing what activity. There’s no inadvertent redundant work, and no task goes overlooked.

“Encamp has been an amazing support system in creating a uniform, compliance calendar for each of our unique facilities.”
– Brandi Collignon 

An intelligent compliance calendar… better outcomes

Already, the environmental compliance calendar from Encamp has enabled Coca-Cola Consolidated to:

“We have more confidence that we’re meeting all regulatory and company requirements now that our tasks are organized into one system. Encamp has provided a service to grow with our company and its ever evolving needs.”

Read the full Coca-Cola Consolidated case study.


Take a more proactive approach to meeting compliance due dates
and mitigating non-compliance risks.

Download Your Guide to Proactive Environmental Compliance now.


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.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know ActEPCRA — was passed in 1986 in response to chemical-related safety and environmental concerns in communities throughout the U.S. Specifically, the concerns stemmed from hazardous chemicals stored and handled in facilities located in these local communities. 

EPCRA in simple terms

Since 2018, Encamp’s Tier II Reporting software for section 312 EPCRA compliance has made us the EHS industry’s largest third-party filer of Tier II reports. Compliance reporting is also one of the critical steps in Encamp’s Guided Environmental Compliance method that integrates digital technology into compliance program areas to centralize information, make data more visible, and build a continuous and auditable process for EHS operations. This guided method also blends Encamp’s high-tech software with the high-touch support of our compliance experts, who know the in’s and out’s of EPCRA and its sections that set regulatory provisions for regulated facilities within a local jurisdiction.

Yet given the complexities of EPCRA, we get questions about it virtually every day. Especially for Tier II and reporting, here’s what you should know about EPCRA… in simple terms. Call it our way of helping you and your EHS team avoid the common reporting errors we see companies make every year in their Tier II filings. 

Glossary

Why is the “Community-Right-to Know” section of EPCRA so important?

Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase the public’s knowledge and access to information on chemicals stored at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. States and communities, working with facilities, use the information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.

SERC, TERC and LEPC roles

Gotta love all the acronyms, right? At the state level is a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), or where applicable, a Tribal Emergency Response Commission (TERC). A Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) resides on the local level in each community within a state.

The duties of SERCs and TERCs

The SERC supervises and coordinates the activities of the LEPC, establishes procedures for receiving and processing public requests for information collected under EPCRA, and reviews local emergency response plans. In regards to TERCs, the Chief Executive Office of the Tribe appoints the commission’s members; TERCs have the same responsibilities as SERCs.

What LEPCs do

LEPCs are composed of local officials including police, fire, civil defense, public health, transportation, and environmental professionals. Also serving on these committees are representatives of facilities subject to the emergency planning requirements, as well as community groups and the media. LEPCs must develop an emergency response plan, review it annually (at a minimum), and provide information about chemicals stored or used in the community to local citizens.

EPCRA sections and their four key provisions

EPCRA entails four core responsibilities for chemical use and storage, classified by sections. These sections apply to all regulated facilities within a local jurisdiction.

A fifth EPCRA section is section 322, Trade Secrets. For companies that wish to claim trade secrets for chemicals reported under EPCRA, EPA requires a facility to submit a substantiation to justify the claim of trade secrecy as specified in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 350 to 372. The section 322 form has four parts:

See EPA’s EPCRA website for more in-depth sections information, frequently asked questions, and guidance documents.

Tier II falls under EPCRA section 312 

Tier II reporting is housed under EPCRA section 312. For regulated facilities, the requirements of this section dictate that facilities submit an annual inventory of hazardous chemicals onsite that surpass a stated quantity threshold. Thresholds are federally mandated, but can be superseded by state or local requirements. Chemical inventories are submitted to the facility’s SERC (or TERC), LEPC, and local fire department.

Section requirements in more detail

Sections 301-303, Emergency Response plan guidelines 

LEPCs are tasked with emergency response planning and notification for their communities, which directly involves the facility that stores extremely hazardous substances. You must comply if your facility meets the following conditions:

  1. Any EHS is present in an amount equal to or greater than its threshold planning quantity (TPQ).
  2. Has been designated for emergency planning purposes, after public notice and opportunity for comment, by the SERC, State Governor, or the Chief Executive Officer of the Tribe for the Indian Tribe under whose jurisdiction your facility is located

Emergency Response plans contain information that community officials can use at the time of a chemical accident.

A response plan report must include:

  1. Emergency planning notification
  2. A designated facility emergency coordinator
  3. Changes relevant to emergency planning
  4. Requested information if the LEPC requests it

Section 304, emergency notification guidelines

Emergency notification reports must be submitted immediately to officials at both the local (LEPC) and state (SERC, TERC) levels whenever a facility accidentally releases hazardous substances and/or EHSs. 

Substances include any of the EPA’s listed types of chemicals in an amount equal to or greater than its reportable quantity.

Regulated chemicals include ammonia and hydrogen peroxide and any substance in Appendix A of the EPA hazardous substances list, or formaldehyde, nicotine, and any substance included in Appendix B.

An emergency notification report must include:

  1. The chemical name
  2. An indication of whether the substance is extremely hazardous
  3. An estimate of the quantity released into the environment
  4. The time and duration of the release
  5. Whether the release occurred into air, water, and/or land
  6. Any known or anticipated acute or chronic health risks associated with the emergency, and where necessary, advice regarding medical attention for exposed individuals
  7. Proper precautions, such as evacuation or sheltering in place
  8. Name and telephone number of contact person

Sections 311-312, thresholds and reporting requirements

Again, Tier II reporting is a section 312 requirement. Per Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, facilities must maintain an MSDS or SDS for any hazardous chemical used or stored in the workplace. 

Regulated chemicals:

Note that these guidelines apply at the federal level. States may have a lower threshold.

  1. EHSs listed in Appendix A and Appendix B with a TPQ of 500 lbs or less
  2. Gasoline at a retail gas station, with a threshold level of 75,000 gallons
  3. Diesel fuel at a retail gas station, with a threshold level of 100,000 gallons
  4. All other hazardous chemicals with a TPQ of 10,000 pounds.

A Tier II report must include:

  1. The chemical name or the common name as indicated on the MSDS or SDS
  2. An estimate of the maximum amount of the chemical present at any time during the preceding calendar year and the average daily amount
  3. A brief description of the manner of storage of the chemical
  4. The location of the chemical at the facility
  5. An indication of whether the owner of the facility elects to withhold location information from disclosure to the public

Section 313, Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) guidelines

As a mandatory program for toxic chemical releases and pollution prevention activities reported by industrial and federal facilities, TRI typically applies to larger facilities involved in manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, or hazardous waste treatment. Currently, more than 21,000 facilities around the U.S. are subject to TRI requirements, which is determined by your facility’s NAICS Code, number of full-time employees, and chemical thresholds. 

Verify if your facility is a TRI-covered industry

In all, TRI examines wastewater discharges, air emissions through stacks, air flow through doors and windows (fugitive air release), off-site transfer of waste or by-products to landfills or recycling facilities, and surface water discharge like storm water. TRI reports are due annually on July 1st.

Regulated chemicals:

Chemicals covered by the TRI program are those that cause cancer or other chronic human health effects, significant adverse acute human health effects, and significant adverse environmental effects. See TRI chemical changes as of January 2022.

Additional EPA resources

List of Lists

Updated Tier II forms and instructions

State-specific Tier II reporting instructions and procedures

Important schedules and due dates

Note that these are federal schedules. For sections 302 and 304, states may have more stringent timelines.

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.

Rule #1 for EPCRA, Tier II reporting, and environmental compliance: Accurate data is everything

Consider Tier II activities this way. If you break down the process by data management tasks, the Tier II lifecycle for reporting typically consists of four phases: 

So ultimately, how you track and manage data can be the difference between filing complete and accurate EPCRA Tier II submissions on time… or facing non-compliance violations for reports that are late and full of errors. 

Central to Encamp’s Guided Environmental Compliance method

Data management is also central to the Guided Environmental Compliance method from Encamp. To improve data visibility and control, the method promotes establishing a strong foundation for compliance data and creating a continuous data collection process as initial steps. And by blending digitization, high-tech solutions and the high-touch support of Encamp’s compliance experts in a technology-driven system, Guided Environmental Compliance tightly and continually aligns with the Tier II lifecycle. 

A better way to approach Tier II work

For EHS and Operations teams, taking a lifecycle approach to Tier II work makes it easier to manage the actual tasks of data collection, validation, input, and submission. Yet each phase can still be a challenge in and of itself. 

All four “challenges” were magnified in calls Encamp had recently with prospective customers, which included: 

Based on the conversations we had with these EHS professionals (and hundreds of other interactions just like them), we’ve spelled out the Tier II lifecycle, key challenges that come with each phase (in the customers’ words), and how EHS and Operations teams can effectively navigate them. 

Each scenario further includes how Encamp’s Tier II Reporting module can help you enhance your company’s compliance program and reporting practices for EPCRA. (Encamp’s Guided Environmental Compliance method also builds on this lifecycle by blending our technology with the high-touch support of our compliance and regulatory experts.)

The Tier II Lifecycle

Data collection

“Our EPCRA reporting hasn’t reached the level of being supported as a corporate-wide function, so I collect all the data myself. I retrieve information each month to keep up, but it always takes a while to make sure I capture everything we have in inventory. Our chemicals list is already extensive, and we routinely have a lot of raw materials and finished goods to be added at each facility throughout the year.”

First, kudos to this EHS manager for gathering data on a monthly basis. Especially for data collection and validation, a good rule of thumb is to have compliance data ready to review the first week of January. (Note: The months and date ranges we’ve included are a general timeline for when reporting activities should occur to be most effective.)

Tier II Reporting module actions

“As far as your data collection goes, the earlier you can start the better.”
Megan Walters, CHMM, Encamp’s VP of Compliance & Customer Success

Data validation

“We represent various clients for Tier II, so every year we have to update and confirm the chemical list and inventory levels for each client. We typically do that in October and November and gauge it against the latest requirements for EPCRA, then do our validations after that. But with so many ‘moving pieces’ and no updates to a client’s chemical inventories during the year, we sometimes second guess how accurate data really is.”

Inaccurate data is often the result of chemicals and mixtures being reported inconsistently — and thereby incorrectly — along with human error and the lack of a formal QA/QC process to ensure data quality and hygiene. In fact, insufficient validation is one of the most common problems of Tier II reporting.

Tier II Reporting module actions

Data input 

“We have facilities in several different states and need something to help us keep track of what’s been submitted so we don’t miss any sites or their requirements. Tracking our Tier II submissions by email or Windows folders the way we do now, it gets messy.”

It’s surprising, but some companies don’t even realize EPA regulatory requirements like EPCRA Sections 311 and 312 apply to their sites, certain hazardous chemicals, and even components and mixtures for lead-acid batteries. Not surprisingly, this is another topmost common problem of Tier II reporting. 

Tier II Reporting module actions

Data submissions 

“Our goal is to reduce the time it takes to go through the process for submitting Tier IIs, and get to where we know we’re compliant across all facilities. And we won’t even mention having to send reports and pay fees to all the SERCs, LEPCs and local fire departments. It’s time consuming!” 

Tier II Reporting module actions

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.

For most EHS professionals, regulatory environmental compliance reporting is often riddled with ever-evolving state regulations, complex state requirements, and the pressure to build a future-proof, sustainable business.

ehs on tap

 

Encamp CEO and Co-founder Luke Jacobs talks about
the importance of environmental compliance.

Listen in on this episode of the EHS on Tap podcast.

 

For many companies and their EHS teams and Operations staff, building a robust and effective compliance program comes with its own pitfalls. And for such a program, developing it, implementing it, and making sure it’s also sustainable is easier said than done.

You understand that staying in compliance means avoiding costly fines and operational stoppage, but manual and non-standardized processes across your facilities makes accurate and timely compliance reporting harder to achieve.

Sound familiar? 

After spending years as an environmental scientist, Encamp CEO and Co-founder Luke Jacobs knows just how real the struggle is for EHS professionals and organizations to understand and embrace environmental compliance.

To help them understand the complexities of compliance, EHS on Tap recently invited Luke to share his expertise. Tune in to listen to Luke’s expert insights on how to keep your environmental compliance goals on track.

Episode expert advice

“For the first time ever, people are managing their environmental compliance programs from home offices and distributed locations. All of that is really presenting a big challenge, but also a big opportunity for companies to accelerate their digital adoption and transformation. But with that there are all sorts of challenges. Just setting up systems is hard, choosing the right one, there’s training and adoption. All those efforts, if done well and if you pick the right system, are really impactful and have long-term gains.”

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.

Ask any EHS or Operations manager where Tier II reporting for EPCRA falls on their list of Favorite Things To Do, and they’ll probably tell you, “It doesn’t.”

Fair enough.

Before I came to Encamp, I was an Environmental and Product Safety Manager, and Tier II reporting was never something I looked forward to either. Why? EPCRA regulations to begin with. I had to know if facilities had to report (or not), then coax facility managers for reporting data and hope they could correctly identify chemicals and calculate quantities.

Then it was populating Tier II forms, by state, validating each report to make sure nothing got overlooked, navigating submission portals (by state, again), and paying all the filing fees. 

For any EHS leader, Tier II reporting for 10 or 12 sites is manageable. Even in multiple states. But hundreds or thousands of sites across the country? Good luck. The problem isn’t just finding time to track down data and do reports. It’s making sure every report is complete and accurate, and doesn’t draw the attention of regulators for missing or incorrect information.

It’s the law

Like it or not for EPCRA compliance, Tier II reporting for hazardous chemicals is the law. There’s no legal option to avoid it or not comply. If you run the risk of non-compliance, the consequences can be severe. Think: financial penalties, shutting down a facility, or long-lasting damage to your company’s reputation. 

It’s true that Encamp’s compliance management software really does simplify the Tier II reporting process. It even automates Tier II submissions for you to portals in all 50 states. But for those of us on the Customer Success and Compliance teams at Encamp, we come from environmental compliance backgrounds and know the pressures of submitting reports on time and with consistent levels of accuracy. Therefore, our aim really is to make Tier II reporting easier for you and keep it from disrupting your life for weeks on end.  

From experience — and with empathies for everyone who currently manages Tier II efforts — here are eight tips (categorized accordingly) that can help you survive the trials of Tier II reporting. 

Avoid common environmental compliance oversights

Tip #1: Make sure you have updated and GHS-compliant Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) prior to reporting season.

This is one of the most common errors we see in Tier II reporting every year. In line with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires that any SDS “must be revised within three months after a chemical manufacturer or employer becomes aware of new information concerning the hazards of a chemical.” 

Therefore per EPCRA regulations, make sure each facility required to report includes an updated SDS that meets GHS requirements. EPCRA further mandates that revised SDSs also be submitted to all agencies that have the original SDS. The sooner you do this, the easier the heavy lifting will be for Tier II preparations later on. 

Two other helpful hints: Keep all SDSs in a single location, and minimize your number of suppliers whenever possible.

Tip #2: Confirm (and report) any short-term or seasonal chemicals onsite for projects, cleaning, temporary work, specialty products or R&D purposes.

Another common oversight is chemical data you wouldn’t normally think to capture. EPCRA Section 312 specifies that a business must account for any chemical present at a facility, for any given time during the year, that’s above the threshold planning quantity (TPQ) for an extremely hazardous substance. While a chemical might be onsite for only a short period of time, if it exceeds a state or federal threshold while at the facility, it must be reported. If you don’t, it’s a violation.

Stay aware of local Tier II reporting requirements 

Tip #3: Know when additional City/County reporting requirements apply in states in which you maintain facilities. 

Stay up to date with SERC and LEPC minutes that are applicable to your sites. (The EPA’s State Tier II Reporting Requirements and Procedures web page is a good starting point.) Also document in detail city/state nuances such as reportable quantities, reportable units of measure, and so on.

Gather Tier II data early

Tip #4: Don’t wait until the end of the year to start collecting compliance data.

For most companies, the Tier II reporting lifecycle largely falls into four segments: Data collection, data validation, data input, and data submissions. Especially for data collection and validation, a good rule of thumb is to have data ready to review the first week of January. 

The list on the right is only an example lifecycle of data-oriented tasks, but it should give you an idea of what we mean by getting started “early.” (Note that we’ve added the months/ranges as a general timeline for when activities could take place.)

Data collection

  • Outreach to sites/facilities (usually between July-November) 
  • Data collection and determining TPQs at each facility (this can include gathering purchasing records and other inventory information, too) 
  • Data collection returned for Tier II preparations (December)

Data validation

  • Initial data validation (December-January)

Data input 

  • Data entry to state reporting (January – February)
  • Data entry reviewed and signed

Data submissions 

  • Admin work completed (March 1 reporting deadline)
  • Inventory management (302, 311, ongoing)

Go digital

Moving from spreadsheets and cutting-pasting information to managing data in digital format is a big jump. And whereas some companies and their EHS teams have made that jump via digital transformation, many others have yet to.  

If you haven’t formally “gone digital” for your Tier II reporting tasks and processes already, you should still digitize compliance documents and EHS records at every opportunity. These can be purchasing records, inventory updates from the plant floor, SDS records, virtually any document tied to EHS Operations, compliance, and reporting. 

Benefit-wise, digitization helps eliminate labor intensive manual work. When data is digitized, it’s efficiently maintained, easily located, and readily accessed — all electronically. Digitization is also key to these final four tips.

Tip #5: Keep site maps readily available, and update them when changes occur at your facility. 

In general, the longstanding practice for facility site maps has been to just print out the map for each facility and clearly indicate the locations of all chemicals. Any changes in a facility’s storage location(s) or other requirements can trigger updates to the map, at which point the map gets printed out again and changes are marked up manually. 

But digitize such maps, and changes can be made (and tracked) electronically — and far more efficiently. Also opposed to printouts in binders, digitized site maps are more readily available and accessible on a laptop or mobile device.

Tip #6: Keep an updated contacts register in a single location. 

Keeping track of contacts information is usually mundane, manual work. So it isn’t surprising how often facility-level emergency contacts are overlooked, not updated, or not properly verified prior to submitting a Tier II report. When this information is maintained electronically, and especially in one place, it’s much easier to originate and update.

Tip #7: Ensure that all Facility Site Contacts have access to an electronic resource on the requirements of Tier II so they can keep you up to date on changes (consistent training).

In order to answer any questions from the SERC, LEPC, or local fire department, the contact person listed for a facility must be knowledgeable both about the chemicals onsite and the resulting Tier II report, its content and its accuracy. (Ok, this is where I make a pitch for Encamp). If you need access to a library of regular EPCRA and Tier II reporting requirement updates, the Encamp platform has the capability to let you verify their applicability for each specific facility. One of my colleagues also does nothing but track regulatory compliance updates in all 50 states, keeping your compliance top of mind. 

Tip #8: Create a single source of truth for reporting and institutional knowledge.

Digital records can be centralized electronically in a single repository and made accessible to those who need the information via data networks, private clouds, or a SaaS-based platform. When EHS teams organize reporting data this way, it becomes seamless — making it easier to share data in a timely manner, minimize human error, conduct QC/QA processes, and generally maintain information year-round. Data becomes more “intelligent” and trusted, and stays ready for reviews as soon as the new calendar year begins.

(Read the Hexion case study to learn how they centralized data and Tier II reporting across their company and regional facilities.)

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.

Tier II reporting for EPCRA compliance rarely follows a smooth path for any EHS team. 

When we meet with EHS and Operations managers, for instance, most of them tell us their biggest hurdles for reporting are tracking down and validating data. Another common issue they point out is making sure each facility that’s reporting meets all state-level regulatory requirements before submission. Say you have 25 facilities across various states, does each site need to file a Tier II report? And if they do, where are they in the process? 

When facilities do need to report, keeping them on task for activities like data collection and confirming chemical inventories can be a daily hurdle. It’s worse when a company operates dozens or hundreds of facilities. As organizational size increases, so does the complexity of Tier II reporting — including tracking new requirements, accessing multiple state portals, and manually submitting reports and paying fees. 

“That’s a pain in itself,” these managers say, since the majority of them oversee sites in multiple states and local jurisdictions. 

For a lot of us at Encamp — especially our Compliance and Customer Success teams — we empathize. We come from EHS and environmental compliance backgrounds ourselves. So if you’re in charge of reporting, we want to help you however we can.

“Given all the things we have to deal with for Tier II, how can Encamp help us streamline our data management tasks and make reporting easier?”

Fair question… and one we love to answer. When you use Encamp’s Tier II Reporting module, you can standardize data collection across sites, track reporting progress for every facility, ensure reporting accuracy with built in data validation, and automate reporting and submissions across states and territories as well as local agencies. 

In short, you simplify your Tier II reporting by streamlining every step that leads up to the final submission. 

Watch the video here (it’s just under 3 minutes) to see what simplified Tier II reporting looks like, and then connect the dots in your reporting lifecycle on the other side.

A quick tour of Encamp’s Tier II Reporting module

 

The Tier II Reporting module and your reporting lifecycle

For most (but not all) companies, the reporting lifecycle largely falls into four segments: Data collection, data validation, data input, and data submissions. If there’s a need in your organization to manage these segments comprehensively at the facility level, our Tier II Reporting module helps you do it in a streamlined, automated manner.

For your company’s annual reporting lifecycle, use the following sections to gauge how effectively the Tier II Reporting module could benefit your reporting practices and compliance program. (Note that we’ve added the months/ranges as a general timeline for when reporting activities typically occur. )

Data collection for report preparations

Tier II Reporting module actions

Data validation for reporting accuracy

Tier II Reporting module actions

Data input at the state level

Tier II Reporting module actions

Data submissions to meet the Tier II deadline

Tier II Reporting module actions

You’ve reached the finish line! This is where your nightmares of state portals come to an end.  

To recap

In one place with the Tier II Reporting module, you automate Tier II reporting and submissions and manage facility-level data, regulatory requirements and compliance reports for every facility in your company. You also verify reporting requirements per facility, create a single source of truth for reporting, and validate and review data at every step of report preparation for each applicable site. 

EHS leaders also get a 360° view of each facility’s reporting activities and progress: Number and percent of reports completed, the number of days to March 1, facilities that have already filed, and ones that still need to start the process. Encamp then automatically submits your Tier II reports electronically to all respective states, and pays filing fees on your company’s behalf, including for SERCs, LEPCs, and fire departments. 

The result is complete confidence in your submitted reports — and a good night’s sleep.

Even better, with automated data management and environmental compliance reporting — and in a streamlined and consistent manner year-over-year — you make Tier II reporting repeatable, faster, simpler, and more accurate. Because at Encamp, our goal has always been to eliminate the pains of Tier II reporting. 

Happy reporting!

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.

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