Facilities that store and manage extremely hazardous chemicals (EHS) are subject to EPCRA Tier II reporting requirements and must submit Safety Data Sheets and inventory information to the SERC, LEPC, and the local fire department. These essential documents provide emergency planners and responders with the information they need to effectively and safely respond to an emergency at their facility.

To get the information needed for timely chemical inventory reporting for Tier II compliance, accurate and well-managed Safety Data Sheets are needed. Unfortunately, many EHS professionals are still spending much of their time digging through emails, spreadsheets, and binders filled with dusty, outdated SDSs that don’t provide the crucial information facilities and first responders need.

Thankfully, cutting through the chaos and bringing clarity to managing and updating Tier II Safety Data Sheets is possible. When EHS teams centralize and digitize the information enterprise-wide, they say goodbye to the never-ending struggle of SDS management and give stakeholders at every level the ability to access the information where and when they need it.

Organizations that digitize their Tier II Safety Data Sheets will see these five benefits.

1. Gain quicker access to safety data sheets

If an EHS managers’ SDS library consists of scattered paper trails that live in physical binders or PDFs, spread across personal computers and email, they’re more likely to get a paper cut or a headache than find the information they need as quickly as they need it. These issues only grow for larger organizations with many facilities scattered across multiple states. However, when SDS management is digitized, everything is centralized in one searchable location, so stakeholders can have ready access to the information they need instantly and not waste time looking for data that is misplaced.

2. Report clean, accurate Tier II safety data sheets

Many EHS teams that still maintain a paper-based SDS library are in rough shape and most likely have repetitive or outdated documents. Over time, chemical manufacturers may adjust or add new chemicals to the composition of their products. Without the most recent SDS, their company may be under or over-reporting existing chemicals or not reporting new additions.

Unfortunately, traditional SDS management systems offer no easy way to clean up and update Tier II chemical inventories, especially across the entire organization and multiple facilities. However, duplicates and outdated documents are easier to spot when digitized, leading to a cleaner, more compliant SDS that is ready to submit. Accurate SDS reporting also means providing emergency planners and first responders with timely and correct data that will allow them to protect lives, manage panic, and provide effective communication if an emergency incident ever arises.

3. Pull and update safety data sheets in bulk

Pulling and updating SDS information in bulk is challenging when everything is on paper, but even when using PDFs. Often EHS managers must open every SDS to find the information they need. Using specialized SDS management systems that centralizes and standardizes a company’s chemical product library simplifies those tasks necessary for Tier II compliance.

Also, as new chemicals arrive and others are used up or moved out, digitizing and centralizing the product library provides EHS teams visibility over the chemicals they have on site. Now they can keep a closer, more accurate account of changes to chemical thresholds in real-time, throughout the year, instead of checking PDFs individually.

4. Improve communication and collaboration

Because SDSs are not connected between systems used within an organization, EHS managers often need to download from one system to upload to another. This movement creates the unintended risk of developing inaccurate copies of SDSs, a compliance risk. Digital SDS management systems allow for intercommunication between systems, eliminating this issue.

5. Minimize time-consuming administrative tasks and errors

EHS managers must continuously monitor product inventory to comply with changing thresholds and requirements for chemical reporting for Tier II. Unfortunately, many do this by manually opening each SDS to get the needed information. Not only is this time-consuming, but it also runs the risk of incorrect hand-entered data. Digital SDS management systems have the ability to integrate data from various systems into a single source, take the human factor out, and provide users with data they can feel confident about.

A modern solution to an age-old problem

SDS digitization makes Tier II reporting faster, simpler, and more accurate by centralizing and standardizing a company’s chemical product library to ensure EPCRA compliance. Learn more about Encamp’s EPCRA Solution that streamlines and automates 302 notifications, 311 notifications, and Tier II reporting.

Transforming 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 sheer amount of compliance data and Tier II reporting requirements EHS managers have to track can make environmental compliance hard to achieve when timeliness and accuracy are such a central focus. 

Having a checklist on hand during each phase of the Tier II reporting process makes sure no detail is left unturned. That’s why we’ve created a helpful Tier II Reporting Checklist, perfect for breaking down the three main periods of Tier II reporting from data collection, reporting submissions, and compliance audits into bite-sized tasks. 

In this article, we’re focusing on the top tasks EHS managers can follow today to stay proactive and save time when verifying data and reporting requirements:

      1. Gather purchasing information and inventory to make sure new chemicals or quantities are captured.
      2. Compare the current year’s purchasing and facility contact information from the previous year’s Tier II report.
      3. Verify login details and changes in requirements for individual states facilities are reporting in.
      4. Reach out early to the SERC, LEPC, or local fire departments for specific questions.

Proactively Verify Your Tier II Data and State Requirements

Although facilities that store hazardous chemicals on-site usually start preparing to submit reports for Tier II during the start of the year, they often find themselves needing more time to actually verify the data they have. In the EHS industry, it is typical for compliance data to come from multiple disconnected sources and is often difficult to centralize into one single location. And although state or local requirements may not change all the time, the volume of jurisdictions facilities are in make it difficult to verify requirements and logins one-by-one as well.

Arming yourself and your team with a well-designed checklist will help keep them calm, organized, and compliant. By foreseeing chemical inventory changes early and anticipating small details –  such as changes in portal login and emergency contacts – your team will be equipped to report accurately and on time.

Prepare for the Tier II Reporting Deadline

Collecting and verifying compliance data and reporting requirements is an important part of keeping the Tier II reporting progress on track. However, this is only the beginning and each part of the process requires a proactive stance, especially report submissions. When individual state portals open on January 1st up until the submission deadline of March 1st, EHS teams continue to face labor-intensive tasks that come with handling annual Tier II reports internally from report submissions, sending mailers, and processing payments. This is why it’s still strongly recommended for EHS teams to keep a Tier II Reporting Checklist on-hand, to make sure every task needed during the reporting period is accounted for. 

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.

How confident are you with EPCRA Tier II reporting for lead-acid batteries?

During our last virtual event, Mastering Compliance Reporting for Lead-Acid Batteries, regulatory compliance experts discussed the most critical lead-acid battery compliance issues confronting EHS managers today before answering questions from the audience.


Speakers included:

Jennifer Collins, former Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance Manager, IDEM
Eugene Simonds, Compliance Program Manager, Encamp




Watch the full webinar on-demand to learn tried-and-tested, compliance expert-approved strategies to bring your facility into compliance with Tier II requirements.

To get you started, here are our top three takeaways:

Proactively Assesses Your Chemical Inventory for Tier II Reporting

A lead acid battery is a rechargeable battery that produces electricity by creating a controlled chemical reaction from submerging lead plates in sulfuric acid.  

When we think of Tier II  reporting, the first thing that pops into our heads are the most hazardous chemicals we have in the largest volumes. However, even though sulfuric acid is designated an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) by the EPA, lead-acid batteries often get overlooked due to their low chemical volume and prevalence within the industry. 

Before bringing new batteries on site, it’s important to remember that because of sulfuric acid’s EHS designation, Tier II reporting thresholds for lead-acid batteries typically are lower. As soon as your facility meets the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ) of 1,000 pounds, you must submit a 302 report to the SERC and LEPC and will be required to fulfill additional emergency planning requirements. 

Reporting deadlines for facilities that bring lead acid batteries that meet threshold requirements depends on the facility’s jurisdiction, and local requirements may be much shorter than the 60-day federal requirement. For example, facilities meeting reporting thresholds in Pennsylvania have just five days to submit this notification. 

Be Thoughtful When Calculating Sulfuric Acid in Lead Acid Batteries

With lead-acid batteries being so prevalent and containing a relatively low volume, calculating the total amount of sulfuric acid each facility has is challenging. The first step is to find the amount of acid in each battery. 

To do that, you must know the battery weight and what percentage of sulfuric acid it contains. You can find this information on the battery’s spec sheet, which provides battery weight and its safety data sheet (SDS), which will have the percentage of sulfuric acid. Now, multiply those two numbers together, and you have an approximate amount of acid inside the battery. 

Approach Lead-acid Battery Damage with Caution

It’s important to know that if you have a damaged battery, a release of 1,000 pounds triggers notification requirements to the SERC, LEPC, and National Response Center. How you report will vary depending on the location of your facility, and there may also be additional reporting requirements. 

However, these reporting requirements only apply to sulfuric acid that leaves your facility. Therefore, if you spill 1,000 pounds of sulfuric acid but capture, clean, and dispose of it properly, there are no EPCRA notification requirements. 

Download our Lead-Acid Batteries Guide: The Ultimate Reporting Kit to learn more about reporting lead-acid batteries as a mixture or component, as well as other expert-approved strategies shared by our experts.

How Encamp Can Help

If you’re like many EHS managers who struggle with how to report lead-acid batteries for Tier II, don’t worry. If you address these three critical mistakes, you will be well on your way towards EPCRA Tier II compliance. 

Encamp 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.

No matter what industry they’re in, many businesses have started using lithium-ion batteries as an alternative energy solution to maximize their bottom line, for good reason. Compared to its lead-acid battery counterpart, a lithium-ion battery is 95% more efficient.  However, reporting lithium-ion batteries for Tier II continues to raise questions for EHS teams.

Although lithium-ion batteries are sealed, they have the potential to leak flammable chemicals. Due to this, EPCRA requires facilities to complete a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and Tier II report if the applicable reporting thresholds for batteries on-site are met or exceeded.

3 Common Questions for Lithium-Ion Battery Reporting

Here are three common questions usually asked on whether lithium-ion batteries fall under a facility’s specific Tier II reporting requirements:

      1. When is a Tier II report required for lithium-ion batteries?
      2. What are the Tier II reporting thresholds for these kinds of batteries?
      3. How does a facility report lithium-ion batteries for Tier II? 

1. When is a Tier II report required for lithium-ion batteries?

Some lithium-ion batteries qualify under EPCRA Section 311(e)’s “consumer product exemption,” which excludes from reporting “any substance to the extent it is used for personal, family, or household purposes, or is present in the same form and concentration as a product packaged for distribution and use for the general public.” 

When determining whether any lithium-ion batteries at a facility are exempt from Tier II reporting, consider if they’re in the same packaging and concentrations as lithium-ion batteries sold for personal use.  If the answer is yes, regardless of whether they’re intended to be distributed for use by the general public or used for the same purpose as a consumer product, then those batteries are exempt.

All other large commercial type lithium-ion batteries stored in a facility are not exempt and should be included in a Tier II report. For example:

Report batteries that are used to power forklifts, because these batteries are not sold for use by the general public.

Report solar batteries of a particular size (approximately 100kWh) that typically have only industrial applications.

Don’t report batteries that the maintenance department uses to power their cordless drills, because these are batteries sold for use by the general public (i.e., the same batteries available for purchase at a hardware store).

Don’t report solar batteries of a particular size (approximately 3 kWh) that consumers would use in their homes. 

A gray area exists in what constitutes a lithium-ion battery packaged for distribution and use for the general public. The burden for making this determination is on the facility and they should be able to justify why lithium-ion batteries are exempt.

If you’re in any doubt about whether an exemption applies at a specific facility, be sure to err on the side of caution and report the batteries as a chemical. Doing so will cover the facility from a regulatory compliance perspective, while also increasing safety for first responders and emergency planners. If further guidance is needed, it’s best to reach out to the SERC or LEPC.


2. What are the Tier II reporting thresholds for lithium-ion batteries?

Step 1: Determine the reporting threshold

Because lithium-ion batteries are flammable and present potential safety issues, they’re subject to EPCRA regulations and the reporting thresholds determined for Tier II filing. But unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries do NOT contain any Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS). Therefore, the reporting threshold for lithium-ion batteries (at the federal level) is 10,000 pounds.

At a state and local level, reporting thresholds are more complex in that they vary among states and even counties and local jurisdictions. While many states have adopted the 10,000-pound reporting threshold for hazardous chemicals, a handful of states have lower Tier II reporting thresholds. This makes it imperative to determine the appropriate requirements for a specific state. For example, Louisiana has a hazardous chemical reporting threshold of just 500 pounds — meaning, having just one lithium-ion battery for a forklift may be enough to require Tier II reporting.

In other cases, specific counties and cities may have even lower reporting thresholds. For example, Gilbert, Arizona has stricter reporting requirements than the state-level.

Step 2: Perform the threshold determination

Now that it’s been determined a Tier II report is needed and what the reporting threshold is, the next step is to quantify the amount of lithium-ion batteries at a facility and make a threshold determination. There are two options available when performing a threshold determination:

Quantifying as Mixture 

Quantifying by Component

In nearly every situation, it’s more appropriate to perform a threshold determination using Option 1, for these reasons:

If a facility has previously fulfilled obligations for EPCRA Section 311 (SDS reporting) by reporting their lithium-ion batteries as a mixture, the same should be done on the facility’s Tier II report. The opposite is also true — if it’s previously reported as components on the Section 311 reporting, then the facility must do the same on its Tier II report.

To illustrate the difference in complexity between these two approaches, consider the following examples for the same facility (based on requirements in the State of Indiana).


Example 1. Quantifying as a mixture for the state of Indiana

quantifying lithium-ion batteries as a mixture

13,250 lb. > 10,000 lb. threshold – Lithium-ion batteries need to be reported at this facility.


Example 2. Quantifying by battery component (copper) for the state of Indiana

quantifying lithium-ion batteries by battery component

11,338 lb. > 10,000 lb. threshold – Copper would need to be reported at the facility.


Note: The exercise in Example 2, quantifying by battery component, would need to be repeated for each constituent in the batteries (lithium-cathode, lead, etc.).

If the threshold is being determined using threshold Option 1, quantifying as a mixture, the following information is needed:

As shown in Option 1, all that’s needed is to add up the total weight of the lithium-ion batteries and compare the weight to the hazardous chemical reporting threshold.


3. How does a facility report lithium-ion batteries for Tier II?

Now that the quantity of reportable batteries has been confirmed, and it’s been determined that it exceeds applicable thresholds, the last step is creating a Tier II report. Here, we discuss the individual sections that need to be completed. Note: Where examples are provided, the data and scenario from Example 1 are used.

Chemical details in a Tier II submission

Although the Tier II reporting portal interface will vary depending on the state, the following will be true when reporting lithium-ion batteries:

Physical and health hazards

Most lithium-ion batteries will have similar hazards, but it is very important to reference the lithium-ion battery SDS from the manufacturer specific to the batteries at a facility. This way, first responders and emergency planners will be working with the most accurate information. Hazards can typically be found in Section 2 of your SDS.

Typical hazards as they are reported on a Tier II report may be:

Physical hazards:

Health hazards:

Storage locations

Lithium-ion battery storage locations will consistently be reported with the following properties:

Frequently Asked Questions

I have different SDSs for different types of lithium-ion batteries at my facility. Should I consider them different mixtures, each with their own reporting threshold?

Generally no. While it is ultimately up to the facility to use professional judgment to determine whether the amounts of two mixtures (e.g., two batteries from two separate manufacturers) should be aggregated or counted separately, most lithium-ion batteries present the same physical or health hazards and should be aggregated for threshold determinations. 

How do I determine the weight of my lithium-ion batteries?

First, determine the manufacturer and model number of the battery. Most manufacturers post specifications (including weight) on their website for the various lithium-ion battery models they sell. If the weight specification of a particular battery model is unavailable, contact the manufacturer directly.


Reporting lithium-ion batteries on a Tier II report is critical

Again, even though lithium-ion batteries are sealed, they can leak or spill and cause potential exposure to hazardous chemicals. Their flammability also presents safety concerns for local emergency agencies as well as fire departments and first responders. Reporting lithium-ion batteries on a Tier II report therefore is critical. This guide helps facilities ensure their report is accurate. Do you have further questions about reporting lithium-ion batteries? Reach out and learn how Encamp can simplify environmental compliance data and reporting for you.


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.

At Encamp, we’re dedicated to taking a proactive approach to security, compliance, and data privacy for businesses and their environmental, health, and safety (EHS) compliance operations, particularly given the volume of EHS data entrusted to us by our customers. Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) and Tier II reporting requirements specified in EPCRA Section 312, facilities storing or using chemicals determined to be hazardous substances by the EPA are required to file their chemical inventory data annually via a Tier II form.

The purpose of a Tier II report is to provide each State, local officials, and the public with specific information on the potential hazards chemicals can pose within a facility. Tier II reporting also encompasses hazardous materials stored elsewhere on site. As of 2022, Encamp has filed more than 13,000 Tier II reports for our customers, a number that continues to grow exponentially. Therefore, we’re excited to share Encamp’s EHS environmental data management software has reached another important milestone and is now SOC 2 Type 2 certified.


For EHS Data, What Does it Mean to be SOC 2 Type 2 Compliant?

Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Type 2 is a voluntary compliance standard set by the American Institute of CPAs for leading technology companies that offer cloud-based products. It also specifies how an organization should manage customer data defined by a rigorous set of criteria called the five trust service principles: Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy.

In Encamp’s case, these criteria were used by independent auditor Schellman & Company LLC to evaluate how well Encamp manages its customer data and ensures that we have strong security controls in place to protect the EHS data they report. 

Being SOC 2 (Type 1 and 2) compliant means we have successfully demonstrated, as independently verified by a third-party audit, that Encamp’s EHS compliance software has the gold standard of privacy and security controls in place to ensure our customers their most important data is kept safe and secure from all threats.


“Encamp prides itself on our core value of being customer obsessed. Our customers’ trust is essential and is rooted in everything we do. Achieving our SOC 2 Compliance directly aligns with that core value, providing proof and confidence to our customers that Encamp is committed to ensuring that their data is kept secure and private.”

Brandon Muller, Sr. Security and DevOps Engineer at Encamp

What does this SOC 2 Certification mean for Encamp’s EHS Compliance Software?

Encamp chooses to view our SOC 2 Compliance as an investment, rather than a “necessary evil.” Maintaining our SOC 2 compliance assures current and prospective customers of our commitment to protecting both their EHS data and associated corporate information, improves our employee’s vigilance, and reduces the risk of a security event or data breach.

In meeting Tier II reporting requirements for EPCRA and environmental compliance, businesses who work with Encamp can be confident their EHS data maintains the highest levels of completeness, accuracy, and safety throughout the Tier II filing process. Learn more about Encamp’s Security Statement.


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 EHS leaders facing constant changes in chemical inventories and regulatory requirements, collecting EHS data for Tier II reporting on a continual basis promotes informed decision making.

To make the kinds of environmental compliance decisions that prevent non-compliance violations, EHS leaders must have clear, accurate, up to date data readily available at all times

Yet even the most seasoned EHS managers and professionals say collecting facility data for Tier II reports can be exhausting. Decentralized systems, spreadsheets, and a basic lack of time and structure often make the process harder than it should be. But there’s are better ways to get ahead of data collection for Tier II reporting.


Continuous Tier II Data Collection: Best Practices and Takeaways

In the first of a 3-part March to March virtual event series from Encamp, we discussed how to improve the data collection process for Tier II by rethinking it. To start, here are three best practices to consider:

    1. Make time to collect and validate compliance data regularly throughout the year. When Tier II data isn’t available or becomes outdated, it’s hard to fill the cracks. 
    2. Standardize data collection processes to make them repeatable year after year. This drives efficiency — and means no more starting from scratch every reporting year.
    3. Identify evergreen tasks that compliance stakeholders can complete at any time during the year. Any completed task is a head start to meeting the Tier II reporting deadline.

At Encamp, we can’t say this enough: The secret to ensuring accurate Tier II reporting is to make data collection a continuous priority first. 

Make more time to collect and validate compliance data 

Depending on chemical inventories, classifications (see the EPA List of Lists), Tier II reporting thresholds and the number of facilities a team must report, one or two months to gather needed compliance information for reporting isn’t always enough. To fully meet EPCRA guidelines, collected EHS data must also be validated and checked for completeness. Where multiple states are involved or when regulations have been updated or changed, EHS operations must additionally verify data applicability for Tier II reporting requirements

Almost every EHS professional we’ve worked with expresses how tracking down compliance data for a Tier II report is too time-consuming. Sometimes it can literally take weeks or even months, on top of other compliance and sustainability initiatives their team is responsible for. But given the consequences of constant regulatory changes, potential reporting violations, and non-compliance, data collection is a critical task — and EHS leaders must make time for their team to complete it. So instead of starting data collection in January, why not implement a more continuous process from August through December to have data ready to review in January?


Continuous EHS data collection for Tier II promotes informed decision making in response to constant changes in chemical inventories and regulatory requirements.

Standardize and streamline data collection tasks

The lack of time and a structured process for data collection makes Tier II reporting more difficult than it should be. However, rushing compliance reporting can result in invalidated data and missing details that regulators see as red flags. The following safeguards can be invaluable for EHS teams.

More specifically, streamline data collection tasks for distributed facilities — which is especially critical when sites are located in various states. Technology-wise, systems like Encamp let your team digitize and centralize data for product inventories, then standardize the process your facilities and EHS operations use to gather and validate that data. Once a process becomes a standardized function, making it repeatable is an inherent next step to streamlining data collection tasks over an extended period of time, as well as from one facility to the next.

Further, when technology is a single unified platform, it provides a foundation on which to integrate to existing enterprise systems, build data pipelines to individual facilities, and create a core data repository that all EHS data feeds into from these and other sources, such as spreadsheets and even emails. Archiving data this way, along with previous years’ Tier II reports, also gives you a comprehensive, auditable record that regulators appreciate.

Make Tier II reporting strategic across sites

At the facility level, site managers should be able to confirm their facility’s compliance responsibilities by fully determining current product inventory, including thresholds for each reportable chemical. Managers should then reach out to their respective State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) to make sure the data being collected is in accordance with specific state and local requirements.

For EHS operations, this approach makes Tier II reporting more strategic across sites. More importantly, it provides a safety net to keep details from slipping through the cracks that could result in reporting non-compliance. 

Get evergreen tasks out of the way early

Again, the process for EHS data collection is better when collection and validation tasks are scheduled on an extended timeline. It sounds simple, but this is where starting data collection and completing associated tasks in August instead of January-February is a benefit for EHS professionals who are constantly stretched for time. Starting earlier in the year also fits the rule of thumb to have EHS data ready to review by early January for the March 1 Tier II filing date.

From August through December, for instance, focus on evergreen tasks that can be completed at any time: Track changes to reporting requirements at all levels. Confirm emergency contacts at your facilities and update their info as needed. Get in touch with appropriate SERCs, LEPCs and Fire Departments to answer any questions you have, and to build and maintain those relationships. Even review and update things like facility sitemaps and safety data sheets (SDSs). 

Come crunch time to start compiling your Tier II reports, evergreen tasks such as these will already be completed.


Data equals knowledge. The earlier you have data, the better position you’ll be in to make informed reporting decisions.

A Checklist to Simplify the Tier II Data Collection Process

In collecting EHS data for Tier II reporting, a checklist is a foundation to standardize and track data collection tasks across facilities. But the new Tier II checklist from Encamp’s regulatory compliance experts goes a step further. 

For continuous compliance throughout the year, it lets EHS operations prioritize data collection tasks from August to December while creating a data gathering process that’s streamlined, repeatable and efficient. The intent of this timeframe is to have all data collected the first week of January, while allowing compliance stakeholders to analyze and validate data as information is collected, eliminate gaps (and doubt) in the data itself, and make informed reporting decisions as part of the process. The extended timeframe for data collection further allows more time to compile and submit final Tier II reports before the March 1 due date for EPCRA. 

    1. Annual Tier II reports often rely on a variety of data managed by different groups of people: EHS leaders, teams, facility managers, and other stakeholders such as purchasing and shipping departments. Encamp’s centralized platform for direct data entry and tracking reduces the time and effort required to aggregate data across your organization — and do so accurately. 
    2. Along with collecting data for a new reporting year, EHS leaders must often compare it with reporting data from previous years to make sure any and all changes are accounted for. This is where leaders can confirm changes to product inventories, thresholds, regulations, emergency contacts at facilities level and so on. Comparing data lets them determine whether certain new EPCRA notifications must be submitted, or even when Tier II reports don’t need to be filed. 
    3. Environmental laws continually evolve and are regularly amended on both a state and local level, which makes it difficult to collect and track data specific to a compliance program’s requirements. With Encamp, automated threshold calculations for each product can be applied broadly across the organization rather than in a piecemeal fashion during report compilation. Adjusting threshold calculations because of a regulation or permit change is much more manageable when a set of calculations is automated and tracked in a single platform. 

Getting started on Tier II data collection

The following tasks for data collection are just one segment of Encamp’s Tier II checklist.

Evergreen tasks that you can do monthly:

One final, critical note: Sitemaps are important information for first responders to have in the case of an incident, as are SDSs and the info for facility emergency contacts. For every facility that falls under EPCRA requirements, updating this information anytime something changes is a crucial step that states often require for Tier II reports. 

Watch the March to March: Data Collection webinar on-demand for more expert insights on successful Tier II 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.

As if environmental compliance reporting isn’t confusing enough. What chemicals, for instance, does the EPA consider “hazardous.” If they are hazardous, what are their Tier II reporting thresholds? And why do Tier II reporting requirements (a.k.a., Tier 2 reporting requirements) for states and local jurisdictions constantly change? 

When EPA reports are inaccurate, incomplete, or never even filed when they’re required to be, the last thing compliance leaders need are notifications of non-compliance and potential EPA violation fines. Nor do many EHS teams have the time and resources to spend on remediating EPA violations, instead of working on higher priority initiatives like sustainability. 

Within the scope of environmental compliance reporting, the best way to avoid any violation is to first understand what constitutes non-compliance. Equally vital is understanding how proper reporting can guard against your organization being reported in environmental complaints or for a company violation of some kind.

What Is an EPA Violation Where Reporting is Concerned?

There are far too many potential causes of compliance and Tier 2 reporting violations to delve into here. There’s also no “official” EPA violations list, per se. But a good example of documented violation triggers comes from an EPA alert that took effect in November 2021 for Tier 2 reporting year 2022.

To address chemical storage concerns for EPCRA, the EPA issued an Enforcement Alert on the Risks of Improper Storage of Hazardous Chemicals at Chemical Warehouses and Distribution Facilities. The Alert noted that businesses filing compliance reports constantly failed to:

Among these concerns, the failure to submit a Tier II form is clearly a violation. Less clear, however, is an issue such as an up-to-date Safety Data Sheet (SDS). 

Safety Data Sheets are often outdated

Even when SDSs are filed as needed to meet Tier 2 reporting requirements, they’re often outdated and don’t meet OSHA’s modified Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The HCS guideline in turn conforms to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Given that compliance stakeholders must sometimes manage hundreds of SDSs for their product inventory, then, HCS and GHS guidelines can easily get overlooked and be cited as an EPA report violation. 

Worse than a reporting violation, outdated Safety Data Sheets can put first responders and communities in danger when the latest safety information for hazardous chemicals isn’t fully made available.

But a much worse consequence is that out-of-date SDSs can put first responders and local communities in danger when the latest safety information for hazardous chemicals isn’t fully made available. Fortunately, EHS-based technology can now actually extract and update the information in SDSs to ensure the information they contain is accurate. 

Other common errors in EPA reports that can lead to violations 

Outdated and insufficient SDSs are just one of many common Tier II reporting errors EHS teams encounter every year. For program areas like EPCRA and RCRA, such errors often result from having to interpret EPA reporting requirements that change constantly — especially at the state and local level — or that aren’t always clear to begin with. A good example is how to report mixtures for lead-acid batteries and the confusion it can lead to. 

A lack of visibility

Another root cause of reporting errors is not having adequate visibility into information and compliance data. Along with SDSs, for example, errors in chemical inventory lists and reporting thresholds can easily go undetected if not monitored regularly. Outdated emergency contact and site plan info at facilities likewise often goes undetected until it’s pointed out in an EPA notice of violation. Like outdated SDSs in the event of a disaster, not being able to reach an emergency contact or knowing where hazardous chemicals are stored at a site can put first responders at risk. 

The EPA reportable quantity list

Other frequent errors can be traced to the EPA reportable quantity list, commonly known as the List of Lists, for chemicals reported under EPCRA, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Clean Air Act (CAA). One common issue stemming from the list is that businesses incorrectly mark chemicals as extremely hazardous substances (EHSs). Here again, a lack of visibility into chemical inventories can result in chemicals being mislabeled or miscounted by way of quantity. 

Further, especially in distributed companies, chemicals often tend to get reported inconsistently across facilities, leaving chemical inventories to get reported inaccurately. By digitizing data for chemical lists, inventories, threshold quantities and so on, compliance leaders and EHS teams can more effectively manage their product inventory and properly identify chemicals to avoid non-compliance violations. 

Or, as was the case in the following EPA violation, a company can simply fail to report certain chemicals when required.

EPA violation fines and settlements: One recent example

In one recent example of EPA cases and settlements, the agency took action against a chemical warehousing company in June 2022 for “unsafe practices and inadequate reporting.” Environmental complaints in the case centered on “alleged” violations of both the CAA’s General Duty Clause (GDC) and EPCRA requirements for reporting years 2019 and 2020. (The recurring reporting violations likely did not sit well with EPA inspectors.)

Specifically, the warehousing company failed to report several EHSs under EPCRA Section 311 and 312 chemical inventory reporting requirements, and in line with CAA GDC requirements applicable to “sources producing, processing, handling, or storing EHSs.” As part of the EPA settlement, the company agreed to pay a penalty of $109,635, and to certify compliance with all of its CAA GDC and EPCRA requirements under the watchful eye of the EPA. The company also likely damaged its reputation — as a business, as a member of the community, and as a steward of the environment. 

Could more proactive environmental compliance reporting processes and guardrails like data visibility and automated regulatory alerts have helped prevent this particular EPA case? Most likely, yes. And as far as EPA violation fines go, the six-figure penalty in this case was steep, but not uncommon.

Are EPA violations getting more costly? 

In a compliance snapshot of EPA reports and non-compliance violations from Q4 2020, 150 settlement agreements for EPA violations cases resulted in total financial penalties of nearly $4.6 million for the timeframe. Most notable among them was one fuel distribution company that was fined more than $1.3 million when it violated the EPCRA Section 313 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and “failed to report the releases of several TRI-listed chemicals at its terminals, denying the public access to this information.” Yet again, such a failure put first responders and the nearby area at risk.  

Are steeper financial punishments like this warranted for companies that get cited for an EPA report violation? That’s really up to the Environmental Protection Agency administrators. But in the instance of the chemical warehousing company that failed to meet its EPCRA obligations, at least, the nearly $110,000 penalty they paid was part of a new EPA commandment.   

As EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash put it, “EPA was particularly concerned that emergency responders were not provided adequate information about the type and amount of chemicals stored on site, and that the facility is located in an area with environmental justice concerns.

“With this settlement, EPA is sending a strong message to companies that deal with dangerous chemicals — they have an obligation to comply with environmental laws in order to protect the communities around them.” 

Congress enacted EPCRA almost 40 years ago to protect local communities and emergency responders from potential accidents at facilities that manufacture, store, distribute or use hazardous chemicals. That’s why environmental compliance reporting has mattered since then, and still matters 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.

Accurate and timely EHS compliance requires reporting data to be both visible and clean, particularly at the facility level. When every facility’s compliance information meets the exact Tier II reporting requirements for program areas like EPCRA and RCRA, EHS and corporate leaders can rest easy. But when leaders don’t trust the data their facilities are reporting, they lose sleep. The penalties for non-compliance, after all, can get expensive.

Where dispersed facilities are involved, creating clarity in the compliance data you report for each site is the key to avoiding non-compliance violations. And clarity begins by centralizing the data for all facility locations — which starts by centralizing the way data is collected itself. Enterprise-wide, this enables stakeholders at every level of the EHS compliance function to:

  1. Increase data visibility across sites
  2. Ensure control throughout the compliance process
  3. Understand reporting nuances at all regulatory levels to stay in compliance

Centralize Data Collection for Visibility & Tier II Clarity 

More than any other aspect of compliance reporting, those three outcomes (rewards!) make centralizing how you collect, process and validate required data for every facility a must. So is keeping data in full view at every step.

Only 35% of executives have a high level of trust in their organization’s data. Source: Guardians of Trust, Forrester Consulting and KPMG International

A Tier II reporting need for businesses of all kinds

Businesses of all kinds maintain different facilities for production, distribution, fulfillment and the like, and often house hazardous chemicals of some type in those facilities. Even businesses that don’t always immediately come to mind. Think of non-store retailers, merchant wholesalers, general merchandisers, and companies in the food and beverage industry whose operations are often dispersed. Others could be businesses specializing in building materials, garden equipment and supplies, warehousing and storage, truck transportation, and rental and leasing services. 

While businesses such as these don’t manufacture hazardous chemicals, they do typically use and store them. That means the business is responsible for reporting chemicals included on the EPA List of Lists, and must do so with complete and accurate compliance data. 

Common problems for EHS compliance data management

For many businesses with distributed facilities, one glaring compliance reporting problem is siloed information sources and very few established data pipelines to each site they operate. Another problem is the lack of a single, central repository to organize and verify collected data for Tier II reports. Other issues? Manual data collection and disorganized spreadsheets. Little or no data visibility. Not fully understanding reporting requirements for respective state and local agencies. Even employee turnover can interrupt data collection and processing tasks and schedules.

Given hurdles like these, digital transformation firm Softengi — which provides many of its services to the EHS industry — has uncovered what they term “some sad statistics” for EHS teams in general:

There’s a better way to process data for compliance and Tier II reporting. 

Central Data Collection Across Facilities: 3 Rewards

Especially for data that lives in different places, such as spreadsheets and data systems that aren’t fully integrated, gaining greater control over information helps ensure that Tier II reports are accurate, as well as auditable. At one end of this effort is data collection. At the other is final Tier II reporting. In between is keeping data visible and being able to monitor it for accuracy throughout the process, all within a single continuous view. 

This is where environmental data management software can make a positive impact. The aim is to centralize data collection functions and establish a single data repository for all information across EHS compliance operations. Then for each facility you oversee, it becomes easier to track and access all required compliance information, from digitally storing safety data sheets (SDSs) to threshold determinations and proof of compliance.

The result is improved data processing for EHS compliance, and better clarity and understanding for Tier II reporting by enhancing these three aspects of the compliance function.

1. Increase data visibility across sites

Again, centralizing information from dispersed facilities into one place increases data visibility for tracking and validation. Think of things like confirming chemical inventories, determining thresholds, and verifying SDSs.

2. Ensure control throughout the compliance process

In terms of compliance, the process is a chain of events: Product characterization, data verification, and final report submissions. Having control over the entire EHS compliance process is imperative to ensure the quality, completeness and accuracy of data throughout all phases of data collection and report compilation, not just at the final submission stage. 

“The voracious appetite for data is a challenge in general,” according to Bob Johnson, Environmental Affairs Manager for Lennox International, which operates 250 distribution locations in 40 states. “And then you add multiple systems, various types of database management, and a proliferation of (state) reporting portals. Trying to stay ahead of it all is a huge challenge.”

Making sure the process and chain of events are connected and run efficiently helps streamline Tier II reporting as a whole.

3. Understand reporting nuances at all regulatory levels to stay in compliance 

When sites are located in various states, tracking compliance updates and notifications specific to an EHS program area or local regulatory level is an ongoing obstacle. Automated alerts and notifications in an environmental data management software system help EHS leaders navigate regulatory requirements (and even fee structures) from state to state and at local levels. 

Now, consider one more stat from a study by business data and reporting solutions provider Workiva, published on esgtoday.com: 

More than 70% of executives surveyed across multiple industries and regions reported they lack confidence in their organizations’ own ESG reporting, and nearly two thirds feel unprepared to meet ESG goals and disclosure requirements.

Most EHS leaders who juggle Tier II reporting data across different sites feel the same way.

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.

Consistently ensuring Tier II reporting accuracy for environmental compliance has long been an inexact science. Enter automation, and the emergence of EHS digital transformation, for more precise ways to collect compliance data, validate it, and file it in line with state and local Tier II reporting requirements. Just knowing the data you submit is accurate and void of non-compliance red flags is reason enough to automate the Tier II process. 

Yet the path to error-free Tier II reporting is constantly changing. For some common examples: Other pressing compliance initiatives pull EHS employees away from reporting. Tracking state and local regulations is an ongoing obstacle course, especially for updates. And as regulations get increasingly exact, verifying which ones apply to which facilities in which states and locales is mind-numbing.  

This is where automation goes further along the Tier II path than just final, accurate reports. Automating the process also lets EHS leaders:

Benefiting businesses of every kind

In the NAEM 2017 EHS&S Software Buyers Guide, 46% of EHS leaders said outdated software limited their operations’ compliance reporting effectiveness. It’s somewhat surprising, but that sentiment still holds true today: For many businesses and their EHS operations, a lack of technology like automation remains a roadblock to more efficient and accurate reporting. 

Also surprising is who these businesses are. Many are indeed ones that manufacture, store or use chemicals by the hundreds, with facilities in two or three states. But many others are ones like food and beverage chains, telecom companies, utilities, auto dealers and parts stores, repair and maintenance companies, and businesses that provide rental and leasing services. Or even gas stations and the oil & gas and pipeline transportation companies that provide the gas they sell. 

Such businesses typically maintain a low count of chemicals (by types and volume), and their business operations often include facilities across several states. Which means they’re still governed by state and local regulatory requirements for environmental compliance, must file Tier II reports — and can reap the same rewards of automating their reporting functions.   

3 More Positives of Automated Tier II Reporting 

This is where newer-generation environmental data management software comes in. By intersecting with EHS digital transformation to make automation possible, EHS stakeholders are able to enhance compliance reporting accuracy throughout the reporting process — in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local requirements, and all the way to final submissions, mailings to regulatory agencies, and even the process for paying filing fees.  

In between are three additional outcomes of automation that positively impact EHS operations as well as Tier II reporting.

1. Free up EHS resources for other environmental compliance priorities

Another aspect of environmental data management software and EHS digital transformation is the ability to digitize compliance data and centralize it in a single database. Automation takes over from there to reduce time spent inputting reporting information into different state portals, mailing hundreds of reports to local agencies (primarily LEPCs), and paying countless filing fees, among other tasks. The more EHS leaders and teams reduce their administrative burden, the more they can focus on other pressing strategic activities.

“For Tier II, in the past, we had about four EHS staff. But our recent focus on ESG has pulled some of those resources into other critical areas. Last year it was down to three, then it trimmed down to two. And this year (reporting year 2021), other than working with the people at each facility, I was down to me and you guys (at Encamp). So we’ve essentially replaced manpower with software.”

– Bob Johnson, Environmental Affairs Manager for Lennox International, which operates 250 distribution locations in 40 states

2. Navigate state and local regulations with expert support

Compliance updates and notifications specific to an EHS program area or local regulatory level present ongoing obstacles, especially when sites are located in various states. Automated alerts and notifications in an environmental data management software system help EHS leaders both track and navigate regulatory requirements (and even fee structures) from state to state and at local levels. This is particularly helpful in determining which sites are over threshold and must report for EHS compliance. 

“There’s no way to keep up with regulatory compliance issues across the U.S. and all 50 states. When you start getting into SERCs and LEPCs and their ever-changing requirements, it’s almost impossible because those requirements are changing so rapidly. So having a partner like Encamp to streamline (updates and notifications) is just phenomenal.”

– Denton Bruce, Senior Director of EHS at Bunzl Distribution, which maintains more than 200 facilities across the U.S. 

3. Manage regulatory and Tier II reporting requirements and mailings more effectively 

Go back to the issue of having to interpret constantly-changing regulatory requirements at the state and local level. It’s stressful, and can introduce a lot of doubt to the compliance reporting process. Reporting automation can actually help you be comfortable in managing complex regulations by verifying which ones apply to specific facilities and state and local agencies. Again, automated alerts and notifications serve notice to new regulations and others that have changed or been updated. 

And of course, automated reporting to all states and U.S. territories ensures that compliance reports and additional mailings meet all regulatory requirements and get to the right federal, state and local agencies.

Now, ask yourself a few questions

If any of the following situations are familiar, automating Tier II reporting tasks for EHS compliance should be a priority. Have you ever:

And here’s one last question: Did you ever think compliance reporting could be completed “at your convenience”? 

“Encamp has allowed us to modernize compliance reporting (largely via automation). Our compliance team is able to quickly review and prepare reports from our various locations across the country, at our convenience. There are summary screens which quickly organize the list of reports and the reporting status. Final reports are saved to a filing cabinet on a cloud-based system and are available any time we need them.” 

– Emily Z, EHS Manager (Capterra)

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.

“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.

footer illustration


A library of the latest guides,
reports, and best practices
for EHS professionals.
middle image
© 2022 Encamp, Inc. All Rights Reserved.