“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.

When our CEO and co-founder Luke Jacobs was asked recently what surprised him most about starting Encamp, his response was this:

“I’ve learned that starting and growing a company and innovating in a specific field takes years — but that, in time, it’s possible to make incredible progress.”

After introducing the groundbreaking Encamp technology in 2018 to make environmental compliance data management more efficient and reporting more accurate, our company’s trajectory has indeed been “incredible.” And in 2021, delivering for our customer’s success has never been more evident. 

2021 By the Numbers

For EPCRA compliance and Tier II reporting, customers used our solutions to prepare and file 3,761 reports for reporting year 2020… and collectively saved 32,047 hours in people hours to do it.

More impressively, our company’s growth in 2021 was marked by a 500% increase in ARR and 200% increase in people growth, setting the stage to more than double both areas by the end of 2022. Additionally on the growth front, Encamp expanded its customer scope throughout 2021 by closing four Fortune 500 customers, two customers from the Fortune 1000, two Global 500 customers, and one new customer from the Global 1000.

“Encamp is fortunate to have an elite team of experts who are passionate about creating software that supports our customers’ environmental endeavors with next-generation technology,” Jacobs said in announcing Encamp’s 2021 accomplishments. “Environmental compliance is essential, yet the need for efficient, purposeful, and data-driven technology for regulatory reporting continually goes unnoticed. We are trailblazing a solution for this untouched space, and our continued growth is a testament to closing the gap in compliance reporting.”

In all, Encamp’s success throughout 2021 reinforced our position as a
premier technology-driven system for environmental compliance and reporting. We also made definitive strides in our mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment.

Notable Encamp Achievements in 2021

Funding and leadership

In April, Encamp secured $12M in our Series B funding to further develop our technology platform and add key members to our strategic teams for leadership, engineering, customer experience, compliance, sales, marketing, and others. 

Key additions in 2021 included Ki Moon as Vice President of Revenue Operations, Samantha Strube as Head of People, Pauline Chen as Head of Product, and industry veteran Heather Shanahan, CPA as Chief Financial Officer. Heather in particular brings an 18-year track record from accounting and finance roles at tech firms including Wistia, Venture Advisors, and inStream, and will focus on strategic planning and financial reporting to scale Encamp’s operations.

“Encamp created a software to help modernize the way companies think about environmental compliance, and I’m excited to use my background in finance leadership to help the company grow and scale to further solve the needs of Encamp’s customers,” Shanahan said.

More trees planted thanks to Encamp customers

In 2019, we aligned with the non-profit organization One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every Tier II compliance report our customers file through the Encamp system. With the 3,761 Tier II reports submitted in 2021 (for reporting year 2020), the total number of new saplings planted via Encamp reached 11,159 — a number that will continue to grow substantially as our number of happy customers increases. Many Encamp employees also donated to the One Tree Planted cause in 2021, with our particular efforts aiding in the reforestation of areas of California affected by recent wildfires. (Look for the number of trees planted to increase even more dramatically once we wrap up Tier II reporting year 2021.)

Awards and recognitions

We’re extremely proud of the awards and recognitions we’ve received since Encamp started, and in 2021 we added a few more. They include:

Technology enhancements

All of us at Encamp are committed to continually developing our technology to encompass all regulations and requirements for environmental compliance reporting within an enterprise, with customer success constantly in mind. In 2021, our amazing team of Encampers took more steps in that direction with the following feature enhancements:

Encamp’s Strengths Entering 2022 

According to Jacobs, “From a financial perspective, our net revenue retention is absolutely amazing. The fact that Encamp has 6- and 7-figure deals as a startup that’s only had employees for three years is a strong underlying signal of the enterprise value we deliver. As environmental regulators continue to transition towards digital compliance systems, large enterprises will start to invest more heavily in the digital transformation of their environmental compliance programs at scale. Therefore, we believe the next year will be defined more prominently by the continued digitization of the environmental compliance lifecycle. 

“In 2022,” Jacobs added, “we’re excited to further leverage modern computer science techniques to not only drive the next generation of environmental compliance technology, but most importantly to provide transformational efficiency increases for our customers. Moreover with our enhanced Guided Environmental Compliance method, we’ll blend digitization, Encamp’s high-tech software, and the high-touch support of our customer experience and compliance experts to drive these increases for customers and promote compliance program unification for enterprises of all kinds.”  

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.

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.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established more than 50 years ago for a reason. And yet we continue to see reports of environmental non-compliance and serious violations of EPA rules on a routine basis, especially for hazardous materials and waste streams. 

But it’s even more troubling to read stories in which companies flagrantly ignore regulatory requirements. For whatever reasons, they choose to take a path of risk and not one of proactive environmental compliance management that could save them a lot of financial pain and PR headaches. 

Three of Many Non-Compliance Cases

The following accounts of environmental non-compliance — and the risk and consequences that come with it — are just three that have hit the newswire halfway through 2021. And trust us, there are many more stories just like these.  

“Ohio industrial company accused of illegally storing hazardous waste”

What a way to start this article from Waste Today magazine. “Arrest warrants have been issued for the operators of an industrial plating company who were accused of illegally storing tens of thousands of pounds of hazardous waste in the company’s rundown building….” (We added the italics for emphasis.)

As reported, the business fell into financial ruin years ago and the site has since been targeted for cleanup by the state and federal EPA. While records show the violations as being linked to the site’s previous operator, they’ve “mostly gone uncorrected for years.” For one example of environmental non-compliance, Ohio EPA investigators found at least 38,000 pounds of hazardous waste, some of which had been at the site since 2016.

Among the full findings identified in the EPA’s April 28, 2021 notice of violation were these other infractions:

When consequences run deeper than just financial penalties

Many of the chemicals and heavy metals found at this facility are on the EPA’s List of Lists and are subject to regulatory requirements for EPCRA, CERCLA, RCRA, and Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act. And even though the violations were linked to the site’s previous operator, this company and its operators should have known they were in violation and risked substantial fines and a lost reputation for their business. 

But is it worth going to jail? No, it isn’t.  

“EPA Uses Emergency Powers to Protect St. Croix Communities and Orders Limetree Bay Refinery to Pause Operations” 

An environmental non-compliance action is pretty serious when EPA officials pull out the agency’s “Emergency Powers.” It’s worse when they announce it in an EPA News Release (which was published in the Washington Post). But it’s really bad when EPA suspends a business’s operations for 60 days, and possibly longer. Yet that’s what EPA did to protect public health.

So what are the alleged violations? According to EPA, since February of 2021, the Limetree Bay refinery experienced “multiple major mishaps resulting in significant air pollutant and oil releases.” Not a single mishap, mind you, but multiple violations over a roughly 3-month period.

According to the EPA release (condensed here): “Under its legal authorities in Clean Air Act Section 303, EPA may take this urgent measure when an entity’s actions are substantially endangering public health, welfare, or the environment. Limetree Bay’s repeated incidents raise significant environmental justice concerns, which are a priority for EPA.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan had this to say in the news release (condensed again): “These repeated incidents have been and remain totally unacceptable. Today, I have ordered the refinery to immediately pause all operations until we can be assured they can operate in accordance with laws that protect public health. EPA will not hesitate to use its authority to enforce the law and protect people from dangerous pollution where they work, live, and play.”

Two strikes: Losing business, and being under continued EPA watch

In April 2021, EPA issued a notice of violation to Limetree Bay for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. No fines were issued at the time, but pursuant to the Clean Air Act, the order to pause operations was to remain in effect for 60 days — unless extended through the United States’ filing of a civil action in court. 

Any business operation shutting down for 60 days — or more — is never good for revenue. In this case, a potential civil action also no doubt puts the business in serious litigation mode and reputational damage control, meaning more costs for legal fees and PR. But a scarier outcome is knowing you’ll forever be under the watchful eye of EPA for further violations and environmental non-compliance.     

“Seafood processor agrees to pay $220,000 penalty for ammonia violations”

So yet another violation of the Clean Air Act and EPCRA, and this time the penalty for environmental non-compliance was a direct hit in the pocketbook. As Cooling Post reported in May 2021, Northern Pelagic Group (NorPel) agreed to pay a $220,000 penalty for alleged violations regarding its ammonia refrigeration system at its New Bedford, Massachusetts, seafood processing facility. 

Specifically, NorPel violated the chemical accident prevention requirements of the federal CAA, as well as the hazardous chemical reporting requirements under EPCRA. EPA also alleged that the company failed to file a risk management plan (RMP) with EPA. RMPs are required for facilities that manage, maintain or produce hazardous chemicals requiring stringent management to ensure public safety. 

EPA further alleged that “the company had not adequately designed, operated, or maintained its refrigeration system,” and that NorPel failed to file its annual EPCRA Tier II chemical inventory report for the 2015 reporting year with state and local emergency response authorities.

Has risk management become marginalized?

This comes from a blog thread on bayt.com about compliance and risk management and if there’s a difference between them. The following response is from Rajesh Dhuri, a senior manager of a communications services company — which obviously isn’t EHS, although his answer is relevant. And thought provoking.

Dhuri’s opinion is that compliance and risk management are interrelated, but not the same. “Compliance management is managing the process to meet all regulatory and legislative requirements,” he says. “Managing risk is not just about assessing and quantifying all the things that could go wrong,” Dhuri adds, “but, perhaps more importantly, about understanding all the things that need to go right for the enterprise to be successful.

“Somehow we have descended into a culture focused on ferreting out all the issues that could contribute to failure to the point where risk management has become marginalized as overhead to the business process, not a contributor to its success.”

Unfortunately and all too often, companies view compliance and risk management through the same misguided lens — as a cost of doing business. 

Let Encamp help

After receiving arrest warrants, paying six-figure fines, and knowing EPA continually has your business on its radar, one would think companies would be more serious about managing the risk of environmental non-compliance. Mitigating risk and non-compliance is one of the reasons we started Encamp

Our mission, after all, is to create a world where good for business equals good for the environment. And we’re pursuing this mission with an end-to-end environmental compliance software platform — the Encamp platform — that enables companies to proactively manage risk related to regulatory reporting. 

With Encamp, our customers are able to aggregate and centralize environmental compliance data for better visibility and easier access. They also streamline workflows for EPCRA 312/Tier II compliance reporting and automate the submissions of report filings and payments to agencies in all 50 states.

Ongoing, we continue to build this premier platform so EHS professionals everywhere can ensure that environmental non-compliance is never an issue.  

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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