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are still spending much of their time digging through emails, spreadsheets, and binders filled with dusty, outdated SDSs that don’t provide the crucial information facilities and first responders need.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Many EHS teams that still maintain a paper-based SDS library are in rough shape and most likely have repetitive or outdated documents.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.

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.

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.

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 

“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.

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