Alabama Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Alabama is required for any facility that stores hazardous chemicals that meet or exceed chemical thresholds. Under Section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA), submission of a Tier Ⅱ form is required when working with hazardous chemicals. This form, known as the Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms, is used to notify state officials, local officials, and the general public regarding potential hazards. In 1987 Executive Order Number 4 created the Alabama Emergency Response Commission (AERC) by appointing the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) to act in unison to carry out the provisions of the Act.
Understanding Alabama’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Alabama that has hazardous substances equal to or greater than the established threshold amounts (listed below) must report.
- Any facility that stores 10,000 lbs or more of hazardous chemicals at any one time.
- Any facility that stores 500 lbs (or the threshold planning quantity, whichever is less) or more of extremely hazardous substances.
- Retail fuel stations with underground storage tanks need to report if they store:
- 75,000 gallons or more of gasoline
- 100,000 gallons or more of diesel fuel (all grades combined)
- The reporting thresholds in Alabama apply to the maximum quantity stored at a facility at any one time.
- Even if thresholds are met, chemicals with reporting exemptions do not need to be included
- Only facilities in Alabama meeting or exceeding the thresholds for at least one chemical must submit a Tier II report. Facilities below the thresholds for all chemicals are exempt.
- More information on Tier II reporting in Alabama can be found here
Types of Facilities Subject to Tier II Reporting
Here are some common examples of facilities and chemicals that would require submitting a Tier II hazardous chemical inventory report in Alabama:
- Gas stations – Gasoline, diesel fuel, motor oil, propane tanks
- Auto repair shops – Motor oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, paints, solvents
- Manufacturing facilities – Acids, bases, solvents, paints, resins, raw industrial chemicals
- Dry cleaners – Perchloroethylene, petroleum solvents
- Hardware/paint stores – Paints, thinners, pesticides, cleaners
- Hospitals – Oxygen, nitrous oxide, formaldehyde, sanitizers, medical gases
- Water treatment plants – Chlorine, sodium hydroxide, calcium hypochlorite
- Pools/water parks – Chlorine, muriatic acid, sodium hypochlorite
- Farms – Ammonia, pesticides, diesel fuel, propane tanks
- Food processors – Ammonia, chlorine, refrigerants
- Wastewater plants – Chlorine, sodium bisulfite, polymers, acids
In general, any facility in Alabama storing hazardous chemicals above reporting threshold quantities would likely need to submit a Tier II report, listing the chemicals present on site. Common examples include industrial sites, treatment plants, manufacturers, repair shops, and distributors.
Alabama’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (E-Plan and Tier2Submit Software)
Overview of E-Plan and Tier2Submit Software
Alabama now accepts submittals via E-Plan. However, there is a fee associated with this service. Submitted information is retained from year to year in one database and changes are easily made by logging in. Tier2Submit Software can also be used to submit data electronically at no cost. A new version of Tier2 Submit is available each year. The Tier II File must pass validation and the file exported must be in a .t2s format and emailed to the AERC.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Alabama
Here are the key steps for using E-Plan’s Online Tier II Reporting System:
- Gather the required information – This includes an inventory of all hazardous chemicals stored on-site above reporting threshold limits, along with basic facility identification information
- Create a new account or sign in with your existing credentials.
- Add facilities under the Facilities module by entering the facility name, address, coordinates, submitter info, etc.
- Add contacts under the Contacts module by entering names, addresses, emails, phone numbers for owners, emergency contacts, etc.
- Add chemical inventory under the Chemicals module by entering chemical properties, storage info, mixtures, etc.
- E-Plan will generate an invoice. Alabama has a $25 fee for each facility.
- Review and submit your Tier II reports.
- In Alabama, the SERC will not distribute the report to the LEPC and fire department. You must submit a hard copy to the appropriate LEPC and fire department.
- For more information use this link to access the Tier II reporting requirements in Alabama
Here are the key steps for submitting a Tier II chemical inventory report using the Tier2Submit software in Alabama:
- Build your facility and chemical inventory
- Add your facility details like name, address, contacts, etc.
- Input your chemical inventories including CAS numbers, storage locations, and amounts.
- Validate and finalize the report
- Perform quality checks and validate that the report is accurate. The software will also check for any potential errors.
- Certify that the information is true, accurate, and complete.
- Export your Tier II report(s) in Tier2Submit as a .t2s file.
- Send any prepared files and forms to [email protected].
- From Tier2 Submit, export the report as a .pdf and mail that to the appropriate LEPC and fire department.
- Retain a copy of the report, certification page (if applicable), mailings, and payment receipts.
- You must submit a copy of your Tier II report to AERC, LEPCs (or TERC), and local fire departments
- There is a $25 fee to submit a Tier II report using E-Plan
- If you use Tier2Submit Software, you must download the Tier II report in .t2s format and email it to [email protected].
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Alabama, facilities must submit their Tier II reports on hazardous chemicals present during the previous calendar year by March 1 annually.
Additional Reporting Requirements
Alabama may have some supplemental reporting requirements:
- Initial Notification: Facilities must submit a notification within 90 days after they first exceed reporting thresholds for any hazardous chemicals on site. The thresholds for this notification are the same as the Tier II thresholds.
- Emergency Planning Notification: Facilities must submit a notification within 60 days after they bring an Extremely Hazardous Substance on-site in a quantity that exceeds its Threshold Planning Quantity.
Tips for Effective Tier II Reporting
Maintain Accurate Inventory Records
Starting early in collecting compliance data will help with making sure all the data is accurate and ready to go when the March 1st deadline comes around. A good rule of thumb is to have data ready to review the first week of January.
Understand State-Specific Reporting Requirements
In Alabama, you can choose to electronically submit your Tier II report in E-Plan or Tier2Submit Software and the reports must be sent to the AERC, the local emergency planning committee (LEPC), and the local fire department where the facility is located.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
Download either a .t2s file or PDF and keep a copy for your records
Common Mistakes in Tier II Reporting and How to Avoid Them
Incorrectly Estimating Quantity of Reportable Substances
It’s important to look at all chemicals across your equipment, departments, and processes. You also need to aggregate extremely hazardous substances that may exist at your facility in different capacities. For example, sulfuric acid could be stored in a drum. Also, if you have lead-acid batteries, you will need to take into account the sulfuric acid housed in the lead-acid batteries (if they are not exempt).
Be sure to consult the EPA list of lists to double check if chemicals stored at your facility are an extremely hazardous substance (EHS).
Failing to Keep Up-To-Date with Changes in Regulations
Failure to report can result in Federal, state, and local penalties if an incident occurs and there is no Tier II report on file.
- Submit Tier II reports on time by the March 1 deadline.
- Ensure all hazardous chemicals above reporting thresholds are included.
- Completely omitting chemicals or the full report typically leads to the highest fines.
- Even small errors associated with one chemical can incur sizable penalties.
- Keep up to date with your LEPCs and their requirements to ensure first responders have the information they need and you’re fully compliant
Penalties for Non-Compliance with Tier II Reporting in Alabama
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential legal and financial consequences for not accurately submitting a Tier II hazardous chemical inventory report in Alabama:
- Civil Penalties – Alabama can assess fines of up to $25,000 per violation per day for failure to submit or falsification of reports.
- Criminal Penalties – It is a misdemeanor crime to willfully fail to submit Tier II information or submit false information. This can result in fines or imprisonment of up to 1 year.
- EPCRA Enforcement – The EPA can bring federal civil or criminal enforcement actions for violations of EPCRA Tier II requirements. This can result in even larger fines based on the number of violations and days, not in compliance.
- Permit Actions – The ADEM may revoke facility environmental permits or deny permit renewals for failure to comply with EPCRA Tier II regulations.
- Lawsuits – Individuals or groups may file a citizen lawsuit against the facility for failure to submit or falsification of Tier II reports. The facility may have to pay their legal fees.
- Increased Insurance – Insurance providers may increase rates or decline to offer environmental liability insurance due to Tier II non-compliance.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Here are some examples in Alabama that demonstrate the importance of Tier II reporting for community safety and emergency preparedness:
- In 2021, an explosion occurred at a biodiesel plant in Clayton, AL that had not filed a Tier II report. First responders were unaware of the presence and quantity of methanol and other flammable chemicals onsite, hampering emergency response.
- During a chemical spill at a Birmingham metal plating facility in 2019, it was discovered the company had not disclosed all of the sulfuric acid, heavy metals, and cyanide used and stored onsite via Tier II reports. This delayed coordinating proper evacuation zones and medical treatment.
- In rural Jackson County, AL, several farms failed to disclose ammonia refrigeration systems and anhydrous ammonia fertilizer storage in Tier II filings. When a system failed in 2017, first responders were not fully prepared to respond to the ammonia emergency.