Colorado Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Colorado 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.
Understanding Colorado’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Colorado 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 Colorado 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 Colorado 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.
Types of Facilities Subject to Tier II Reporting
Here are some common examples of facilities and chemicals that would require Tier II reporting in Colorado:
- Gas stations – Gasoline, diesel fuel, ethanol.
- Auto repair shops – Motor oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, solvents, paints.
- Manufacturing facilities – Acids, bases, solvents, paints, inks, oils, cleaning chemicals.
- Warehouses – Ammonia used in refrigeration systems, battery acids, and cleaning chemicals.
- Hospitals – Anesthetic gasses, sterilization chemicals like ethylene oxide, and solvents.
- Farms – Liquid fertilizers containing hazardous chemicals like ammonia, diesel fuel for equipment.
- Plastics manufacturers – Resins, catalysts, solvents.
- Electronics manufacturers – Corrosive acids, solvents, isocyanates.
- Wastewater treatment plants – Chlorine, ammonia, acids.
- Food processors – Ammonia used in refrigeration, cleaning chemicals.
- Chemical distributors – A variety of chemicals stored and repackaged for sale.
Facilities in these industries would likely need to report common chemicals stored over Tier II thresholds like acids, flammable liquids, fuels, chlorine, and ammonia.
Colorado’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (Tier2Submit Software)
Overview of Tier2Submit Software
Tier2Submit is software developed by the federal government, and used by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Facilities required to submit Tier II reports must use the Tier2Submit software to file reports electronically and then submit it via the Colorado Environmental Online Services (CEOS) portal. Paper reporting is not accepted. The software streamlines reporting by pre-populating chemical data, saving facility information year-to-year, and providing data validation.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Colorado
Here is an overview of the steps to submit a Tier II report in Tier2Submit via CEOS:
1. Create a report. Each year the software is updated and the new version must be downloaded and used by the reporter each year.
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
2. Create a CEOS account. All reporting companies are required to create an account in CEOS. If you do not have one click here to get started. If you already have a CEOS account, you can proceed to step 3.
3. Submittal and payment. Once the report has been created in Tier2Submit and registration in CEOS has been completed, companies MUST log in and submit the final Tier II report through CEOS. Fee invoices are generated and paid through CEOS.
- E-mail submissions will NOT be accepted
- Once you create the report in Tier2Submit you must still submit the report to CEOS
- Fees once submitted in CEOS are as followed:
- Facility Fee – $10 for each facility
- Tier II Chemical Fee – $10 for each hazardous and/or extremely hazardous substance on the report
- Fees are capped at $1,000 per facility
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Colorado, the Tier II reporting deadline is due March 1, annually regarding information on hazardous chemicals present at the facility in the previous calendar year.
Additional Reporting Requirements
In addition to the main annual Tier II reporting deadline, Colorado also has some supplemental Tier II 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. Submitting an updated .t2s file through CEOS satisfies this notification requirement.
- 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. Submitting an updated .t2s file through CEOS satisfies this notification requirement.
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 Colorado, Tier II reports must be generated with Tier2Submit Software and submitted through Colorado Environmental Online Services (CEOS). The state will then send the Tier II reports to LEPCs and fire departments, so no additional submissions are necessary.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
Save a copy of your Tier II report once it’s completed in Tier2Submit 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 check 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 March 1 deadline.
- Ensure all hazardous chemicals above reporting thresholds are included.
- Completely omitting chemicals or the full report leads to the highest fines.
- Even small errors like one chemical can still incur sizable penalties.
- Follow EPCRA closely to avoid violations and protect your business finances.
Penalties for Non-Compliance with Tier II Reporting in Colorado
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential legal and financial consequences for failure to comply with Tier II reporting requirements in Colorado:
- Civil Penalties – Failure to submit Tier II forms can result in civil penalties of up to $37,500 per violation per day, matching the federal EPCRA law.
- Criminal Penalties – Knowingly providing false information on Tier II forms can result in fines of up to $50,000 per violation per day, and up to 3 years of imprisonment.
- Enforcement Actions – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is authorized to bring civil actions against facilities for Tier II violations. This can include court orders and injunctions.
- Permit Limitations – The state can refuse to issue environmental permits or limit operations for facilities with outstanding Tier II noncompliance.
- Permit Revocation – Egregious violations can result in environmental permits being revoked until compliance is achieved.
- Increased Scrutiny – Facilities with Tier II violations may be subject to increased inspections and scrutiny by regulatory agencies.
- Litigation – Private citizens or local agencies can file civil lawsuits against facility owners over failure to submit Tier II forms as required.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Here are some examples in Colorado that illustrate the importance of Tier II reporting for community safety and emergency preparedness:
- In 2016, a major sulfur dioxide release occurred at an oil and gas facility in Windsor, CO that hospitalized multiple people. The facility had failed to file Tier II forms documenting large sulfur dioxide quantities on-site, hampering the emergency response.
- During the 2013 floods in Colorado, some damaged facilities released hazardous chemicals into floodwaters. In a few cases, inadequate Tier II reporting meant that emergency crews did not know the chemicals present, complicating cleanup.
- In Durango in 2018, a chlorine gas leak at a wastewater plant sickened nearby residents. The facility had not submitted updated Tier II forms when its chlorine inventory increased, delaying the hazmat team’s response.
- A large ammonia leak occurred at a food processing facility in Greeley in 2020. First responders were unaware of the full ammonia tank quantities on-site due to a lack of reporting, putting them at higher risk.