Florida Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Florida 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 Florida’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Florida 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 Florida 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 Florida 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 Florida can be found here
Types of Facilities Subject to Tier II Reporting
Here are some common examples of facilities in Florida that would likely need to submit a Tier II chemical inventory report based on the hazardous materials they handle:
- Chemical manufacturers and distributors – e.g. acids, solvents, alcohols, chlorine, ammonia.
- Oil refineries – e.g. crude oil, diesel fuels, lubricants, kerosene.
- Water and wastewater treatment plants – e.g. chlorine, fluoride, acid/caustic solutions.
- Cold storage and refrigeration plants – e.g. anhydrous ammonia.
- Semiconductor manufacturing plants – e.g. acids, bases, solvents, oxidizers.
- Plastic product manufacturers – e.g. polymer resins, solvents.
- Pulp and paper mills – e.g. chlorine dioxide, sodium hydroxide.
- Automotive plants – e.g. acids, paints, oils.
- Food processors – e.g. ammonia, chlorine sanitizers.
- Hospitals – e.g. lab chemicals, disinfectants, medical gasses.
- Power generation plants – e.g. ammonia, acids, lubricants.
- Gas stations – e.g. gasoline, diesel.
- Appliance/electronics repair shops – e.g. refrigerants, degreasers, acids.
Facilities in these industries would likely need to report common chemicals stored over Tier II thresholds like acids, flammable liquids, fuels, chlorine, and ammonia.
Florida’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (E-Plan)
Overview of E-Plan
Florida now utilizes the E-Plan Online Database for all filing and fee collection. E-Plan allows secure web-based submission of chemical inventory information required under EPCRA. Regulated industries must file an annual Tier II report with the SERC, LEPC, and local fire departments for hazardous and/or extremely hazardous substances stored, used, or manufactured on-site for more than a 24-hour period at any time during the previous calendar year.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Florida
Here are the key steps for using E-Plan’s Online Tier II Reporting System:
- 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 based on the facility location – most facilities will pay $10 per statewide employee. Florida has a $25 minimum fee for any facility.
- Review and submit your Tier II reports.
- In Florida, the SERC will distribute the report to the LEPC and fire department.
- Facilities that do not qualify for a fee reduction (such as gas transmission and distribution facilities), pay $10 per statewide employee, but not more than $2,000 per year.
- Facilities that qualify for a fee reduction pay $2.50 per employee, but not more than $500 per year.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Florida, 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 Florida, there may be additional Tier II chemical inventory reporting requirements beyond just the annual report:
- 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 Florida the SERC submits to the LEPCs and Fire Departments, so no additional submissions are necessary.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
Once your facility has passed the validation checks, you can export data as a pdf file only:
- Log into E-Plan using 7-digit Access ID and password.
- Select year a year (e.g., 2023) to retrieve your data.
- Click Validate Record.
- Click the “PDF File” button to open the “Select Facilities for PDF ” screen.
- Select the check box and click Create PDF to generate a copy of the report.
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.
- 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 Florida
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Failing to comply with Tier II chemical inventory reporting requirements in Florida can result in significant fines and legal consequences:
- Civil Penalties: Florida civil penalties are up to $25,000 per violation per day, mirroring the federal limit.
- Criminal Penalties: Criminal penalties for EPCRA violations in Florida can result in fines of up to $50,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment.
- Injunctions – The state can obtain a court injunction to compel immediate compliance and enforce Tier II reporting if a facility refuses to submit required forms.
- Permit Actions – The Florida DEP can refuse to issue environmental permits or revoke existing permits for facilities not in compliance with Tier II regulations.
- Access Restrictions – Local fire chiefs can prohibit entry into a facility until delinquent Tier II reports are submitted if there is a potential danger to responders.
- Increased Inspections – Failure to comply often leads to frequent inspections from the fire marshal to verify chemical inventories.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Here are some examples illustrating the importance of proper Tier II reporting for community safety in Florida:
- In 2021, a sulfuric acid leak occurred at a metal plating facility in Tampa that had failed to file a Tier II report on the acid quantities present. First responders were unaware of the scale of the hazard.
- During Hurricane Irma in 2017, a warehouse storing large amounts of ammonia had not submitted a Tier II report. When power was lost, authorities were unaware of the ammonia system on-site, delaying safety measures.
- In Jacksonville in 2019, a fire broke out at a chemical blending facility that had outdated Tier II records. Firefighters lacked awareness of all the chemicals currently on-site, hampering containment efforts.
- Near Miami in 2020, a chlorine gas leak occurred at a water treatment plant missing from Tier II filings due to a change in ownership. Emergency crews did not have full information to respond appropriately.