Georgia Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Georgia 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 Georgia’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Georgia 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 Georgia 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 Georgia 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 Georgia can be found here
Types of Facilities Subject to Tier II Reporting
Below are some examples of facilities in Georgia and the chemicals used that would most likely need to submit a Tier Ⅱ form:
- Advanced manufacturing facilities – They may use and store hazardous chemicals like solvents, acids, paints, metals, etc.
- Automotive manufacturing – Chemicals like solvents, paints, oils, lubricants, adhesives
- Aerospace manufacturing – Solvents, acids, paints, sealants, composite materials
- Food processing plants – Ammonia for refrigeration, cleaning chemicals
- Life sciences facilities – Various laboratory chemicals, solvents, acids, waste chemicals
- Battery manufacturing plants – Lithium, solvents, acids, heavy metals
Facilities in these industries would likely need to report common chemicals stored over Tier II thresholds like acids, flammable liquids, fuels, chlorine, and ammonia.
Georgia’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (E-Plan)
Overview of E-Plan
E-Plan is an online system for submitting Tier II reports electronically. Facilities can register on the E-Plan website and upload their Tier II reports each year. E-Plan provides a central database for Tier II information from over 200,000 facilities across the US. It contains data on chemical storage and hazards at each facility. First responders and government agencies can also register on E-Plan to access the Tier II data for facilities in their jurisdiction. This helps with emergency planning and preparedness.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Georgia
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 – administrative charge per facility
- Review and submit your Tier II reports.
- Note that you may still need to file with state/local agencies directly. Check with your SERC, LEPC, and fire department.
- Georgia requires Tier II reports to be submitted electronically through the E-Plan system. Paper reporting is not accepted. Facilities must register and file online.
- There is a cost associated with submitting Tier II hazardous chemical inventory reports in Georgia using the E-Plan reporting system. The fees for filing Tier II reports in Georgia are: $25 filing fee per facility when submitting Tier II reports through E-Plan in Georgia. This fee must be paid as part of the submission process.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Georgia, 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 annual Tier II chemical inventory reporting requirement in Georgia, there are some supplemental reporting situations that facilities must comply with:
- 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
Georgia requires Tier II reports to be submitted electronically through the E-Plan system. Paper reporting is not accepted. Facilities must register and file online. In Georgia, the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and local fire departments have access to facility information in E-Plan, although they could have different reporting requirements for accepting Tier II reports.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
A PDF file provides an easy way to save an electronic copy of your Tier II report from E-Plan and should be used to keep accurate 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 the 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 Georgia
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential fines and legal consequences for failing to accurately submit a Tier II hazardous chemical inventory report in Georgia:
- Civil Penalties: Georgia civil penalties are up to $37,500 per violation per day, mirroring the federal limit.
- Criminal Penalties: Criminal penalties for EPCRA violations in Georgia can result in fines of up to $50,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment.
- Permit actions – The state can sue facilities to enjoin or terminate operations until accurate Tier II reporting is completed. This could result in a partial or complete shutdown.
- Increased inspections – Lack of proper reporting may prompt more frequent inspections from agencies like the fire department, OSHA, and EPA. This can result in additional fines if violations are found.
- Disqualification from state contracts – The state can prohibit a non-reporting facility from entering into contracts with Georgia.
- Lawsuits/damage claims – Inaccurate reporting could weaken a company’s legal defense in the event of a chemical release suit or damage claim since the proper inventory was not supplied.
- Company liability – Officers of a company may be held personally liable for failure to report hazard information as required by law.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Unfortunately, there have been real instances in Georgia where failure to properly file Tier II chemical inventory reports has impacted community safety and emergency response:
- Sterigenics – In 2019, this medical equipment sterilization facility did not report its use of ethylene oxide, a toxic chemical. Local responders were unaware of the hazard, putting them at risk when responding to calls. Nearby residents also lacked crucial safety information.
- Biomass Gasification Facility – An explosion occurred at a biomass plant in 2011 that had failed to disclose its chemical stocks to local planners and responders. Firefighters were exposed responding without proper protective gear.
- Synthetic Dye Company – In 2003, a chemical reaction release occurred at a textile company that had not submitted a Tier II. Responders were initially unaware of the chemicals involved, delaying evacuation alerts.