Iowa Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Iowa 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 Iowa’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Iowa 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 Iowa 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 Iowa 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.
- For more information on Tier II Reporting in Iowa, please visit this website.
Types of Facilities Subject to Tier II Reporting
Here are some examples of facility types and the chemicals commonly associated with them in Iowa:
- Manufacturing Facilities: Manufacturing plants can use a wide range of chemicals based on their specific operations. Examples of chemicals commonly found in manufacturing plants include solvents, acids, bases, paints, coatings, adhesives, and various industrial chemicals.
- Chemical Processing Plants: Facilities involved in chemical processing may handle and store a variety of chemicals, including corrosive substances, flammable materials, toxic chemicals, and reactive compounds.
- Oil and Gas Facilities: Facilities involved in the extraction, refining, storage, or distribution of oil and gas products may handle hazardous substances such as crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, propane, and various petroleum-based chemicals.
- Warehouses and Distribution Centers: Facilities engaged in warehousing and distribution may handle and store various chemicals, including cleaning agents, pesticides, fertilizers, paints, compressed gases, and flammable substances.
- Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities: Hospitals and healthcare facilities utilize a range of chemicals for cleaning, sterilization, and medical procedures. Examples include disinfectants, laboratory chemicals, pharmaceuticals, anesthetic gases, and radioactive materials.
- Educational Institutions: Schools, colleges, and universities may have laboratories and maintenance areas that use chemicals for educational and operational purposes. These can include laboratory chemicals, solvents, acids, bases, and other hazardous substances.
- Research and Development Laboratories: Research facilities often work with hazardous substances, including chemicals used in experiments, pharmaceutical development, testing, and analysis. These may include toxic chemicals, flammable materials, corrosive substances, and radioactive materials.
- Agricultural Operations: Farms, agricultural processing facilities, and pesticide storage areas handle chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and animal medications.
- Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants: These facilities may use chemicals for water purification, disinfection, and treatment processes. Examples include chlorine, ozone, and various coagulants and flocculants.
Facilities in these industries would likely need to report common chemicals stored over Tier II thresholds like acids, flammable liquids, fuels, chlorine, and ammonia.
Iowa’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (E-Plan)
Overview of the 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 Iowa
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 your chemical inventory under the Chemicals module by entering chemical properties, storage info, mixtures, etc.
- Review and submit your Tier II reports.
- Note that you may still need to file with local agencies directly. Check with your LEPC and fire department to see if they accept e-filed copies of Tier II reports or if they require a hard copy.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) only accepts Tier II reports view E-Plan. Check with LEPC and local fire department to determine their preferred method of receiving Tier II reports by checking here.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Iowa, 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 Iowa, 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
It is important to check with the SERC, LEPC, and local fire departments on the method they prefer to receive Tier II submissions.
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 March 1 deadline.
- Ensure all hazardous chemicals above reporting thresholds are included.
- Completely omitting chemicals or the full report leads to the highest fines.
- Follow EPCRA closely to avoid violations and protect your business.
Penalties for Non-Compliance with Tier II Reporting in Iowa
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential fines and legal consequences for inaccurately submitting or failing to submit a Tier II report in Iowa:
- Civil Penalties – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources can assess civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation per day for Tier II reporting noncompliance.
- Criminal Penalties – Knowingly submitting false information or willfully failing to submit a report can result in criminal prosecution. This may include fines and possibly imprisonment up to 2 years.
- Litigation – Facilities may be sued by the state, local agencies, or private parties for health/environmental damages resulting from incomplete reporting. This could include costly settlements and legal fees.
- Increased Regulatory Scrutiny – Facilities with reporting violations may be subject to increased inspections or compliance monitoring. This takes time and resources away from normal operations.
- Reputation Damage – Noncompliance becomes public record. This could harm a facility’s standing with the community, regulators, lenders, investors, and other stakeholders.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Failure to file accurate Tier II reports can significantly impact community safety and emergency preparedness in Iowa, as these reports are critical for emergency planning. Here are some examples:
- In 2019, an auto body shop did not report 18,000 pounds of paints and solvents on site. When a fire broke out, firefighters were unaware of the chemical hazards and two were hospitalized with chemical burns. Proper reporting could have better prepared the response.
- A 2016 after-action report on a simulated anhydrous ammonia leak found that 40% of local responders were unaware of which farms stored ammonia because of lack of Tier II knowledge. This severely hampered emergency planning and response.
- A survey of Iowa emergency management coordinators in 2020 found that 60% had encountered a situation where an unreported chemical at a facility posed issues for responders during an incident. This shows gaps in chemical hazard awareness are common when reporting is incomplete.