Montana Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Montana 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 Montana’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Montana 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 Montana 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 Montana 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 Montana can be found here.
Types of Facilities Subject to Tier II Reporting
Here are some examples of facilities and chemicals that would need to submit Tier II reports in Montana:
- Oil refineries – These facilities use and store large quantities of flammable chemicals like propane, butane, jet fuel, and gasoline. The inventories of these chemicals would need to be reported.
- Chemical manufacturers – Facilities involved in the manufacture of pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and plastics use various hazardous chemicals in their processes. Any chemicals stored over threshold amounts would require reporting.
- Metal mining sites – Mining operations utilize and store explosives, diesel fuel, lubricants, and solvents on site that require reporting.
- Oil & gas drilling sites – Sites that use and store hydraulic fracturing chemicals and diesel fuels over threshold quantities require inventory reporting.
- Ranches and farms – Those that store large amounts of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, diesel fuel for equipment, and pesticides require reports.
- Wastewater treatment plants – Chemicals like chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, and sulfur dioxide used for disinfection processes would need reporting.
Facilities in these industries would likely need to report common chemicals stored over Tier II thresholds like acids, flammable liquids, fuels, chlorine, and ammonia.
Montana’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 Montana
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.
- 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
- Facilities in Montana must file online using E-Plan no hard copies or email submittals will be accepted.
- You will need to contact the appropriate LEPC and fire department to see if they can accept electronic filings. If they cannot accept electronic filings, a paper copy will need to be sent to the LEPC and fire department. A list of LEPCs can be found here.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Montana, 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 Montana, 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
In Montana, you must submit Tier II reports in E-Plan. Mailed or emailed Tier II reports are not accepted. You must contact the appropriate LEPC and fire department to see if they accept Tier II reports in E-Plan.
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 Montana
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential fines and legal consequences for failing to accurately submit a Tier II report in Montana:
- Civil penalties – Facilities can be fined up to $25,000 per violation per day for failure to submit or inaccurate reporting.
- Criminal fines – Montana law allows for fines up to $50,000 and up to 1 year imprisonment per violation for knowing failure to report hazardous chemicals.
- Permit limitations – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality may revoke or decline to issue environmental permits to facilities with reporting violations. This could severely impact operations.
- Lawsuits – Individuals or communities impacted by a chemical release could sue facilities with inaccurate Tier II reporting for negligence. This could result in costly settlements.
- Exclusion from state contracts – Facilities may be prohibited from entering into contracts with the state of Montana if they fail to comply with reporting.
- Company liability – Corporate officers can face civil and criminal liability for failure to report accurately. They may be personally fined or imprisoned.
- Corrective Actions – Facilities may need to implement expensive measures like secondary containment or personnel training if reporting is inaccurate.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Here are some examples of the impact on community safety in Montana when facilities failed to properly file Tier II reports:
- In 2019, a chlorine gas leak occurred at a wastewater treatment plant near Billings. First responders were unaware of the full chlorine inventory onsite due to inaccurate Tier II reporting, delaying evacuation protocols.
- Near Kalispell, an ammonium nitrate fire occurred at an agricultural facility in 2013. The fire chief stated that the scope of the fire was larger than anticipated due to incomplete Tier II reporting on-site chemical inventories.