Nebraska Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Nebraska 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 Nebraska’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Nebraska 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 Nebraska 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 Nebraska 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 examples of facilities and chemicals that would need to submit Tier II reports in Nebraska:
- Ethanol plants – These facilities use and store chemicals like sulfuric acid, ammonia, methanol, and hexane that require reporting.
- Meat processing plants – These sites use ammonia for refrigeration and chlorine for disinfection. The amounts stored on site must be reported.
- Chemical manufacturers – Facilities that manufacture pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and cleaning compounds use various hazardous chemicals that require reporting.
- Fuel terminals – Sites that store large quantities of gasoline, diesel, propane, and other flammable liquids need to submit reports.
- Metal finishing facilities – These use solvents and acids like hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, and nitric acid in their processes that require inventory reporting.
- Power plants – Coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants use ammonia, chlorine, and other chemicals for an operation that must be reported above threshold quantities.
- Oil refineries – The hazardous chemicals used in the refining process like sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen fluoride need reporting.
- Wastewater treatment plants – Chemicals like chlorine gas, sodium hypochlorite, and permanganates used for disinfection require reporting.
- Farm operations – Ammonium nitrate fertilizer, pesticide, and diesel fuel supplies stored at large farms need inventory 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.
Nebraska’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (Online NDEE Tier II System)
Overview of Online NDEE Tier II System
An electronic reporting system managed by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) allows for Tier II reports to be submitted securely online. The system allows you to save progress and edit submissions until ready to finalize and submit the report.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Nebraska
Here are the key steps for submitting a Tier II report using the Online NDEE Tier II filing System in Nebraska:
- Receive your facility ID number and temporary password in the instruction letter mailed by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. If you do not have one, reach out to NDEE.
- Go to the Tier II online reporting website.
- Click “Register” and enter your facility ID number and temporary password from the letter.
- Click “Save and Continue” which will prompt you to create a new password.
- Enter and confirm your new password and click “Save”.
- Review and update facility information if needed and click “Save and Continue”.
- Review and update contact information if needed and click “Save and Continue”.
- Review, add, edit or delete chemical inventory data and click “Continue” when finished.
- Read the certification agreement, check the agreement box, and click “Sign Form”.
- Click “Show Tier II Form” to download the PDF copy of your submission.
- Print and/or email the PDF to your Local Emergency Planning Committee.
- Make sure to retain copies of all submitted reports in facility records. Reports must be submitted by March 1st each year.
The password for your account will change every year. You must wait until you receive the password from NDEE to begin completing your report.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Nebraska, 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 Nebraska, 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 Nebraska, online Tier II reports must be submitted through the Online NDEE Tier II System. In addition to the online submission, the Tier II report must be sent to both the LEPC and the FD.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
Facilities should print a copy or email a PDF of the submitted Tier II report for their 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 Nebraska
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential fines and legal consequences for failing to accurately submit a Tier II report in Nebraska:
- Failure to submit a Tier II report or knowingly providing false information can result in significant civil or criminal penalties, including fines and/or jail time.
- Permit limitations – The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy may decline to issue environmental permits or revoke existing permits for facilities with reporting violations.
- Lawsuits – Individuals or communities impacted by a chemical release could sue facilities with inaccurate Tier II reporting for negligence.
- State contract barring – Businesses may be barred from entering into state contracts if they fail to comply with EPCRA Tier II reporting.
- Company liability – Corporate officers can face civil and criminal penalties personally for failure to report hazardous chemical storage accurately.
- Corrective actions – Facilities may be compelled to implement expensive safety improvements like secondary containment if reporting is deficient.
- Increased inspections – Facilities with reporting violations may be subject to increased inspections and oversight from regulatory agencies.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Here are some examples of how failing to properly file Tier II reports has impacted community safety and emergency preparedness in Nebraska:
- In Omaha in 2013, a chemical plant explosion led to a major fire. Investigations found the facility failed to disclose an accurate inventory of flammable chemicals onsite, hampering the firefighting response.
- Near Scottsbluff in 2019, a chlorine gas leak at a wastewater facility required a larger evacuation area than anticipated due to incorrect Tier II reporting on the amount of chlorine gas stored.
- A fertilizer plant explosion in Beatrice in 2016 injured several first responders who were unaware of the full inventory of ammonium nitrate stored onsite based on deficient reporting.