Pennsylvania Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Pennsylvania 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. Pennsylvania Tier II reports are filed online using the Pennsylvania Tier II System (PATTS).
Understanding Pennsylvania’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 about reporting requirements in Pennsylvania can be found here.
Types of Facilities Subject to Tier II Reporting
Here are some common examples of facilities in Pennsylvania and chemicals that would trigger the requirement to submit a Tier II hazardous chemical inventory report:
- Chemical manufacturers – Facilities that manufacture chemicals like acids, chlorine, pesticides, and petrochemicals need to report those chemicals if stored onsite over 10,000 lbs.
- Oil refineries – Refineries use and produce many hazardous substances like propane, benzene, hydrofluoric acid, and sulfur dioxide that require reporting.
- Wastewater treatment plants – Treatment chemicals like chlorine gas, sodium hydroxide, ferric chloride, and sulfur dioxide must be reported if above thresholds.
- Paper mills – Chemicals used in paper processing like chlorine dioxide, sodium hydrosulfide, hydrogen peroxide, and calcium hydroxide would necessitate a Tier II report.
- Power plants – Coal and nuclear plants use ammonia, chlorine, and other chemicals for cooling water and emissions control that need reporting.
- Plastics manufacturers – Hazardous chemicals like ethylene oxide, vinyl chloride, and isocyanates need to be reported if used in plastics production over 10,000 lbs.
- Food processors – Facilities that use large volumes of anhydrous ammonia for refrigeration require Tier II reporting.
- Hospitals – Stocks of chemicals like lab ethers, glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, and nitrous oxide trigger reporting if exceeded.
- Water suppliers – Chlorine, fluoride, and aqueous ammonia used for water treatment require disclosure.
Pennsylvania’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (PATTS)
Overview of PATTS
PATTS stands for Pennsylvania Tier II System. It is an online system used to electronically submit Tier II chemical inventory reports in Pennsylvania. Facilities required to report must file their Tier II through PATTS rather than paper forms. Once Tier II forms are submitted via PATTS, the reports go directly to PEMA and local emergency planning committees.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Pennsylvania
Here are the basic steps to submit a Tier II report using the online PATTS 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 an account and log in or click “Register” to create an account for your facility
- Start a new Tier II report – Once logged in, click “Start New Report” to begin filling out the Tier II form with your facility and chemical inventory information
- Enter facility identification information – This includes name, address, Dun & Bradstreet number, etc.
- Add your chemical inventory – For each hazardous chemical on your site that was above its reporting threshold, enter the amount, location, storage types, etc.
- Enter contact information – Provide contact details for your facility’s Tier II coordinator, owner, and operator
- Review and verify report – Double check all entered information is correct before submitting
- Certify and submit – Digitally sign and officially submit the completed Tier II report to state and local officials
- Print final copy – Download or print a final copy of the certified Tier II report for your records
- The department assesses a $10 per chemical fee for each substance that is reported at or over the reporting threshold. The fee is not assessed for those chemicals identified as a ‘voluntary submission (a hazardous substance onsite but under-reporting quantity)
- While strongly discouraged, hard copy reports in Pennsylvania may be submitted. The form is available to download if you wish to file a hard copy report.
- Many LEPCs in Pennsylvania will assess their own fees (in addition to the SERC filing fee). Keep an eye out in your mail or email for reporting fee invoices from your LEPC.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Pennsylvania, 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 reporting, Pennsylvania facilities are required to report the presence of new hazardous material within 5 business days of the hazardous material first being present at the facility at reporting quantity. Accordingly, facilities must submit an Initial Tier II Report, the accompanying Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the substance, and an updated site plan to the state, as well as to their LEPC and responding local fire department(s), if they bring onsite any new hazardous material meeting the established threshold requirements that had not been reported as being present during the previous calendar year. An Initial Report can be easily filed in PATTS. Hazardous materials reported under this requirement must be reported again at the time of the next annual filing date with the appropriate fee payment. While the Annual Report identifies the total number of days each substance was onsite during the calendar year, an Initial advises the number of days that the new substance was on site as of the report filing date.
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
Pennsylvania only allows Tier II submission through PATTS any other electronic reporting program does not meet the requirements in Pennsylvania. Facilities in Berks County must additionally submit their report through the Berks County Tier II manager portal.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
Once your Tier II form is submitted in PATTS, print or save a copy of the confirmation page for your 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 Pennsylvania
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 Pennsylvania:
- Civil Penalties – Failure to submit Tier II forms can result in civil penalties of up to $37,500 per violation per day, matching the federal EPCRA law.
- Criminal Penalties – Knowingly providing false information on Tier II forms can result in fines of up to $50,000 per violation per day, and up to 3 years of imprisonment.
- Permit actions – The state can initiate action to revoke operating permits or halt operations until accurate Tier II reporting is completed. This could lead to full or partial facility shutdown.
- Increased inspections – Non-compliance may prompt more frequent inspections from the fire department, OSHA, DEP, and EPA. This can reveal other violations resulting in additional fines.
- Disqualification from state contracts – The state can prohibit a non-reporting facility from bidding on state contracts.
- Lawsuits – Incomplete or inaccurate Tier II reports could weaken a company’s legal defense in the event of a chemical release suit or damage claim.
- Company liability – Corporate officers can be held personally liable for failure to report hazard information required by Community Right-to-Know regulations.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Here are some real-world examples of how failing to file a Tier II hazardous chemical inventory report has impacted community safety and emergency response in Pennsylvania:
- AMP Fire (Lebanon County) – A 2013 fertilizer plant fire released undisclosed hazardous chemicals, limiting how responders could safely manage the fire and notify residents.
- ACF Industries (Southampton) – A 2009 explosion injured workers at a metals facility that had not reported large quantities of combustible magnesium powder to local officials through Tier II.
- Sunoco Refinery Fire (Philadelphia) – A 2012 hydrofluoric acid release from the refinery impacted the community which lacked information on chemical stocks due to insufficient Tier II reporting.