Rhode Island Tier II Reporting
Tier II reporting in Rhode Island 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 in Rhode Island. This form, known as the Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms, is used to notify state officials, local officials, and the general public in Rhode Island regarding potential hazards. Facilities in Rhode Island must submit their Tier II forms by March 1st each year to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, local fire departments, and Local Emergency Planning Committees.
Understanding Rhode Island’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Rhode Island 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.
- Any facility that stores 500 lbs or more (or the threshold planning quantity, whichever is less) 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island can be found here.
Types of Facilities Subject to Tier II Reporting
Here are some examples of facilities and chemicals that would require submitting a Tier II report in Rhode Island:
- Fishing/Seafood Processing Facilities: Ammonia is used in refrigeration systems, and cleaning chemicals like bleach and peracetic acid.
- Manufacturing Facilities: Acids and metal finishing chemicals for jewelry makers, solvents, and adhesives for other manufacturers.
- Dairy Farms: Anhydrous ammonia is used as a refrigerant, and diesel fuel for machinery.
- Nurseries and Greenhouses: Pesticides, fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate.
- Healthcare Facilities: Disinfectants, sterilants like ethylene oxide or formaldehyde, and radioactive materials used in imaging and cancer treatments.
- Wastewater Treatment Plants: Chlorine, sulfur dioxide, ammonia.
- Power Plants: Ammonia, chlorine, and other hazardous chemicals used for cooling or emissions control.
- Chemical Distributors/Suppliers: Large quantities of all kinds of hazardous chemicals.
Facilities in these industries would likely need to report common chemicals stored over Tier II thresholds like acids, flammable liquids, fuels, chlorine, and ammonia.
Rhode Island’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (Tier2Submit Software)
Overview of Tier2Submit Software
Rhode Island requires facilities to submit Tier II reports electronically using the Tier2 Submit software developed by the federal government. The Tier2 Submit software allows facilities to enter their chemical inventory information and generate the completed Tier II form. Once the Tier II form is completed electronically, it must be emailed to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) at [email protected] addition to submitting to the DEM, facilities must also send copies of their Tier II forms to their Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and local fire department.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Rhode Island
Here are the key steps to submit a Tier II report using Tier2Submit software:
- Download the Tier2 Submit software from the EPA. This is used to compile and generate the Tier II report electronically.
- Enter the facility’s chemical inventory data into the Tier2 Submit software, including chemical names, quantities on site, storage information, etc.
- Use the software to complete the Tier II report form with all required facility and chemical information.
- Review the completed Tier II report for accuracy. Make any necessary corrections.
- Export the report as both a .t2s file and a .pdf.
- Email the exported .t2s file to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) at [email protected].
- Send copies of the Tier II report to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the local fire department that has jurisdiction over the facility.
- Retain a copy of the Tier II report on-site in the facility’s records.
- You must email a copy of the Tier II report in .t2s format to [email protected]
- You must also send a copy of the Tier II report to your LEPC and your local fire department. Note that the exact format of the report that the LEPC or fire department requires varies.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Rhode Island, facilities must submit their Tier II reports on hazardous chemicals present during the previous calendar year by March 1 annually.
Additional Reporting Requirements
In addition to the main annual Tier II chemical inventory report, facilities in Rhode Island may have some supplemental reporting requirements:
- 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
Although you can submit your Tier II report electronically to RI DEM, the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and fire departments do not have access to the reports through this system. Therefore, you must file copies of the Tier II reports separately with the LEPCs and fire departments in Rhode Island.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
Be sure to save a copy of the PDF Tier II report after generating it in the Tier2 Submit software before submitting it to the RI DEM. Maintain an electronic copy of all submitted Tier II reports onsite at the facility itself. This provides easy access for reference, inspection, and updating.
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 changes in reportable substances in a timely manner can result in fines and penalties.
- 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 and DEM closely to avoid violations and protect your business finances.
Penalties for Non-Compliance with Tier II Reporting in Rhode Island
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential penalties and consequences for facilities that fail to comply with EPCRA Tier II reporting requirements in Rhode Island:
- Civil Penalties – Rhode Island can assess significant fines per violation per day for failure to comply with reporting requirements.
- Criminal Penalties – Knowingly violating EPCRA reporting requirements can result in fines or imprisonment.
- Injunctions – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management may obtain a court injunction to require facilities to submit missing Tier 2 reports and take other necessary actions to comply.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Unfortunately, there have been some high-profile incidents in Rhode Island that highlight the importance of proper Tier II reporting for community safety:
- Warwick Chemical Spill (2002) – A tank overflowed and caused nitric acid, sodium hydroxide, and other chemicals to spill into the sewer system and nearby river. Better Tier 2 data could have helped the emergency response efforts.
- Press Fire (2003) – Toxic smoke and hydrochloric acid released when a large metal plating facility burned down in Pawtucket. Better Tier 2 records on stored chemicals may have helped firefighters.