South Carolina Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in South Carolina 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 South Carolina’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 facility types and the chemicals commonly associated with them that would need to submit a Tier II report in South Carolina:
- Retail Gas Stations: Retail gas stations typically store and handle gasoline, diesel fuel, and other petroleum products. These facilities may also store chemicals such as lubricants, fuel additives, and cleaning agents.
- Manufacturing Plants: Manufacturing facilities 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.
- Warehouses and Distribution Centers: Facilities involved 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 variety 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.
South Carolina’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 South Carolina
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 chemical inventory under the Chemicals module by entering chemical properties, storage info, mixtures, etc.
- Review and submit your Tier II report(s).
- In South Carolina, the SERC will not distribute the report to the LEPC and fire department. You are responsible for distributing your Tier II report(s) to the appropriate local agencies with jurisdiction.
- For more information on Tier II reporting in South Carolina can be found here.
- South Carolina only accepts submissions through E-Plan no other submissions will be accepted.
- You must check with your SERC, LEPC, and local fire department to see if they accept electronic Tier II submissions.
- The state of South Carolina does not charge Tier II reporting fees. You must check with your LEPC and local fire department for fees associated with Tier II filing.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In South Carolina, 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
There are some additional reporting requirements for Tier II reports in South Carolina beyond 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
In South Carolina, you must check with your SERC, LEPC, and local fire department to see if they accept Tier II reports via 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 South Carolina
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential legal consequences for failing to accurately submit Tier II reports in South Carolina:
- Civil penalties of up to $25,000 for each tank for which a facility owner or operator failed to submit a report or submitted false information.
- Failure to comply with right-to-know reporting requirements can result in a misdemeanor criminal charge. The maximum penalty is a $25,000 fine, up to 2 years imprisonment, or both.
- The state can bring a civil action and seek an injunction and assessment of civil penalties against facility owners who fail to comply.
- Failure to report hazardous chemicals interferes with emergency planning and public safety. It may prompt investigations, legal action by the state or local emergency planning committee, and potential lawsuits in the event of an accident.
- In addition to state penalties, the EPA can pursue federal civil penalties of up to $37,500 per day and federal criminal charges for willful, knowing, or negligent violations.
- Local fire departments may issue their own citations or penalties for failure to comply with hazardous chemical reporting and inventory requirements.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
There have been some incidents in South Carolina where facilities failed to properly submit Tier II reports and faced consequences:
- In 2019, a propane facility in Spartanburg County paid a $25,000 civil penalty to the state for failure to submit Tier II reports for 2013-2015. This only came to light after emergency responders were called to an explosion at the site and had no hazard information.
- In 2018, a chemical company agreed to pay a $40,000 penalty for failure to submit Tier II reports to local emergency planning committees in South Carolina from 2012-2014.
- A fertilizer facility was fined $5,000 by the Charleston County LEPC in 2015 for not submitting updated Tier II reports when ownership changed. This left emergency responders without current contact and inventory information.