Texas Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Texas 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 Texas’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Texas 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 Texas apply to the total quantity stored at a facility at any one time.
- Chemicals with reporting exemptions do not need to be included, even if thresholds are met.
- Only facilities in Texas that meet or exceed the thresholds need to submit a Tier II report. Facilities below the thresholds are exempt.
- More information on Tier II reporting in Texas can be found here.
Types of Facilities Subject to Tier II Reporting
Here are some examples of facilities and chemicals that would likely need to file Tier II reports to be in compliance with EPCRA in Texas, based on major industries:
- Oil and gas facilities: crude oil, diesel fuel, lubricating oils, solvents like benzene
- Petrochemical plants: acids, ammonia, chlorine, propane
- Manufacturing plants: acids, paints, inks, cleaners, lubricants
- Wastewater treatment plants: chlorine, sulfur dioxide, ammonia
- Power plants: ammonia, chlorine, sulfuric acid, diesel fuel
- Hospitals: ethanol, formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, diesel fuel
- Universities: lab chemicals like acids, solvents, compressed gasses
- Transportation/trucking companies: diesel fuel, lubricating oil
- Auto repair shops: paints, thinners, solvents, oil
Facilities in these industries would likely need to report common chemicals stored over Tier II thresholds like acids, flammable liquids, fuels, chlorine, and ammonia.
State of Texas Environmental Electronic Reporting System (STEERS)
Overview of STEERS
The State of Texas Environmental Electronic Reporting System (STEERS) is the centralized online environmental reporting system used for submitting regulated chemical inventory reports in Texas. Facilities that store hazardous chemicals above threshold quantities are required to submit a Tier II Inventory Report annually under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The Tier II report provides information about the chemicals stored on-site to state and local emergency planning authorities.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Texas
Here is a summary of the key steps to submit a Tier II report in STEERS:
- Log into STEERS and go to Tier II Reporting.
- Click “Start Draft Report” and select “Annual” report type. Add optional title.
- Click “Add Existing Facilities” to select facilities to include.
- Review and update facility, chemical, and contact information as needed on each facility’s tabs.
- Validate the report and fix any errors.
- Click “Start Submission”, certify by typing name, add title and STEERS password.
- Click submit.
- PDF and XML report files are generated and can be accessed on the Reports List page.
- Custom reports can also be created using the “Export/Print Reports” menu.
- Depending on the facility’s chemicals and NAICS code, TCEQ will create an invoice that is due upon receipt. More information can be found here.
- The key steps are accessing STEERS, starting a new annual report draft, selecting facilities, reviewing/updating data, validating, certifying, and submitting the report to generate the required reporting files. The guide provides helpful resources like training videos, live classes, and step-by-step instructions.
- You must submit a separate Tier II report to your LEPC and local fire department. You can find information about your LEPC and Fire Department here.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Texas, 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 3 main reporting requirements for Texas:
- Annual Reports – can be started on November 1st of each year but cannot be submitted until January 1st. The report is due March 1.
- Initial Reports – these must be filed when a new hazardous chemical is brought onsite that is over the threshold. Or a new facility with hazardous chemicals has come online. An initial report must be submitted within 90 days of the change, unless the facility uses Ammonium Nitrate in fertilizer, in which case that facility is required to submit an initial report within 72 hours.
- Updated Reports – file an updated report when there is a significant change from the previous report. This report should be filed within 90 days of the change. Unless ammonium nitrate is involved, in which case it must be submitted within 72 hours.
Tips for Effective Tier II Reporting
Maintain Accurate Inventory Records
It is important to maintain accurate inventory records in Texas because of the additional requirements around initial and updated reports. If there is a significant change at the facility, an updated report may be required. Especially if the facility handles ammonium nitrate, it is essential that inventory is accurate.
Understand State-Specific Reporting Requirements
Although you can submit your report electronically in STEERS for Texas, the LEPC and Fire Department do not have access to your report in STEERS. Therefore, you must file those reports separately. TCEQ maintains a list of LEPCs with their contact information and how they like to receive the reports (by mail, by email). TCEQ also provides a link to the Texas Fire Connect Portal which has contact information for fire departments.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
STEERS allows users to export their reports in different formats. After submitting a Tier II report in STEERS, PDF and XML report files are automatically generated and available on the Report List page.
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. And 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 consult the EPA list of lists to double check if the chemical is an extremely hazardous substance.
Failing to Keep Up-To-Date with Changes in Regulations
Texas may not change the state implementation of Tier II frequently. However, check with your LEPCs, as they may require more stringent rules for the facilities in their jurisdiction.
Penalties for Non-Compliance with Tier II Reporting in Texas
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Failure to report can result in Federal, state, and local civil penalties if an incident occurs and no Tier II report is on file. According to Texas Administrative Code Title 30 Part 1 Chapter 325.4, The TCEQ can conduct inspections and investigations to verify compliance with Tier II reporting requirements. Facilities must cooperate and allow access.Tier II violations can result in TCEQ enforcement action including administrative orders and penalties.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Here are some examples of how proper Tier II reporting could have helped prevent environmental or chemical disasters in Texas:
- West Fertilizer Explosion (2013): The fertilizer plant that exploded was storing large amounts of ammonium nitrate but failed to file a Tier II report. Better reporting could have informed first responders of the risk.
- ITC Deer Park Fire (2019): The petrochemical storage facility underestimated chemical inventories in their Tier II filing. Complete reporting could have better prepared for the large fire.
- Arkema Crosby Plant Fires (2017): The chemical plant did not fully disclose reactive chemicals on-site during Hurricane Harvey flooding. Accurate Tier II data could have aided in pre-storm precautions.
- Texas City Refinery Explosion (2005): The BP refinery’s Tier II inventory excluded trailers storing hazardous materials that contributed to the blast. Including temporary storage could have identified risks.