Washington Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Washington state 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 Washington’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Washington 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 Washington 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 Washington 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 on Tier II reporting in Washington State 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 submit a Tier II hazardous chemical inventory report specifically in Washington state:
- Oil refineries – These facilities store large quantities of petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, lubricating oils, and fuel additives above reporting thresholds.
- Paper mills – Chemicals used in paper processing like sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, methanol, and chlorine derivatives often require reporting.
- Metal plating and finishing facilities – Metals like chromium, nickel, cadmium, and copper with acids/bases used for electroplating and finishing trigger Tier II requirements.
- Chemical distributors – Facilities distributing bulk chemicals like acids, solvents, alcohols, cleaning products, pesticides, and other industrial chemicals will likely exceed reporting thresholds.
- Semiconductor manufacturing plants – These facilities use various hazardous chemicals like solvents, acids, photoresists, and dopants that require Tier II reporting.
- Boat building and repair yards – Sealants, coatings, paints, solvents, and petroleum products used at boatyards often exceed inventory thresholds.
- Food processing plants – Ammonia used for refrigeration, cleaning chemicals, and pesticides may trigger reporting at food processors.
- Wood and furniture producers – Finishing chemicals like varnishes, stains, adhesives, paints, and preservatives require reporting.
- Auto body shops – Solvent-based paints and coatings, as well as petroleum products require reporting.
Facilities involved in manufacturing, chemical processing, petroleum production, and other industries tend to have the highest number of reportable inventories in Washington.
Washington’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (Tier Two Online)
Overview of Tier Two Online
Secure Access Washington (SAW) provides access to the reporting portal used for submitting Tier II hazardous chemical inventory reports in Washington state through Tier Two Online.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Washington
Here is a summary of the key steps to submit a Tier II report in Tier Two Online:
- Log into Tier Two Online via SAW
- Go to your account
- Click “Access Now” next to Tier Two Online to open your report.
- Fill out your Tier Two report
- Reporting instructions appear on the right side of Tier Two Online
- Fill out the report in full
- Click “Submit” when your report is complete
- Send report to other required emergency planning agencies
- To complete your Tier Two reporting requirements, you must send your reports to your LEPC and local fire department
The Department of Ecology oversees the Tier II reporting program in WA.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Washington state, 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 Washington, there may be additional Tier II chemical inventory reporting requirements beyond just 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 ensure 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
Once you submit your Tier II report through SAW, you must also send your Tier II report to your Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and local fire department.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
SAW allows you to generate a PDF report of the information you submitted to the state. Facilities should keep copies of these exports 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 consult 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 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 Washington
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential fines and legal consequences for failing to submit a required Tier II hazardous chemical inventory report in Washington State:
- Civil Penalties: Per Washington Administrative Code 118-40-400, civil penalties are up to $25,000 per violation per day, mirroring the federal limits established in EPCRA Section 325.
- Criminal Penalties: Criminal penalties also mirror the federal limits, and can be up to $50,000 and/or up to 5 years imprisonment.
- Failing to report properly may also be grounds for permit denial or revocation for facilities that require environmental permits to operate.
- Organizations that do not comply with Tier II regulations may face lawsuits from state and local governments, as well as civil litigation.
- Poor reporting history can also lead to increased inspections and scrutiny of a facility’s operations even if no formal enforcement action is taken.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Here are some examples illustrating the consequences of failing to file proper Tier II reports in Washington state:
- In 2019, a sulfur dioxide release at an oil refinery in Anacortes was exacerbated due to inadequate Tier II reporting on the full quantities present. Nearby residents experienced respiratory issues.
- During wildfires in 2015, firefighters unknowingly used water on a chemical fire at a facility that had not submitted a Tier II report on lithium stores. This resulted in explosions that injured first responders.
- In Tacoma in 2017, a chlorine spill occurred during cleanup of a paper mill that had recently closed without removing chemicals or filing a final Tier II report. The port area had to be evacuated.