Wisconsin Tier II Reporting
Tier Ⅱ reporting in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin’s Tier II Reporting Requirements
Who Needs to Report?
Any facility in Wisconsin 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.
- 75,000 gallons or more of gasoline
- 100,000 gallons or more of diesel fuel (all grades combined)
- The reporting thresholds in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 facilities in Wisconsin that would likely need to submit a Tier II hazardous chemical inventory report if they meet or exceed the reporting thresholds:
- Manufacturing facilities: Acids, bases, solvents, chemicals used in processes, ammonia refrigeration, compressed gasses, etc. Examples include paper mills, metal fabricators, auto manufacturers, and plastic and resin producers.
- Wastewater treatment plants: Chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, sulfur dioxide, ammonia.
- Farms: Anhydrous ammonia fertilizer, pesticides/herbicides.
- Food processors: Ammonia refrigeration systems, acid, and base cleaning chemicals.
- Hospitals: Oxygen, nitric oxide, ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, sterilization chemicals.
- Universities and labs: Acids, bases, organic chemicals, compressed gasses.
- Gas stations: Gasoline, diesel, kerosene.
- Retail stores: Fertilizers, pesticides, chlorine bleach, propane, refrigerants.
- Pool supply: Chlorine, muriatic acid.
- Power plants: Ammonia, chlorine, sulfuric acid, compressed gasses.
- Electronics manufacturers: Acids, isopropanol, xylene, compressed gasses.
- Auto repair shops: Gasoline, solvents, oil/petroleum products, antifreeze.
- Dry cleaners: Perchloroethylene, spotting chemicals.
In general, any facility storing or using hazardous chemicals related to industrial, commercial, or retail processes would likely exceed thresholds requiring Tier II reporting in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s Electronic Tier II Reporting System (WHOPRS)
Overview of WHOPRS
Wisconsin Hazmat Online Planning and Reporting System (WHOPRS) is a Tier II Manager reporting system used by Wisconsin. Facilities must file annual Tier II reports through WHOPRS if they exceed threshold quantities for hazardous chemicals. WHOPRS allows facilities to register and fill out Tier II report forms electronically through a web portal. The system stores information on facility identification, locations, ownership, emergency contacts, chemical inventories, and hazard data.
How to Submit a Tier II Report in Wisconsin
Here is an overview of the key steps to submit a Tier II hazardous chemical inventory report in WHOPRS (Wisconsin’s online reporting system):
- Register as a facility in WHOPRS – New users must create an account and register their facility if it does not yet exist in the system.
- Log in to WHOPRS – Existing facilities can log in to access the Tier II reporting module.
- Select reporting year – Choose the current reporting year (previous calendar year data).
- Update facility identification – Review and update the facility name, address, contacts, ownership, etc. if needed.
- Input chemical inventory data – Add chemicals present on site, amounts in storage ranges, locations, and hazard classifications.
- Review thresholds – WHOPRS cross-references input chemicals against threshold limits and flags required reporting.
- Certify submission – Review the report details then digitally certify and submit the report.
- Print confirmation – Print a copy of the submitted Tier II report for facility records.
- Resubmit revisions – If needed, facilities can later update, revise, and resubmit Tier II reports in WHOPRS before the deadline.
- Pay any required filing fees.
The facility does not have to send separate copies to the SERC and LEPC. WHOPRS fulfills that requirement.
Deadlines and Timelines for Tier II Reporting
Annual Reporting Deadline
In Wisconsin, facilities must submit their Tier II reports on hazardous chemicals present during the previous calendar year by March 1 annually.
Additional Reporting Requirements
In Wisconsin, 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 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
WI-Specific Chemicals – Some chemical reporting thresholds are only applicable in Wisconsin, like for chlorine dioxide.
Keep Copies of All Submitted Reports
Print a copy of the submitted Tier II report for facility 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 typically leads to the highest fines.
- Even small errors associated with one chemical can incur sizable penalties.
- Keep up to date with your LEPCs and their requirements to ensure first responders have the information they need and you’re fully compliant
Penalties for Non-Compliance with Tier II Reporting in Wisconsin
Potential Fines and Legal Consequences
Here are some potential legal and financial consequences for failing to comply with Tier II hazardous chemical reporting requirements in Wisconsin:
- Civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation per day can be assessed under state law for inaccurate, incomplete, or late reporting.
- Criminal penalties are also possible – fines up to $50,000 per violation per day and imprisonment up to 2 years per violation.
- Facilities may face permitting actions or additional restrictions if Tier II non-compliance is discovered. Regulators may increase inspections or audits.
- Employees or local citizens negatively impacted by lack of reporting could potentially sue facilities for negligence.
- Failure to report significantly impairs emergency response capabilities, potentially risking lives and property in a chemical incident. This leads to a very negative public perception.
- Intentionally falsifying Tier II reports or fraudulent non-reporting can prompt federal EPA investigations and enforcement actions.
Impact on Community Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Here are some hypothetical scenarios of emergency incidents in Wisconsin caused by failure to file a Tier II report:
- Firefighters respond to a warehouse fire without knowing it stores large amounts of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which explodes, injuring first responders.
- A tank leak at an industrial facility releases a toxic gas, but with no Tier II report, responders do not know chemicals in use to warn community members appropriately.
- A train derails carrying hazardous materials, but delays in obtaining a shipping manifest leave a school and nursing home in the evacuation zone too long.
- Emergency personnel are unaware of chemical incompatibilities at a plant, causing accidental mixing and violent reactions when trying to contain a spill.
- Responders underestimate the potential evacuation radius around a chemical release, leaving many residents exposed when the plume spreads farther than expected.
- A hospital prepares for mass casualties from a refinery explosion, but lacks key details on the chemicals involved, complicating treatment.
While these are hypotheticals, they illustrate the critical need for comprehensive Tier II inventory reporting to protect public safety, minimize community impacts, and guide effective emergency response in Wisconsin.