For environmental compliance, continuous EHS training is a must. According to many EHS professionals Encamp works with, in fact, it’s a constant priority.
Such EHS training is vital for RCRA and EPCRA Tier II reporting. EHS professionals also rely on training to keep up with regulatory requirements. Even the latest industry developments and trends fall under the EHS training umbrella.
On Encamp’s recommendations list for EHS training resources, these five are at the top. (Thanks to our director of customer success for the assist.)
EHS Today is a leading magazine for EHS management professionals in the United States. You can also say their website is a living encyclopedia for EHS industry news. And without question, the webinars from EHS Today are excellent tools for EHS training.
Both upcoming and archived, their webinars offer information and analysis from industry leaders. They also address a range of environmental compliance, sustainability, and risk management topics. One webinar of note is “State of the EHS Industry: Exploring the Results of the EHS Research Study.” The webinar is archived from April 2020, but it’s still a relevant for EHS training.
You can access the full library of EHS Today webinars here.
The EHS Daily Advisor from BLR is another great website for all things EHS. They start with their newsletter as a daily source of EHS industry news and insights. A library of reports, eBooks, white papers and other materials also make for valuable EHS training resources.
One resource for EHS leaders that caught our eye? The EHS Leadership in 2021 report.
See the full list of other free EHS Daily Advisor resources here.
When it comes to RCRA training, McCoy and Associates are in a league of their own. McCoy is regarded for their in-depth RCRA training seminars, which can get costly. But what many EHS professionals don’t know is that McCoy also offers a library of free white papers. These papers cover virtually every waste topic imaginable. Consider them premier EHS training resources for RCRA.
You can find McCoy’s white paper library here.
Alison is one of the world’s largest free learning platforms for education and skills training. We’ve included them on our list for their ISO training courses for environmental management. They additionally offer a strong selection of Health & Safety training classes. Course ratings serve as guidelines for which courses are worth considering.
Current class offerings are listed here.
NAEM is the National Association for EHS&S Management. And environment, health, safety and sustainability (EHS&S) leaders can take advantage of the organization’s many professional development opportunities. Although various NAEM events require a membership, however, many of their resources and webinars for EHS training are free.
Register for upcoming webinars and access their library of archived webinars here.
Reporting your facility’s chemicals for Tier II can be a confusing task. Depending on your inventory, you may have difficulty with mixtures, lead acid batteries, or understanding your state requirements and using their portal. To help with your Tier II reporting efforts, we tackle each one of these here.
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding mixtures and how to report them in a Tier II scenario. Do you report each chemical separately within the mixture? Or should you report the mixture as its own chemical? EPA guidance recommends two methods:
The following examples are from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ):
In the example here, the mixture X-Chem weighs 20,000 lbs. and contains 20% of the hazardous chemical “Chemical A”, which is listed as an EHS, and 80% water:
According to EPA Guidance for Tier II, whichever way is chosen to report mixtures, the manner must be consistent between Section 311 Reporting and Section 312 Reporting.
The batteries in powered industrial trucks, such as forklifts and man lifts, contain lead and sulfuric acid. According to OSHA, they are a hazardous chemical because of the “potential to emit hydrogen gas which, upon ignition, may result in a fire or explosion.” The batteries do not fall under the article exemption either because they “have the potential to leak, spill, or break during normal conditions of use, including foreseeable emergencies,” according to the EPA’s memorandum on reporting these batteries. Because of this, it’s important for Tier II purposes to review how many batteries your facility stores and uses to determine if they exceed the threshold.
In the eyes of the EPA, lead-acid batteries are considered a mixture of sulfuric acid and lead. If you take a look at the safety data sheet (SDS) for a lead-acid battery, it generally contains between 40-75% lead (or lead compounds) and 20-45% sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is listed as an EHS chemical with a TPQ of 1,000 pounds. Therefore, the threshold would default to the 500 pounds threshold because it is an EHS. Lead-acid batteries can weigh anywhere from 39 pounds to upwards of 4,000 pounds. Because of the 500 pound threshold for sulfuric acid, facilities with even just one battery may be required to report. If your facility has several smaller batteries onsite, the amount of sulfuric acid in each battery needs to be aggregated with all sulfuric acid on-site to determine if that threshold has been met or exceeded.
For Tier II reporting, once you’ve determined whether the threshold for sulfuric acid has been reached, you may report the battery as a mixture or you can report the sulfuric acid separately as an EHS. However, the regulations state that “reporting a mixture, such as the batteries, under both sections 311 and 312 must occur in the same manner, where practicable.” Most battery manufacturers publish SDSs for their batteries as a mixture, rather than the individual components. However, if you’re replenishing the electrolyte or manufacturing batteries, then it may make sense to report as individual components. Some states have released guidance on reporting lead acid batteries, so double check with your facility’s state program prior to reporting these.
Many oil and gas companies and manufacturers have several types of oils and oil-based products on-site. There is a lot of confusion out there, on whether these need to be aggregated across the facility or not. The EPA has published guidance on this, which states that there are two ways to determine if aggregation of hazardous chemicals makes sense.
First, it’s recommended to review your products in question and review their SDSs. A facility can have two or more SDSs for chemicals onsite. For example, a facility can receive multiple SDSs for essentially the same material, but its provided by different suppliers. If the mixtures are represented by SDSs that are identical in composition and physical and health hazards, these mixtures can most likely be aggregated to determine if they exceed the threshold. If however, “two or more chemical combinations are represented by different SDSs and present different physical or health hazards, they would not be aggregated for §§311/312 purposes.”
The determination to aggregate similar hazardous chemicals is generally left up to the owner and operator (or their authorized representative) to make that call.
For EHSs, EPA has stated that these chemicals must be aggregated across mixtures and pure chemicals. For an example, if your facility has several lead acid batteries on-site, the sulfuric acid in each of those must be aggregated to determine if you have more than 500 pounds. If you also have pure sulfuric acid that’s used in a separate process, you will have to account for that when aggregating. If an EHS is present in a mixture over 1%, it must be accounted for in your calculations for the total EHS present on-site, regardless of what container the chemical is in. This may require you to examine reaction vessels, piping, and other process components.
Another common issue with Tier II reporting is determining what your state requires for reporting and how the state wants to receive that information. States like California, Louisiana, and New Jersey have thresholds that differ from the federal thresholds. Many states require additional information on the chemicals and the facilities that report. Contact your State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) or visit their website to find out their specific requirements.
On top of the varying thresholds and specific state requirements, there are several ways that the chemical inventory can be submitted to your state. Check out the below map to see what ways your state(s) require this information to be submitted. Many states require you to complete the report through Tier2 Submit. Tier2 Submit is software that EPA developed to help eliminate the paper reporting burden. The software must be downloaded each year onto your computer in order to use it. The software is normally updated in November of the year prior. Tier2 Submit doesn’t actually submit the information to your facility’s SERC, LEPC, or Fire Department though, despite its name. Most SERCs require you to download the information from Tier2 Submit and submit the file through email, their own portal, or even on a CD/SD and mail it to the SERC.
Other states have opted to use a full reporting and submittal platform like Tier II Manager. Several states like Indiana, Delaware, Oregon, and Nevada have all adopted Tier II Manager as their portal for Tier II reporting. Another portal that some states have adopted is E-plan. E-plan was developed by the University of Texas-Dallas. Other than Tier2 submit, Tier II Manager, and E-Plan, some states have created their own portal for submitting the report like California, Texas, Missouri, and Louisiana. Each portal has its pros and cons, but digitizing this information has proven to be very beneficial to the regulated community, emergency responders, and state and local officials.
In addition to some of the ambiguities surrounding Tier II mentioned above, there are some common reporting errors that SERCs have identified.
No question. EPCRA Tier II season and reporting for environmental compliance is nerve-wracking. And the stress comes from all directions — starting with understanding regulations themselves. “Do they even apply to my facility?”
Unfortunately, there’s no magic genie in a bottle for EPCRA Tier II reporting. But some helpful resources can help you navigate the process. We zeroed in on 10 such resources, including several important ones from the EPA. We’ve also listed a few of our own. Encamp is the largest third-party filer of EPCRA Tier II reports in the country, after all. So you can say our resources stem from experience.
Here are the 10 helpful resources we came up with.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) | EPCRA Tier II Forms and Instructions
Start with the EPCRA Tier II Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form itself. Then see the instructions on how to complete the form. They’re the goldmine on this web page. The page also links to the Confidential Location Information Form for Tier II Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory information (by chemical). A fact sheet for Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) is equally helpful. (Note the fact sheet’s OSHA Physical and Health Hazard Classes and Tier II Reporting.)
For information on EPCRA Section 313 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting, use this Forms and Instructions page to access the EPA’s page on Reporting for TRI Facilities.
EPA | Resources and Guidance Documents for Compliance Assistance
The EPA’s compliance assistance program helps businesses in their efforts to meet environmental regulatory requirements. (The program is also for federal facilities, local governments and tribes.) Assistance tools and methods include online resource centers, fact sheets, and guides. Training for the following compliance categories is additionally available.
Encamp’s Tier II Guide | eBook
This free Practical Guide eBook covers the who, what, why, when and how of environmental compliance and reporting. And it does so in a way that’s straightforward and helpful. You know, practical. Sections are both well-defined and easy to understand. Better, this guide steps you through the EPCRA Tier II process beginning to end.
The Tier II Guide was written by Megan Walters, Encamp’s VP of Compliance and Customer Success. Megan is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) and a Certified Environmental and Safety Compliance Officer® (CESCO). She’s also an EHSMS Internal Auditor. Some of Encamp’s other compliance experts also pitched in. Collectively, you get the knowledge of a group that has filed hundreds of Tier II reports.
EPCRA Applicability Flowchart | 1-page chart
Think of this flowchart as an EPCRA Tier II reporting roadmap. By state, it even takes you to the county and city level. If EPCRA applies to your facility and its location, the flowchart helps you verify it. If it doesn’t, you can verify that, too. Use the flowchart as the prerequisite resource for Encamp’s Ultimate Checklist for Tier II Reporting.
The Ultimate Checklist for Tier II Reporting | 1-page checklist
Use this checklist to track key deliverables as you complete them for EPCRA Tier II reports. You also make sure you don’t overlook anything during reporting prep. And coming from Encamp’s own compliance experts — did we mention they’ve collectively filed hundreds of Tier II reports? — this checklist is thorough.
EHS Daily Advisor | industry website
The EHS Daily Advisor site is an absolute encyclopedia for EPCRA Tier II and environmental compliance issues. Note especially the News section and its pages for EHS Management; Enforcement and Inspection; Regulatory Developments; and even Chemicals. If there’s an update or news for reporting and related issues, it usually lands on one of these pages.
The site’s Multimedia and Free Resources sections are also good info repositories. Check out the infographics on EPCRA Tier II and other reporting requirements from EHS Daily Advisor Staff. The staff’s archived podcasts on the Podcast page are also worth a listen.
Environment + Energy Leader | industry website
The E + E Leader site features “news and research impacting the environment and sectors for energy and sustainability.” In the site’s Resource Hub, there are two helpful pages in particular. On the site’s EHS&S page, see the Reporting section for news on environmental reporting, requirements, data management and EHS software. The Compliance page in the Resource Hub also includes the latest news for environment and energy policy, regulatory issues, standards, compliance, and enforcement.
EHS Today | industry website
The sections for Standards and Environment are two repositories to bookmark on the EHS Today site. The Standards page hosts the latest news and updates for EPA, OSHA, and other regulatory concerns. Likewise, the Environment page has coverage for environmental regulations, sustainability, waste management and more. Both pages offer on-demand webinars, white papers, infographics and similar tools from contributing authors and businesses throughout the EHS industry.
Quiz: Test Your Tier II Knowledge | blog
We found this quiz in a January 2019 blog from Triumvirate Environmental. Even though it’s two years old, most of the details still apply to EPCRA Tier II reporting for 2021. The quiz is eight questions, all multiple choice, and takes less than a minute to complete. While we’ve included it for fun, it does tell you what you know — and don’t know — about some of the basics of Tier II reporting.
To date, Encamp has worked with nearly 200 businesses to manage close to 4,000 of their facilities and track over 20,000 compliance dates. As a third-party filer of EPCRA Tier II reports, these numbers make us the largest such filer in the country.
More than that, with a modern, end-to-end compliance platform that makes Tier II reporting and environmental compliance faster, easier, and more accurate, we empower EHS professionals to focus on EHS performance — not paperwork.
Within the realm of EPCRA Tier II reporting requirements, the most grueling parts are getting the data right and filling out the proper forms for regulatory agencies. So logically, submitting your EPCRA Tier II forms should be the easy part, right? Um, not necessarily. In a lot of ways, submissions can be just as exhausting.
Let’s do a little math first. In the U.S., every state has its own system for EPCRA Tier II submissions. That’s 50 different portals and websites and submission procedures — and trust me, there is nothing standardized about any of them. Add the EPA’s Tier2 Submit software, and the submission process gets crazier.
Now tally the states where you have to send mailings to fire departments and Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs). For EPCRA Tier II reporting requirements, those can be submissions headaches, too.
Then finally, for EPCRA Tier II filing fees, the payment options in each state can range from online methods and credit cards to hard copy checks. Nothing standard again. Scream!
Here’s where Encamp and our end-to-end platform for environmental compliance helps. In making the entire EPCRA Tier II reporting process easier, we submit the completed forms and pay fees to all appropriate agencies on your behalf.
Fair to say, we save you a lot of time and stress on the submission admin side. More importantly, Encamp makes sure your Tier II forms are up to date, accurate, validated, and submitted as scheduled.
There are still other things Encamp does for EPCRA Tier II submissions — details that sometimes go unnoticed — that EHS professionals can also appreciate. Following is an example of what I mean (it’s from a recent demo and the discussion I had with the company’s EHS team members).
EHS professional: “It seems like more and more states are moving away from Tier2 Submit. And even in the states that continue to accept it, you still have to go through their (state) portal and submit that way. So it’s pretty much the same data going into all these portals. It just has to be put into the format they want it.”
Julie (me): “That’s correct. What we’re able to do is scrape the data out of the Tier2 Submit system and any state portals and organize it into the Encamp format. It’s all an automated export process. Then we convert your EPCRA Tier II data into the format that individual states require. After that, it’s a similar automated process for how we push the submission back out.”
EHS professional: “So with the submittals, do you conduct a final review or double check of the data, or are you really just using the (Encamp) system to catch errors when they pop up? Or, is there any other kind of review from your end for accuracy… or who is that really up to?”
Julie: “Well, for data accuracy and validation, the Encamp platform has various modules you can purchase, like our Tier II module. Or if you’re looking for more of a hands-on approach, we can provide that as well. But typically, we use our software to get ahead of any errors that are occurring in your data. And remember, the Encamp solution lets you assign reviewers from your own team to double check data, state forms, etc. for your final EPCRA Tier II reports. We’ve actually built in several checkpoints to help you make sure your data is accurate prior to submission. It’s your call as to what level of service you want Encamp to provide.”
EHS professional: “So, when Encamp pays a (submission) fee, I know some states say you have to pay by credit card. Other states give you options to send in a check or pay online. But sometimes the user fees just to pay online are 75 dollars. Would Encamp avoid that (user) fee and send a check?”
Julie: “If you do have the option, we go with the lowest cost option.”
EHS professional: “I do have a question about EPCRA Tier II forms getting submitted to the appropriate agencies. Does that include local planning committees and the fire department? Those are the ones that are usually harder to figure out who forms go to.”
Julie: “We take care of every single submission. And like I said, we pull in your information from last year, so we have a record of where you sent things last year. But we do double check everything to make sure. We maintain a database of all LEPC and fire department information and make sure it’s current. We also routinely mass blast every LEPC around the country to verify their information and make any changes in our own internal records to make sure it’s cross referencing our database. That way, you know everything’s going to the right place for EPCRA Tier II compliance.”
EHS professional: “Okay, cool.”
I have to say, I agree. What Encamp does to ease the submission process for EPCRA Tier II reports is pretty cool.
To see the Encamp platform and its Tier II module at work, schedule a demo. It’s totally interactive. You tell us the Tier II reporting issues you’re up against, and then we show you precisely how our platform can solve them.test