Mitch Lagerstrom, Director of Consulting - EHS Practice
Tier II is a federal statutory requirement passed by Congress under the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) in 1986. Title III of SARA established the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which provides citizens with information on hazardous chemicals used by any entities in their community.
EPCRA follows the OSHA definition of a hazardous chemical from 29 CFR §1910.1200(c) as “[…] any chemical which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified.”
A more simplistic determination for Tier II reporting purposes is to report all chemicals at or above 10,000 pounds that have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), with some exemptions.
EPA includes a list of Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) in appendices A and B of 40 CFR §355. These EHS trigger the Tier II reporting requirement if the amount stored exceeds the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ) or 500 pounds, whichever is lower (note the TPQ is included on EPA’s List of Lists).
One commonly reported EHS is sulfuric acid. The TPQ for sulfuric acid is 1,000 pounds, therefore the reporting threshold for sulfuric acid is 500 pounds. This threshold is reached quickly by lead acid batteries found throughout many facilities (e.g. electric forklifts).
There are some important exemptions within the definition of Hazardous Chemical in 40 CFR §355.61. One exemption used regularly is the household use exemption, which states in part that any substance is exempt from the definition of hazardous chemical if it is “[…] present in the same form and concentration as a product packaged for distribution and use by the general public.” This exemption applies regardless of whether the chemical is used for the same purpose as the consumer product. Additional exemptions may apply to a specific substance, and each needs to be reviewed to determine if an exemption applies.
Tier II reports for hazardous chemicals and EHS at or above the reporting thresholds from the previous calendar year are required to be submitted to State Emergency Response Committee, Local Emergency Planning Committee, and local fire departments by March 1st each year. If you have a large number of hazardous chemicals, this deadline provides a small window to gather data.
There are several things unrelated to calendar year inventory that you can have ready for Tier II reporting before the end of the year. These items include:
When you have the final information for the prior calendar year inventory the remaining steps are to determine if the hazardous chemical or EHS triggers a reporting threshold, the maximum and average amount stored onsite, and how many days it was stored onsite. Then you can complete your Tier II reporting.