The ringing in of the New Year means it is time to think about updating chemical inventories and starting Tier II submittals. This is an exciting year for Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know (EPCRA) Tier II filings – in as much as Tier II filings can be exciting. For the first time in a long time, the EPCRA rules have undergone an update that affects your 2017 filing due on March 1, 2018.
What do the updates mean for the regulated community? In our opinion, there are two changes that will impact the regulated community. We view one change as productive and one other change as not so much.
First, the bad news … The 2017 submittals are going to take more time to complete than in previous years. Why? For example, in 2016, you probably pulled up your 2015 filing in Tier2 Submit (or E-Plan, or whichever filing software package was adopted by your state), reviewed quantities and locations of chemicals stored on site, added or removed chemicals, as appropriate, to reflect current site conditions, and completed your updated submission. For 2017 filings, a GHS-compliant safety data sheet (SDS) is required for each chemical stored on site in excess of the applicable reporting threshold (https://www.epa.gov/epcra/epcra-sections-311-312) and the hazards must be selected on the as presented in Section 2 – Hazard Identification, of the SDS. We have found this process to be time consuming taking approximately 5 to 10 minutes per chemical. If you are reporting 50 chemicals on the Tier II, then that could be the better part of a day.
Here is an example of the physical state and quantity section from the 2016 version of Tier II (note, there are three tick boxes for Hazards and two tick boxes for Health Effects):
Here is what must be completed for the same section on your 2017 submittal (note, 23 tick boxes):
The information for the 23 tick boxes can be pulled from Section 2 of your GHS-compliant SDS. Below are examples taken from SDSs for diesel and hydraulic oil.
Section 2 for Diesel
Section 2 for Hydraulic Oil
The start of a new year is an excellent opportunity to refresh your SDS catalog and ensure completeness, particularly since the SDS helps you to determine what must be included on the Tier II report. The productive change (i.e., the good news) is that the EPCRA regulations now include the definition of a hazardous chemical as any chemical which is classified as a physical or health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified. OSHA added the three hazards, simple asphyxiant, combustible dust and pyrophoric gas, to the definition of hazardous chemical to ensure that the regulated community would understand that these are still covered under the revised HCS. The definition of hazardous chemical also includes the term hazard not otherwise classified (HNOC) for those chemicals that do not fit into any of the hazard classes adopted from GHS. Details regarding the update can be found here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-06-13/pdf/2016-13582.pdf. Additional information is available at: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-06/documents/haz_cats_tech_amend_factsheet_final_06-16-2016.pdf.
In short, if a GHS-compliant SDS has no hazards classified under Section 2 – Hazard Identification (such as hydraulic oil), then you are not required to include the chemical on your Tier II report. In years past, it could be challenging for individuals to determine what should and should not be included on the Tier II. Did anything with an MSDS need to be included? What if a chemical had an MSDS, but no hazards were listed? A few of our old favorites were ice melt/rock salt and piles of aggregate (sand and gravel). Realizing that are inconsistent from manufacturer to manufacturer, it is now very important to maintain the SDS from the manufacturer for the particular chemical you are using on site. For instance, if you rely on a generic SDS for a propylene glycol-based antifreeze that is non-hazardous, but the manufacturer’s SDS for what you specifically have in stock lists hazards, you may conclude that you don’t need to include the antifreeze (based on the generic SDS); where to be compliant you would need to include the antifreeze based on its manufacturer’s SDS. Perhaps more surprising, a number of brands of hydraulic oil are not considered hazardous under the new definition and, hence, do not need to be included on a Tier II report. Our old friends salt and aggregate are generally considered skin corrosive or irritants (eye) and carcinogenic, respectively, and must be included on your Tier II report.
Sections from SDS for Sand and Gravel
If you have questions or need assistance with Tier II filings, please contact Tim Cory at firstname.lastname@example.org.