Are You Ready for Your Tier II Filings? Here’s What You Need to Know

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 HCSThe 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 tcory@envstd.com.

Auditing Commercial Laboratory Quality Systems in Malaysia and Indonesia

Environmental Standards, Inc. (Environmental Standards) is an industry leader in the performance of on-site laboratory quality audits, performing over 100 audits of commercial, municipal, and industrial laboratories each year on behalf of our clientele. The vast majority of these audits are domestic laboratory facilities, which generally follow the quality system requirements as detailed in The NELAC Institute (TNI) Standard. However, there is a growing interest by our multi-national clients to assess the quality of their analytical service providers around the globe. In 2017, Environmental Standards performed two commercial laboratory audits in Southeast Asia; one facility located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and another facility located in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. As experiences auditing commercial laboratories in Brazil were published in a previous blog, let’s take a look at the environmental laboratory approach to quality systems that is used in both Malaysia and Indonesia and compare that with the US approach.

The majority of commercial analytical laboratories that are accredited in the United States operate under the consensus standards and accreditation system currently operated through TNI. In addition, many state environmental agencies offer accreditation through a number of programs for analytical laboratories that perform analysis for environmental programs specific to that state.

In the region of Southeast Asia audited, a collection of accreditation standards are used to evaluate laboratory quality systems, including The American National Standard for General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories (ANSI/ISO/IEC 17025:2005), as well as several standards published by regional authorities, such as the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation and the Skim Akreditasi Makal Malaysia (Laboratory Accreditation Scheme of Malaysia or SAMM), as well as information detailed in the latest edition of Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater (Standard Methods).

Our general observations on the procedures currently in use noted that the quality systems are built around the requirements proposed in the various SAMM directives, while the quality assurance associated with each method is specific to the requirements contained in the particular published methods being employed by the laboratory.

The SAMM accreditation scheme is documented through the use of different classes of documents that specify the requirements and criteria for laboratory accreditation. A number of “Specific Criteria” documents present the general requirements for accreditation for different classes of testing, such as chemical, microbiological, veterinary, forensics, etc. These documents include the specific quality criteria for each field, and are comparable to the TNI standard with respect to content, including requirements for quality administration such as document control, control of non-conforming work, internal audits and managerial review, as well as technical requirements such as calibration, method validation, and measurement traceability.

The next level of document specificity is the “Specific Technical Requirements” documents, which provide an increasingly detailed set of requirements for more specific fields of laboratory testing, including requirements for such diverse fields as household pesticide bioefficacy, toxicity testing, electromagnetic compatibility, nucleic acid testing, and controlled substances.

Finally, SAMM also publishes policies and circulars that contain specific directives and clarifications. These documents provide additional clarification on specific requirements as necessary.

This collection of documents from the various agencies provides a solid framework that is in most respects quite similar to the TNI Standard commonly used in the United States for environmental quality systems guidance. The issues that were observed during the audit were common issues observed during any audit: issues of standard interpretation, consistent quality implementation, and method compliance. One of the unique challenges faced by the Malaysian and Indonesian laboratories is procurement of equipment and standards. Both have very restrictive import policies and lengthy impound periods. Orders from laboratory suppliers can take months to reach their final destinations, which can make it difficult for the laboratory personnel to replace damaged equipment and expired standards.

The quality systems that form the basis for the environmental laboratory accreditation were quite adequate, if a little bit cumbersome to evaluate, and very consistent to the national TNI Standard currently in use in the United States.

Gerry Kirkpatrick and Dan Claycomb receive NY State PG Certification

To protect the public regarding geologic issues that affect citizens, natural resources, and the environment, New York State became the 32nd state to require that professional geologists be licensed.  This month, two of Environmental Standards’ Principal Geologists; Gerry Kirkpatrick and Dan Claycomb, received certification from the State of New York.  With their recent accomplishments, our geosciences team now has PG licenses to help our clients in many
states (AZ, DE, FL,
IN, NC, NH, NY, TN, PA and VA). 

Environmental Standards has appropriate certifications to provide environmental services in West Virginia, Ohio, and other states as well.  We have several geologists certified at the national level and even an elected Fellow of the Geological Society of London

Gerry Kirkpatrick (left) and Dan Claycomb

Environmental Standards’ Celebrates 30 Years!

On Thursday, October 12th, a crowd of 150 gathered at the Phoenixville Foundry to celebrate Environmental Standards’ 30th year in business. Guests included colleagues, clients, friends and family. The theme of the night was a Venetian Carnival Masquerade and guests donned masks that ranged from traditional Venetian style to those inspired by Phantom of the Opera and the steampunk genre. The evening began with an aerial bartender pouring champagne to the sounds of a talented string quartet from CAPA, The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. DJ, Aaron DeAngelo kept the dance floor alive while other guests engaged in friendly competition up in the mezzanine around craps, blackjack and roulette tables. A great time was had by all!

Thank you to all for attending! Cheers to the next 30 years!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US EPA Brownfields Grant News Updates

FY 2018 RFP for Brownfields Assessment, Cleanup, and Revolving Loan Fund Grants Announced

On September 18, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) announced the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Request for Proposals (RFP) for Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants.  These grants may be used to address sites impacted by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum).  The Proposal submission deadline is November 16, 2017.  Specific grant-funding opportunities for FY 2018 include:

  • Assessment Grants (funded over 3 years) Community-wide or Site-Specific Applicants:  Applicants may apply for up to $200,000 in hazardous substances funding, $200,000 in petroleum funding, or a combined $300,000 for hazardous substances and petroleum funding.  Assessment Coalition Applicants may apply for up to $600,000 in hazardous substances funding and/or petroleum funding.
  • Revolving Loan Fund Grants (funded over 5 years) Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grants provide funding to capitalize an RLF program.  RLF programs provide loans and sub-grants to eligible entities to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites impacted with hazardous substances or petroleum.  Eligible applicants may apply as individual entities or as RLF Coalitions comprised of two or more entities.  RLF applicants may apply for up to $1,000,000 in funding.
  • Cleanup Grants (funded over 3 years) Applicants may apply for up to $200,000 per brownfield site and may submit up to three separate, site-specific Cleanup Grant Proposals.Environmental Standards has a long history of helping clients identify and apply for various grant-funding opportunities.  We have prepared numerous successful grant applications on behalf of clients resulting in multiple funding awards to be used for environmental assessment, planning, remediation, and capitalization of RLF programs.  Over the past 5 years alone, we have helped clients prepare successful RLF and Assessment Grant applications that have resulted in awards of $1.65 million.

For more information, please contact Joe Kraycik or Gerry Kirkpatrick at (610) 935-5577.

To assist applicants with their proposals, US EPA will host its annual National Guideline Outreach Webinar on October 5, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. Participants can join the webinar at http://epawebconferencing.acms.com/app18/ and/or via conference call at 1-866-299-3188/ access code: 202-566-1817.