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FAQ on Annual Hazardous Chemical Inventory Reporting

Posted on February 08, 2011 by James Griffin

March 1, 2011 is the deadline for the annual hazardous chemical inventory reporting under the EPCRA rules at 40 CFR 370. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic:

Q. Who must report?

A. The inventory reporting rule applies to any facility that is required to prepare or have available a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for a hazardous chemical under the OSHA hazard communication rule at 29 CFR 1910.1200 [40 CFR 370.20(a)].

Q. Is there a list of OSHA hazardous chemicals?

A. There is no master “OSHA list” of hazardous chemicals. OSHA defines a hazardous chemical as any chemical that poses a physical hazard or health hazard [29 CFR 1910.1200(c)]. The standard provides 20 plus criteria that have to be assessed to determine if something is a health or physical hazard. The standard does require the employer to maintain a list of the hazardous chemicals known to be present at the workplace [29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)(i)]. OSHA does provide hazard communication resources on its Web site.

There is a list of extremely hazardous substances (EHS) at 40 CFR 355, Appendix A.

Q. What materials are subject to reporting?

A. All hazardous chemicals that were present at your facility at or above their threshold quantities during the 2010 calendar must be included. For most OSHA hazardous chemicals, the reporting threshold is 10,000 pounds or more present at one time during the year [40 CFR 370.10(a)(2)(ii)]. For extremely hazardous substances (EHS), the reporting threshold is either 500 pounds or the threshold planning quantity (TPQ), whichever is lower, present at one time [40 CFR 370.10(a)(1)]. There are separate reporting thresholds for gasoline and diesel fuels [40 CFR 370.10(a)(2)(ii)-(iii)].

Q. In determining the reporting thresholds, do I aggregate the constituents at my site?

A. For OSHA hazardous chemicals, no. Each OSHA hazardous chemical that exceeds the 10,000-pound threshold at any point in the year is reported separately in your inventory.

In determining whether you have met the reporting threshold for extremely hazardous substances, you must aggregate the amount of the EHS in mixtures as well as other quantities of the EHS on site [40 CFR 370.14(c)]. Also, the special threshold for gasoline and diesel fuel applies to the aggregate of all blends [40 CFR 370.10(a)(ii)-(iii)].

Q. What if my local authorities request an inventory report on chemicals for which my facility has not exceeded the appropriate threshold?

A. If your local authorities request a report, the reporting threshold is zero—they can request information in regard to any hazardous chemical in any quantity.

Q. How can I locate my LEPC and SERC?

A. Your annual report must be submitted to your local emergency planning committee (LEPC), state emergency planning commission (SERC), and local fire department. The EPA maintains a searchable list of SERCs to help you to determine the appropriate LEPC.

Q. May I use either the Tier I or the Tier II form?

A. As a rule, you may submit either a Tier I form for your entire inventory of hazardous chemicals and extremely hazardous substances, or Tier II forms for each hazardous chemical, extremely hazardous substance, or mixture in your inventory [40 CFR 370.25(a)-(b)].

A Tier I form must include general information about all the chemicals at your facility, including the maximum amounts present, physical and health hazards, average daily amounts present, general locations at the facility, number of days on site, and other information as appropriate [40 CFR 370.40].

A Tier II report must include chemical-specific information, including the CAS number, chemical name or common name, whether the chemical is pure or a mixture, its physical state, whether it is EHS or non-EHS, its hazard category (defined at 40 CFR 370.2), and other information as appropriate [40 CFR 370.41].

Q. What if I use the Tier I and they ask for the Tier II?

A. While using the Tier I inventory reporting form is acceptable under the Federal regulations, your LEPC, SERC, and/or local fire department may then require you to follow up with a Tier II report. The Tier II report then becomes mandatory, and you must submit it [40 CFR 370.25(c)]. Additionally, the Tier II report is required in most states, and some have additional requirements beyond the Federal Tier II requirements. The EPA’s Tier II online information site provides state-specific information, but be sure to check with your local authorities as well.

Q. May I submit the report electronically?

A. Yes, if you are submitting the Tier II form. The EPA has developed Tier2 Submit software to help facilities prepare an electronic report. If your state accepts this format, you may follow the directions on EPA’s Tier II Chemical Inventory Reports page. This site also provides printable forms for facilities using the Tier I reporting form.