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Are You Ready for March 1, 2024 Regulatory Deadlines?

With January coming to end, now is a good time to make sure you’re prepared for March 1 regulatory deadlines if they apply to your organization. Both Biennial Reports and Tier II submissions are due by March 1, 2024.

Biennial Reports

If your facility was registered as a Large Quantity Generator (LQG) of hazardous waste for any month in 2023, or generated at LQG quantities during any month in 2023, biennial reports are due by March 1 even if your facility is no longer registered as an LQG. Those companies that are required to submit reports must do so every two years during even numbered years.

Note that LQGs are defined as those waste generators that generate  > 2,200 pounds/month of hazardous waste or > 2.2 pounds/month of acutely hazardous waste. Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) are also required to report every other year. 

Biennial reports provide state agencies and the EPA with information on the quantity and nature of the hazardous waste that was generated in the previous year and whether the waste was sent for recycling, treatment, storage, or disposal.

Biennial reports need to be filed electronically using the Biennial Report component of the RCRAInfo Industry Application. The electronic submission includes the following: RCRA Subtitle C Site Identification Form; Waste Generation and Management (GM) Form; Waste Received From Off-Site (WR) Form, and Off-Site Identification (OI) Form. Filing instructions are provided in this Fact Sheet on Biennial Reporting and additional information can be found on EPA’s Biennial Report website. 

Some state regulatory agencies require an annual report in place of the biennial report. For instance, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) requires that LQGs of hazardous waste at any time during a calendar year submit an annual report by March 1. The DEC uses EPA’s RCRAInfo system for electronic submissions of annual reports. In addition, they have posted state-specific instructions for submission of the reports.

Tier II Reporting

Section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) describes reporting requirements for facilities that possess chemicals above established reporting thresholds. For those facilities in Massachusetts subject to reporting, submission of a Tier II Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and local fire department is required by March 1 of every year for the previous calendar year.

These reporting requirements allow state and local emergency response and planning committees to be aware of the hazardous materials present within their communities and to prepare for emergency responses.

Facilities storing a hazardous chemical that is an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) in an amount equal to or greater than 500 pounds or above the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ), whichever is lower, are required to submit Tier II reports. EHS and TPQs can be found in 40 CFR part 355 Appendix B and the EPA’s List of Lists can also be used to locate this information.

In addition, submission of a Tier II report is required for any facility possessing a hazardous chemical that is not an EHS when the hazardous chemical is present in quantities greater than 10,000 pounds at any time during the previous calendar year. Under EPCRA, hazardous chemicals are substances for which a facility must maintain an SDS under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.

Chemicals that may be overlooked that can trigger the need for Tier II reporting include liquid nitrogen (10,000 pound threshold) and generator fuel oil (10,000 pound threshold). In addition, sulfuric acid (including sulfuric acid in lead acid batteries such as those used for forklifts,  emergency generators, and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units) has a 500 pound threshold and can often trigger the need to report.

Research chemicals are exempt from reporting. Section 311(c)(4) of EPCRA excludes from the definition of hazardous chemical: “Any substance to the extent it is used in a research laboratory or a hospital or other medical facility under the direct supervision of a technically qualified individual.”  The exclusion applies to research laboratories as well as quality control laboratory operations located within manufacturing facilities. Laboratories that produce chemical specialty products or full scale pilot plant operations are considered to be part of the manufacturing facility and therefore would not be a research laboratory.

Note that Tier II reporting requirements can vary by location. For example, as we talked about in a recent blog on New York City (NYC)-specific regulatory requirements, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Community Right-to-Know (RTK) Program oversees local Tier II reporting requirements. Facilities must report chemicals that exceed threshold reporting quantities (TRQ) of listed hazardous substances that were present in a facility within the previous calendar year. The TRQs in the NYC DEP’s hazardous substances list are lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) reportable quantities and include common laboratory chemicals that do not require EPCRA reporting. The NYC RTK report is also due on March 1 of each year.

Reporting procedures are also location-specific. To meet Massachusetts SERC reporting requirements, Tier II reports need to be submitted using the online Tier II Manager System. Detailed information can be found on the SERC website. Companies must also determine LEPC and fire department reporting requirements for their city or town as they can vary. Tier II reporting requirements for other states can be found on EPA’s Tier II website.

In New York City, Tier II reports are submitted through the DEP’s Tier II Filing System (T2FS). A PDF of the report must also be sent to the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY). The DEP RTK’s Tier II Video Tutorials on their website provide additional details and Tier II Filing System Instructions are also available. 

There’s still time to prepare and submit Tier II and Biennial or Annual Reports if your facility is required to do so! For help meeting the March 1 deadline, please contact us.

This blog was written by Beth Graham, Director of Quality, Research, & Training at Safety Partners.

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