WHAT IS COMMUNITY RIGHT-TO-KNOW?
The Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) was established to prepare and plan for hazardous chemical emergencies in communities. EPCRA requires businesses / industry to report on the storage, usage and releases of hazardous substances to Federal, State, and local government agencies. The information collected is used to prepare for and protect the health and safety of the public and emergency responders from potential exposure related to toxic or hazardous substances and to prevent potential adverse impacts to human health and the environment.
DOES NYC HAVE THEIR OWN COMMUNITY RIGHT-TO-KNOW PROGRAM?
The New York City (NYC) Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulates the storage, use and handling of hazardous substances, extremely hazardous substances and regulated toxic substances at or above the federal threshold planning quantities (TPQ) within all five NYC boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, or Staten Island) through its Community Right-to-Know (RTK) Program.
WHEN IS THE RIGHT TO KNOW FILING DUE?
Owners or operators of applicable facilities that store hazardous substances are required to submit a Tier II inventory report to the appropriate regulatory agency (NYC DEP, NY State, USEPA or other local emergency planning committees / agencies as required) annually by March 1st (for the previous year).
DO I NEED TO FILE FOR MY FACILITY?
You are required to file if the amount of hazardous substances stored at your facility is at or exceeds the reporting thresholds set (federal TPQ) . Many substances may need to be reported, even in small quantities, based on the very low reporting thresholds.
Example facilities that are required to file a Tier II Inventory Report include:
- Industrial and Manufacturing Facilities
- Dry Cleaning and Laundromat Facilities
- Automotive Repair Facilities, Car Dealerships, Service Stations and Auto Body Shops
- Nursing Homes and Rehabilitation Centers
- Hotels and Commercial Hospitality Businesses
- Funeral Homes and Printing Facilities
- Bulk Supply Stores
- Research and Analytical Laboratories
- Other Businesses that House Hazardous Substances
If your facility uses or stores any of the substances listed below, you may be required to file:
- Petroleum products / fuels (Diesel, Gasoline, Motor Oil), Brake Fluid, Antifreeze
- Lubricants, Grease, Degreasers
- Paints, Paint Thinners, Lacquers, Dyes
- Cleaning Supplies, Bleach, Wax, Solvents, Detergents
- Aerosols, Air Fresheners, Disinfectants, Insect Repellants
- Batteries, Fertilizers, Preservatives, Lead welding rods
- Compressed Gas Cylinders
WHAT IF I DON’T FILE ON TIME?
If you don’t file on time, or file at all, your facility could be subject to violations, penalties and/or fines. In NYC, the NYC DEP could inspect your facility without prior warning, and there can be serious penalties for not submitting your Right-to-Know Filing. Also in NYC, noncompliance or incorrect forms could potentially cost you up to $2,500 and up to one (1) year in prison for your first violation. Potential fines and penalties are increased for repeated violations, and you may be required to appear at a hearing, with no opportunity to simply answer guilty and pay the fine without appearing.
HOW DO I FILE?
Tier II Reporting includes a Facility Inventory Form (FIF) that specifies the amount, storage location, and chemical nature of all hazardous substances stored during the previous calendar year.
Specifically, your filing requires the following:
- Full chemical inventory of hazardous substances used/stored at your facility.
- Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for each substance for evaluation and inclusion in your submitted report.
- Break down of chemical mixtures into their components / ingredients.
- Conversion of amounts of substances inventoried into units of measure required for reporting / filing.
- Completion of all Tier II Reports / Facility Inventory forms.
- Submittal of completed inventory packages to applicable regulatory agency, depending on your facility’s location. [In NYC, submittals go to the NYC DEP & New York City Fire Department (or the Fire Department of the City of New York – FDNY)].
If you have any questions regarding your chemical inventory, Federal, NY State or NYC DEP compliance, or Right to Know Tier II filing, check out our Right to Know webpage and contact Walden Environmental Engineering.