EHS AND EMERGENCY PLANNING
Besides having to file Tier Two Reports, an EHS facility often will have special emergency planning requirements. EMERGENCY PLAN INSTRUCTIONS If the facility has or stores on-site enough chemicals classified as Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS), the facility owner/operator must determine the maximum amount of the EHS that was actually on-site during the calendar year. This determination would be the sum of the collective amount in process at the facility, the amounts stored in chemical storage rooms and chemical storage areas, or any other amount on-site.
For example, if a facility has 100 pounds of Hydrogen Fluoride (Hydrofluoric Acid) on-site during a calendar year, even if for only one day of the year, the Tier Two Report must be filed. EXAMPLE: Facility X has several chemical mixtures it uses that have Hydrogen Fluoride as a component. Some of these are in tanks mixed with water into dilute solutions, and some is in opened and unopened barrels and containers waiting to be used. The weights of the Hydrogen Fluoride in the tanks mixed with water must be determined and added with the weights of the Hydrogen Fluoride in the opened and unopened barrels and containers waiting to be used. If this weight is 100 pounds or more, there must be a Tier Two Report filed. In making the determination, the weight of the Hydrogen Fluoride that arrives in fresh shipments from the chemical supplier must be added in. Facility X normally has 35 pounds of Hydrogen Fluoride in its process. It orders new chemicals, and a shipment of the new chemicals arrive with 75 pounds of Hydrogen Fluoride in the chemical mixtures that have arrived. This 75 pounds, when added to the normal 35 pounds in process, puts the facility over the reporting threshold and a Tier Two Report must be filed.
Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) chemicals have differing amounts that trigger reporting requirements. This amount is called the RQ, for "Reportable Quantity." The EPA SARA Title III "List of Lists" contains this data. But despite having an intricate method for determining Threshold Planning Quantities (TPQs) for the various EHS, the lower of 500 pounds or the actual TPQ, when it is lower than 500 pounds, is the RQ. Thus, Sulfuric Acid, with a TPQ of 1,000 pounds has an RQ of 500 pounds. Hydrogen Fluoride (Hydrofluoric Acid) has a TPQ of 100 pounds, and the RQ is 100 pounds.
If enough EHS is on-site, there will also be emergency planning requirements. This is called the TPQ, or "Threshold Planning Quantity." The RQ for an EHS may not be the same for its TPQ. (see above) However, if the TPQ has been reached, the RQ will have been also. This information can be found on EPA's free publication: "List of Lists." Call the EPA Hotline to order 1-(800) 424-9346. CAA112(r)/EPCRA Hotline.
Anyone can call the Hotline -- it offers information to a broad audience of callers with diverse backgrounds and varying degrees of regulatory knowledge. To speak with Information Specialists about regulatory questions or to order documents, call: (800) 424-9346 or DC Area Local (703) 412-9810 or TDD (800) 553-7672 or TDD DC Area Local (703) 412-3323.
(Some of the EPCRA Hotline's Information and the Guide to EPA's Electronic Resources is available on the Internet at: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hotline/netguide.htm)
[LINK TO INSTRUCTIONS FOR/ELEMENTS OF AN EMERGENCY PLAN]
When determining what the threshold reporting and planning quantities are for EHS chemicals, EPA assigned chemicals based on an index that accounts for the toxicity and the potential for each chemical, in an accidental release, to become airborne. This approach does not give a measure of absolute risk, but provides a basis for relative measures of concern.
Under this approach, the level of concern for each chemical is used as an index of toxicity, and the physical state and volatility are used to assess its ability to become airborne. The two indices are combined to produce a ranking factor. Chemicals with a low ranking factor (highest concern), based on the EPA's technical review, were assigned a TPQ of one pound. Chemicals with the highest ranking factors, indicating lower concern, were assigned a TPQ of 10,000 pounds. This ensures that any facility handling bulk quantities of any EHS would be required to notify the SERC. EHS chemicals were assigned to intermediate categories of 10, 100, 500, or 1,000 pounds based on order of magnitude ranges in the ranking factors. The selection of the intermediate categories was based on standard industrial container sizes between one and 10,000 pounds.
The EPA believed that limited state and local resources should be focused on those substances that could cause the greatest harm in an accidental release. The TPQs developed in this approach meet the objective such that substances that are most likely to cause serious problems (extremely toxic gases, solids likely to be readily dispersed, or highly volatile liquids) have lower TPQs than those that might be toxic but are not likely to be released to the air (non-reactive, non-powdered solids).
The MSDS for these EHS chemicals or chemical mixtures containing EHS chemicals will often state that the chemical or chemicals in the chemical mixture are subject to the reporting requirements of Section 302 of SARA Title III, or will mention EPCRA Section 302, which is the specific section of the EPCRA law that covers Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS). Remember that there will be an Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for chemicals with hazardous components and for chemicals designated as Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS).
One unusual thing about Section 302 of EPCRA is that it requires ANY facility that has a quantity of an EHS on-site at the facility at or above the TPQ to notify the SERC and the LEPC that it is subject to the reporting requirements of EPCRA Section 302. Normally, this notification requirement is satisfied by filing a Tier Two Report. This applies to farms and agricultural facilities. When a farm gets a tankful of ammonia to apply on the soil, for example, the TPQ for ammonia (500 pounds) would be exceeded. The farm would have to notify the LEPC and SERC that the ammonia is (occasionally) present. This makes sense because in the event that something goes amiss and there is an unplanned release of the ammonia, the emergency responders would know what chemical hazards to expect and would be better prepared to deal with the consequences of a spill.
Any EHS facility has certain, special, spill notification requirements. (EPCRA Section 304)
The SERC notifies the USEPA of the EHS facilities that report to it. States may make more restrictive regulations regarding EHS facilities than EPCRA's, and additional EHS facilities identified under state law would also be reported to USEPA. [LINK TO EPA WEBSITE RE TIER TWO REGS]