The EPCRA law requires Tier One Information from facilities with reportable quantities of hazardous chemicals. The Tier One is an inventory form that provides an estimate of the different types of hazardous chemicals (OSHA) in categories of health and physical hazards that are stored on-site during the preceding calendar year. Also, it provides the estimate of the maximum and average amounts of these categories of hazardous chemicals on-site, and their general locations. This Tier One information is now generally always provided on a Tier Two Report.

Actually, the federal EPCRA law only requires the Tier One information, and leaves it to the SERCs or LEPCs to request a Tier Two Report. But as a practical matter, EPCRA Tier Two reports are almost always the form submitted as SERCs and LEPCs have almost universally requested the Tier Two Reports instead of Tier One information.

Section 311 provides that once enough of a chemical is on-site in large enough amounts to trigger Section 312 reporting, a facility must provide a Material Safety Data Sheet, or MSDS, for each chemical required to be reported, or a list of chemicals to the fire department, LEPC, and SERC within a short amount of time, usually 60-90 days. [LEPC Database]

Generally, the Material Safety Data Sheets for a chemical will indicate if the chemical triggers EPCRA reporting requirements. Under OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a facility's operators must use the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to train the employees on how to safely work with these chemicals.

Under Section 311, if a new factory opens, the public can inquire about its EPCRA information and won't have to wait until March 1st of the following year to find out if there are hazardous chemicals stored and used there. Likewise, if an incident occurs right after a facility opens, the firefighters and emergency responders will have the facility's chemical information in a timely manner and will be able to take the appropriate, mitigating action.

Though Section 311 requires no special forms, the facility owner or operator is responsible for obtaining the necessary, proper report form for Section 312. The Local Emergency Planning Committee and/or State Emergency Response Commission will serve as the key contacts. For Section 312 reports, the facility owner or operator will need one of two annual inventory forms, namely a Tier I form or a Tier II form. A facility must submit only one Tier I form annually. However, if the facility owner or operator submits a Tier Two form instead, entries must be made for each reportable chemical at the facility. Since each Tier II form provides room for only three chemicals, several copies may be needed.

Section 311 involves a on-time submission (with any necessary updates) naming the reportable hazardous chemicals present at the facility. Section 312 remains an annual responsibility, demanding more detailed information on facility chemical hazards and handling practices, including locations.

No special forms are needed under Section 311's requirements. Instead, the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) at the facility are the key resources. The facility owner/operator must simply compile all of the MSDSs for chemicals that are above the reporting thresholds and submit either copies of the MSDSs or a single list of these chemicals, grouped by hazard category, to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and local fire department. However, if just a list is submitted, then when necessary, the LEPC can request substantiating MSDSs as supplemental information. The facility owner/operator has a 30 day period to comply with such a request. Both the list and the MSDSs should include the reportable hazardous chemicals present at the facility on the date of compliance. If at any time after this initial submission, a new, non-reported substance is obtained and exceeds the RQ, or a hazardous chemical in the facility inventory exceeds its RQ for the first time, then either an updated list or the relevant MSDS(s) must be sent to the SERC, LEPC and the local fire department within 90 days.


The Tier Two form, when filled out correctly, provides much more information than just the Tier One. It provides the same information as a Tier One report, but also requires the chemical storage locations. It (Section 2a) names the facility and provides its address. The owner or operator's name, phone, and mailing address is also required (Section 2b). It has the names and 24-hour contact information for the emergency contacts at a facility (Section 2c). The year for which the report is filed is in Section 2d. (Some of the information on the Tier Two report can be declared unavailable to the public, like the locations of chemicals at the facility, and the contact names and telephone numbers. But the firefighters, the LEPC, and the SERC must be provided this information for emergency response purposes.) The Tier Two form also has the information about the SIC code and the Dun and Bradstreet number in Section 2a. The SIC, Standard Industrial Classification, code, tells about what types of business a facility is engaged in. This is already being replaced by NAICS code, which is based on the same concept, only more precise. The Dun and Bradstreet Number is useful in determining whether the facility is a stand-alone entity or part of another corporation or company. This Dun and Bradstreet Number can also be useful in determining who or what would be liable in the event of a catastrophic release of chemicals. Another use is to determine if the company has a history of environmental problems or superior environmental performance at other locations.

The Tier Two form, in Section 3, requests the CAS Chem name, which is the Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) registry number. Many chemicals have different names, and the CAS standardizes things for easier reference. To obtain a list of EPA regulated chemicals and the laws that apply call 1-(800) 424-9346 and ask for a free copy of the "List of Lists." A chemical listed on a Tier Two report could be the pure chemical, or a watered down version. It could be a mixture that includes the chemical. It could be a mixture of several chemicals. An MSDS for a chemical mixture can show the mixture has several chemical ingredients. One of these boxes, Pure or Mix, on the Tier Two form will always be checked for each chemical.

EHS Information is contained in a publication named the EPA Title III List of Lists, and is available at the EPCRA Hotline at 1-(800) 424-9346, or on the Internet. 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

The Tier Two form will list whether the chemical is a solid, liquid, or gas. One of these will always be checked for each chemical.

The Tier Two form will list whether the chemical is an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS). http://www.epa.gov/docs/epacfr40/chapt-I.info/subch-J/40P0355.pdf

The Tier Two form, in Section 4, will show what type of physical or health hazard the chemical presents. Immediate (acute) health hazard includes "highly toxic," "toxic," irritant," "sensitizer" (exposure makes a person more sensitive to chemicals so that other chemicals that wouldn't have harmed the person might now cause harm), "corrosive (corrodes, burns, or eats away at things, like battery acid eating away at metals or cloth)," and other hazardous chemicals that cause an adverse effect to a target organ (lungs, kidney, liver, skin) which usually occurs rapidly as a result of short term exposure. Delayed (chronic) health hazard includes "carcinogens" and other hazardous chemicals that cause an adverse health effect to a target organ and the effects of which occur as a result of long term exposure and is of long duration.

It will also show whether it is a fire hazard. Fire hazard includes "flammable," "combustible liquid," "pyrophoric (substance that burns spontaneously in the air at a temperature of 130 F or below)," and "oxidizer."

It will show if the chemical is in a pressurized tank that could explode or burst and send shrapnel everywhere--sudden release of pressure hazard. Sudden release of pressure hazard includes "explosive" and "compressed gas."

It will show if the chemical will combine with other chemicals (including water) and create heat, explosion or other new chemicals.--reactivity hazard? Reactive hazard includes "unstable reactive," "organic peroxide," and "water reactive."

The Tier Two form will show how much of the chemical is the maximum amount onsite under Section 5. It will also show the average amount onsite. It will show the number of days the chemical was present at the facility during the calendar year. Some states require facilities to report the actual amount, but the federal Tier Two form allows reporting by code. The higher the number, the higher the amount a chemical can range. An easy way to interpret the range is to think of the number shown as the number of zeros possible. For example, a range value of 2 is 100-999 pounds. Similarly, a range value of three would be 1,000 (three zeros) to 9,999.

The amount of a chemical on-site relates to whether there can be an off-site consequence of a spill.

1 to 99 pounds
100 to 999 pounds
1000 to 9,999 pounds
10,000 to 99,999 pounds
100,000 to 999,999 pounds
1,000,000 pounds or more

The Tier Two form also has places to be filled out for the type of container or containers the chemical is in, whether it is under pressure, and the temperature it is maintained at, if any. This is found at Section 6 of the Tier Two Report. The same chemical could be stored at several places around the facility, and in several types of containers. Examples of containers include: above ground tank, below ground tank, tank inside building, steel drum, plastic or non-metallic drum, can, carboy, silo, fiber drum, bag, box, cylinder, glass bottles or jugs, plastic bottles or jugs, tote bin, tank wagon, and a rail car. The chemical could be at more or less pressure than the outside (ambient) air. It could be kept at warmer than ambient, or less than ambient temperatures. It could be kept at super cold (cryogenic) temperatures.

A brief description of the storage locations should be printed onto the Tier Two report. The idea is that the emergency responders will be able to locate the area easily. It is an option to attach a site plan or diagram. There may be more than one location. Emergency responders do not like surprises, so it is best to have the information complete. Though not always a requirement, it is also best if the facility invites in the fire department to review its emergency plan so both the facility and the fire department understand what each others needs are going to be in an emergency situation. This is most effective when done prior to an emergency incident.

The location of chemicals stored at a facility may be withheld from the public, but not from the fire department*, the LEPC, and the SERC. A facility may have this held confidential by writing "Confidential" on the Non-Confidential Location section of the Tier Two form.

Section 7 of the Tier Two Report has a certification statement that must be signed attesting to the truth, accuracy, and completeness of the information on the Tier Two Report.

*(Note: EPCRA expressly gives the fire department with jurisdiction over the facility the right to inspect the facility and to get specific location information on hazardous chemicals at the facility. The fire department needs only to request the on-site inspection and chemical location information from the facility owner or operator. A local fire department will often have the authority to close a facility that is out of compliance with emergency planning laws, and fire department regulations will often require far more detailed information from a facility than is required by EPCRA.


The Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) kept at the facility should be gathered together, along with chemical purchase records. These MSDS will often indicate when there are chemicals subject to SARA Title III Section 302, which designates that there is an EHS chemical. These MSDSs will often also note what is the Reportable Quantity (RQ) for the EHS. Once the determination is made about the various EHS chemicals that are at the facility, then the total amounts of each EHS in process and storage should be calculated. The amount of an EHS chemical that needs to be on-site to trigger EPCRA reporting may be as little as one (1) pound, but more often will be 100, 500, or 1,000 pounds. There may be several chemicals containing the same or different EHS at the facility, and the amounts of the specific EHS being reviewed must be tallied up to determine if the RQ has been met. For example, a facility may have Sulfuric Acid in several concentrations in different chemical mixtures used in the facility. The weight of the Sulfuric Acid in all of these different chemicals and locations must be added together to determine the actual amount on-site at the facility. [Lists of Lists]

If there are MSDSs for facility chemicals that are not on the EHS list, there must be at least 10,000 pounds of the chemical before EPCRA reporting is triggered.

If EHS are present, the facility must designate emergency personnel who can receive phone calls 24 hours per day. There should be more than just one person with this ability and responsibility. This information needs to be updated any time this person has changed or is not going to be available.


Look at the facility to determine if there are large tanks with sufficient chemical labels, fire diamonds, or other markings. Some large tanks may just contain water or other raw materials. Look for barrels of chemicals stored on pallets or metal racks. Black or blue plastic barrels may contain acids or caustics. (Empty barrels must be stored away and separate from full or opened containers and barrels.) A 55 gallon barrel of water weighs about 450 pounds. Acids or other chemicals will generally weigh more than water, and a full barrel or two may trigger EPCRA reporting requirements. Sometimes a facility will store gasoline or fuels that are not for resale and only for use at the facility. Are there fuel pumping stations? If the facility refrigerates foods, it may have an Ammonia-based refrigeration system, which almost invariably will have more than the 500 pounds of Ammonia that trigger EPCRA reporting requirements.


Ask what the facility does and research what types of chemicals are used at similar facilities that DO report under EPCRA in the community. The financial and business section of the library will often have specific information about what a company or facility does. The yellow pages of the phone book can help, also. If a facility's competitors report, the facility may have reporting requirements, too. Examining competitors' EPCRA information and facility emergency plans can be helpful and insightful in preparing the facility's reports.

Some types of facilities usually have to report under EPCRA. For example, metal plating facilities are common throughout the country. Metal plating processes often use acids that will require EPCRA reporting, as Sulfuric Acid has a 500 pound reporting threshold when it is in process at the facility. Even small metal plating outfits can have large amounts of hazardous (EHS) chemicals on-site. Metal plating is sometimes part of what a larger facility does in a manufacturing process.

If the facility has Underground Storage Tanks (UST), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) will require the facility to have a UST permit. This permit includes checking to make sure the tank is not leaking. Any tank of over 1,600 gallons of any new chemicals will likely require EPCRA reporting.

Obviously, the information on the MSDSs will be key to compliance efforts. An understanding about the Hazard Communication Standard of OSHA and MSDS requirements may be needed.