What To Expect From An EPA EPCRA Inspection
July 15, 2019
By: Tommy Sweat
U.S. EPA conducts unannounced inspections of facilities to assess Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) compliance regarding Tier II and TRI reporting. These inspections typically include an onsite inspection by one or more EPA staff, followed by an information request by email or letter. The response to EPA may be due in as few as 15 days; however, extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis. EPA typically gathers Tier II and TRI-related information for the three most-recently completed reporting years.
An example information request is as follows:
- Provide an inventory list of all extremely hazardous substances (EHS) listed in 40 CFR § 355, Appendices A and B, brought onsite and or stored onsite in quantities greater than 500 pounds in Years 1, 2, and 3. Included in this list, indicate the maximum inventory quantity in pounds stored on site for each of these chemicals in Years 1, 2, and 3.
- Provide an inventory list of bulk chemicals brought onsite and or stored onsite in quantities greater than 10,000 pounds in Years 1, 2, and 3. Included in this list, indicate the maximum inventory quantity in pounds stored on site for each of these chemicals in Years 1, 2, and 3.
- Provide an inventory list of all toxic chemicals manufactured, processed, or otherwise used in quantities greater than the reporting threshold listed in 40 CFR § 372.28 in Years 1, 2, and 3. For each year, indicate the total quantity in pounds that each chemical was manufactured, processed or otherwise used.
- Provide an inventory list of all bulk chemicals manufactured (includes imports), processed or otherwise used in quantities greater than 10,000 pounds per year in Years 1, 2, and 3. For each year, indicate the total quantity in pounds that each chemical was manufactured, processed or otherwise used.
- Provide a copy of any safety data sheet (SDS) that a supplier provided for bulk chemicals used in quantities greater than 10,000 pounds per year for Years 1, 2, and 3.
EPA will use this information to identify potential gaps in Tier II and TRI reports. EPA may also ask for copies of the calculations used to determine which chemicals were reportable and calculations used to estimate releases.
What Can I Do to Be Prepared?
Facilities can prepare by making sure that they maintain the records needed to respond to an inspection. This includes the calculations and supporting documents used to support each year’s reports. This is especially important if a facility stops reporting a specific chemical or does not submit a report at all for a reporting year. Such a change can flag the facility for investigation.
Facilities can also take advantage of EPA’s Audit Policy, “Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and Prevention of Violations”. If a facility has concerns over EPCRA compliance, the facility may conduct an audit (internally or with the assistance of an outside auditor) to identify compliance issues. If a potential violation is found, the facility may report a voluntary disclosure to EPA using the online eDisclosure tool. Benefits of self-reporting include substatial mitigation of agency penalties. More information is available on the audit policy here: https://www.epa.gov/compliance/epas-audit-policy.
For More Information:
If you have questions regarding EPCRA compliance and auditing, please contact your EPS consultant.
Tommy Sweat, P.E.
VP, Regulatory Consulting
Tommy brings over 23 years of industry experience to the Montrose team where he currently serves as Vice President of Regulatory Consulting. The focus of his industry expertise lies in air quality management and other regulatory programs.