Environmental update for EASA members in the U.S.
As we enter a new and exciting year of operating EASA businesses, we must remember that almost all service centers in the U.S. with either dip or vacuum pressure impregnation (VPI) tanks will be subject to the SARA Title 3, Tier II, reporting requirements. This requirement is part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). The EPCRA involves notifying the state and local community of any hazardous chemical stored onsite in quantities over 10,000 lbs. A hazard material for the purpose of this regulation is anything hazardous under the Hazard Communication standard. In other words, if it has a Safety Data Sheet and you had more than 10,000 lbs onsite at any time during the previous year (2017), then you are subject to this reporting requirement. For most EASA centers, this will include the VPI, the dip tank varnish, or, in some cases, both varnishes.
Other Tier II reporting
Additionally, EPCRA requires reporting of any Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) on the Tier II report if it exceeds either its Threshold Reporting Quantity (TPQ) or 500 lbs, whichever is less. Therefore, if you have electric forklifts (including walk-behind, pallet jacks), you must calculate the amount of sulfuric acid contained in those large batteries. If the total amount of sulfuric acid exceeds the 500 lbs threshold, then this must be reported on the Tier II reports. Note that an average 3,000-lb battery will contain about 450 lbs of sulfuric acid, so two or more lifts will require such reporting.
Must complete annually
Tier II reports must be completed annually and submitted each year by March 1st to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and to your local fire department. As one service center recently found out during an ISO 14001 audit, failure to submit these reports could cost up to $20,000. Failure to report these chemicals and experiencing an incident involving these chemicals could cost you your entire business, especially if someone was injured or killed in the incident.
Please note that these forms are quite simple to complete and, even though some states will have an annual cost associated with the filing of the reports (typically $100-$300), the cost will be minimal versus the consequences of not reporting. For assistance in determining if reporting is necessary and how to report, please check with your fellow EASA members or an environmental consultant.