Toxic Release Inventory Reporting Due Soon: Is Your Facility Exempt?

[tweetmeme]If you don’t know whether your facility is required to submit Toxic Chemical Release forms you should find out FAST!  Affected facilities must complete a separate Form R or Form A for each listed chemical or chemical category that is manufactured, processed, or otherwise used in excess of the threshold amount annually.  Fortunately for everyone EPA has developed TRI-MEweb software for Form R submissions which greatly reduces the time necessary for compliance.

Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 was enacted to facilitate emergency planning, to minimize the effects of potential toxic chemical accidents, and to provide the public with information on releases of toxic chemicals in their communities.  As a result the TRI database was created which contains detailed information on nearly 650 chemicals and chemical categories that over 23,000 industrial and other facilities manage through disposal or other releases, recycling, energy recovery, or treatment.  The data are collected from industries including manufacturing, metal and coal mining, electric utilities, commercial hazardous waste treatment, and other industrial sectors.

TRI-MEweb is a Web-based application that can be accessed anywhere with a connection to the Internet.

TRI-MEweb

  • TRI-MEweb allows facilities to file a paperless report, significantly reduce data errors, and receive instant receipt confirmation of their submissions.
  • Certifying officials must register for the application that requires the printing, completion, and mailing of an electronic signature agreement.
  • TRI-MEweb submissions are NOT available for trade secret claims.  Facilities must continue to submit hard copies of the TRI reporting forms and trade secret substantiation form.

Don’t click through to the EPA TRI-MEweb site just yet.  Although EPA has identified more than 650 chemicals and chemical categories that are subject to the TRI annual reporting requirement there are exemptions you should be aware of that just may eliminate the need for a last minute scramble to complete you TRI reporting prior to July 1st.

Exemptions to TRI reporting:

Certain uses of listed toxic chemicals are exempt:

  • Use as a structural component of the facility.
  • Use in routine janitorial or facility grounds maintenance (including phenol in bathroom disinfectants and pesticides in lawn care products). Listed chemicals used in facility equipment maintenance and cleaning or maintenance activities that are integral to the production process at the facility are not exempt (e.g., herbicides used on an aboveground storage tank berm).
  • Employees’ personal use (foods, drugs, cosmetics, etc.).
  • Use of products containing toxic chemicals for facility motor vehicle maintenance.
  • Use of toxic chemicals contained in intake water (used for processing or noncontact cooling) or in intake air (used either as compressed air or for combustion).

The de minimis exemption applies where the quantity of a listed chemical in a mixture or other trade-name product is either:

  • An OSHA-defined carcinogen present at a concentration of less than 0.1 percent by weight
  • Any other listed chemical present at a concentration of less than 1 percent by weight

There are other exemptions as well such as those that are manufactured, processed, or used in a laboratory.  However all of these exemptions have limitations and I strongly encourage you to click through to the EPA TRI FAQ website to learn more.

More:  EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program