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January 26, 2015
Tier II: What's In and What's Out?
By Timothy P Fagan, Senior Legal Editor - EHS

The new year is here, and with it, reporting season has arrived.  The Tier II chemical inventory report is due on March 1.

tier II

The Tier II report is part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). It is an inventory report of hazardous chemicals used or stored at your facility that is submitted to various entities, including state emergency response commissions (SERCs), local emergency planning committees (LEPCs), local fire departments, and is available to the public, so that communities may be better prepared in the event of an emergency.

What’s In?

In general, Tier II reports include hazardous chemicals used or stored at a facility above established thresholds. Hazardous chemicals are any substances that require a facility to maintain a Safety Data Sheet (SDS, formerly MSDS) under OSHA’s Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard.

SDSs are obtained from manufacturers and will detail the chemicals contained in the product or substance.

The thresholds above which these chemicals must be reported are:

  • 500 pounds (lb) or the threshold planning quantity (TPQ), whichever is lower, for Extremely Hazardous Substances listed in 40 CFR 355 Appendices A and B;
  • 75,000 gallons (gal) of gasoline (all grades) at retail gasoline stations if the storage tank is entirely underground and in compliance with all applicable regulations during the preceding calendar year;
  • 100,000 gal of diesel fuel (all grades) if the storage tank is entirely underground and in compliance with all applicable regulations during the preceding calendar year; and
  • 10,000 lb for all other hazardous substances.

Even if a facility is now closed, if it exceeded any threshold during 2014, a Tier II report must be submitted.

What’s Out?

The definition of a “hazardous chemical” is broad and encompasses many substances. However, OSHA’s HazCom standard, under 29 CFR 1910.1200(b), contains details on specific substances for which SDSs are not required, and therefore, would not be included in Tier II reports.

Other exclusions for Tier II reports include:

  • Any substance used for personal, family, or household purposes, or is present in the same form and concentration as a product packaged for distribution and use by the general public. 
  • Any substance present as a solid in any manufactured item where exposure to the substance does not occur under normal use. 
  • Any hazardous substance in a vehicle engaged in transportation, such as delivery trucks parked at a facility occasionally for unloading.  However, hazardous substances in vehicles used only within the facility, such as forklifts, must be included in the Tier II report.
  • Any food, food additive, color additive, drug, or cosmetic regulated by the U.S. FDA.
  • Any substance used in a research laboratory or a hospital or other medical facility under the direct supervision of a technically qualified individual (i.e., those trained in the research or medical fields, such as doctors and nurses).
  • Any substance used in routine agricultural operations or is fertilizer held for sale by a retailer to the ultimate customer.  The agricultural exemption applies to a wide range of growing operations, including livestock production, aquaculture, nurseries, and other horticultural operations.


Before preparing your Tier II report, be sure to check with your state to determine if your state has thresholds or requirements that differ from the federal provisions, and how your state would like the report submitted.

Many states encourage the use of EPA’s Tier2 Submit software, while many others employ various methods of electronic and paper reporting.

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