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Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Season Is Here - Are You Ready?

by Megan U.
Megan U.

On December 3, 1984, a horrifying 32 tons of toxic gases leaked from a U.S.-owned pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, leading to what many regard as the world’s worst industrial disaster to date.  Estimates of the total death toll suggest that up to 20,000 casualties may be associated with that historic release, and to this day the soil and groundwater remain contaminated and severe health problems linked to the disaster afflict generations that hadn’t even existed at the time the release occurred.  U.S. EPA responded to this and the threat of future chemical accidents by passing the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) in 1986.  How is your facility affected by the EPCRA?  At the facility level, the EPCRA requires planning for, responding to, and reporting of chemical accidents, and at the community level, it affords the public access to information about possible chemical hazards in their communities.

Many facilities are specifically impacted under Section 313 of the EPCRA, which requires annual submittal of a Toxic Chemical Release Inventory to both U.S. EPA and appropriate state officials each year by July 1.  In order for a facility to be subject to the TRI reporting requirement, a facility must meet each of the following criteria:

  1. Have 10 or more full-time employee equivalents (i.e., a total of 20,000 hours per year or greater).
  2. Have a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code listed in the implementing regulations at 40 CFR §372.23.
  3. Manufacture, process, or otherwise use any EPCRA Section 313 chemical in quantities greater than the established threshold in the course of the calendar year.

TRI reporting season is fast upon us.  Have you effectively considered whether or not you may be releasing quantities of a TRI toxic chemical to air, water, or land?  As you can imagine, it doesn’t take much to qualify for the first two (2) criteria.  And if you do qualify under the first two (2), you will need to do your due diligence on the third criterion to determine if your facility manufactured, processed, or otherwise used an EPCRA Section 313 chemical during 2012 in quantities greater than the established Section 313 thresholds.  As Mark Wenclawiak recently explained, the current TRI toxic chemical list contains 682 combined chemicals and chemical categories.  If you do report to the TRI, how confident are you in the quality of your data set, which is used by the public to potentially identify your facility as posing chemical threats at the community level?

ALL4 has significant experience reporting to the Toxic Release Inventory and has assisted clients reporting in a variety of industries including pulp and paper manufacturing, electric generation, crude coal tar refining, petroleum distribution, and brick manufacturing.  If you are an existing TRI facility, ALL4 can assist you in updating your existing calculations in accordance with the most up-to-date release calculation methodologies and U.S. EPA’s latest reporting requirements, such as the new requirement to report hydrogen sulfide.  If you are not sure if you are a TRI facility, we can evaluate and confirm whether you have released quantities of any Section 313 chemicals during 2012 and previous years that would trigger the TRI reporting requirements. Give Megan Uhler a call at (610) 933-5246 x32 to discuss assistance that ALL4 can provide during the TRI reporting season.

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