USEPA – Issues Penalty for EPCRA 313 Form R Violations
On August 22, 2011 the USEPA announced a penalty assessment against a chemical processing facility in Cranston, Rhode Island for failing to appropriately report chemicals used on site in violation of federal right-to-know laws. The company is currently facing a penalty of $33,400.
According to EPA’s New England office, John R. Hess & Company failed to file Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Forms listing chemicals processed, manufactured or used at its facility at 400 Station St. The inventory forms are required by the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. The violations took place in the year 2008 and 2009. The complaint stems from an EPA inspection of the Hess facility on June 30, 2010.
According to EPA, Hess processed more than the established thresholds of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, ethylene glycol, and other regulated chemicals, but did not report these chemicals during the time period required. Hess submitted these forms after the due dates, resulting in five violations of EPCRA.
Failure of a facility to file TRI forms deprives the community of its right to know about the chemicals present in a neighborhood. Facilities that comply with EPCRA reporting requirements help to ensure that the community is not deprived of its right to know about chemicals being processed, manufactured, or otherwise used in the neighborhood. The required information also protects the validity of health studies based on the TRI database and helps federal, state, and local authorities plan for cleaning up industrial pollution.
The laws and regulations that are associated with EPCRA 313 (aka Form R) are extremely complex and contain many shades of grey. The first step in successfully complying with EPCRA 313 is understanding the following:
1. What chemicals do you have in your facility?
2. How are these chemicals being used?
3. What quantities of these chemicals do you store at your facility?
These pieces of information are the foundation of compliance because they dictate whether or not Section 313 of EPCRA is applicable to your facility. However, in addition to understanding what chemicals you have on-site; you also have to understand each of their specific chemical compositions. Often chemicals used at a facility are a mixture of several different chemical constituents. Therefore, once you have a list of chemicals used, you must break these down into their specific CAS Nos. and % by weights.
Another complication is determining how chemicals are used at the facility. You may use one chemical in several different ways, which has an impact on EPCRA Form R applicability. Form R threshold applicability varies depending on if a chemicals is “manufactured, processed or other wised used.” It is easy to understand how a company could have trouble complying with this regulation.
The USEPA has put together several guidance documents, training materials and instruction manuals in an effort to help companies comply with this burdensome regulation (http://www.epa.gov/tri/index.htm).
You can also feel free to contact Kim Peterson our Director of EHS to assist you with your compliance needs at 360-567-0718