Frequently Encountered Topics
The Superfund Amendments Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 was enacted to improve community preparedness against the effects of a chemical release. Title III of this legislation is most commonly known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and is comprised of many sections that address facility responsibilities for chemical reporting and emergency planning. Many of these sections influence the HMPD's oversight and management of the county-wide hazardous materials safety program.
The HMPD is tasked with reviewing facility-submitted chemical reports and developing emergency plans for facilities that maintain certain chemicals listed as Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) on the US Environmental Protection Agency Chemical List of Lists.
Listed below are brief overviews of specific SARA Title III chemical reporting and planning sections.
Chemical Reporting - Who Should Report?
A facility that stores, uses, or produces chemicals requiring a Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) in total on-site inventories at or above reportable thresholds under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hazard communication standard is subject to the reporting requirements of Section 311 and 312. Facilities must file a chemical report annually to the PA Department of Labor and Industry (Bureau of Occupational & Industrial Safety/Pennsafe Program) the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) of Lancaster County and to the local fire department with jurisdiction over the facility.
SARA Title III directs a facility to report the presence of new hazardous materials within 30 days of being on site. However, for facilities located in Pennsylvania, the requirement to report the presence of a new hazardous material is within 5 business days after the hazardous material is first present at the facility, referred to as the 5-day initial reporting rule. This is in accordance with Pennsylvania Act 165 known as the Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning and Response Act.
Facilities must submit a Tier II (See Section 312) reporting form, SDS and an updated site plan to the Bureau of Occupational & Industrial Safety/Pennsafe Program, as well as to the LEPC and local fire department, if they bring onsite any new hazardous material meeting the established threshold requirements that had not been reported during the previous calendar year. Hazardous materials reported under this requirement must be reported again at the time of the annual filing on or before March 1.
Which Hazardous Chemicals Should be Reported?
Hazardous Chemicals subject to reporting include:
- Extremely Hazardous Substances - Over 360 substances identified by the U.S. EPA in the Chemical List of Lists
- Hazardous Chemicals - Any chemical considered a physical or health hazard under OSHA's hazard communication standard.
- Petroleum Products (certain exemptions) - U.S. EPA provides regulatory relief for retail gas stations in Sections 311 and 312 reporting. The regulatory relief exempts retail gas stations from reporting if the tanks hold less than 75,000 gallons of gasoline or 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel if the facility is in full compliance with the underground storage tank requirements.
Section 312 - Tier II Hazardous Chemical Inventory
Facilities with hazardous chemicals, as defined by OSHA Standards, are required to report if the quantity of a hazardous chemical on-site, during any one day in a calendar year, equals to or exceeds the reporting threshold. The facility must submit an annual Tier II report by March 1 of the following year for the chemicals that were maintained at the facility in amounts equal to or above the established reporting thresholds as listed below:
- Non-extremely hazardous substances, or hazardous chemicals present at a facility in quantities equal to or greater than 10,000 pounds, and/or
- Extremely hazardous substances present at a facility in quantities equal to or greater than 500 pounds, or the "threshold planning quantity" whichever is less As of January 1, 2018, a new Tier II form will be effective and is to be used to report 2017 reportable chemical inventories.
How Should Facilities Report?
Under the federal requirements, facilities must submit Tier II information by March 1 for the activities occurring in the preceding year. Tier II reports should be filed electronically into the Pennsylvania Tier Two System (PATTS) which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, Bureau of Occupational & Industrial Safety/Pennsafe Program. The Bureau of Occupational & Industrial Safety/Pennsafe Program is responsible for the collection and maintenance of Tier II data reported by Pennsylvania facilities and owners/operators.
The Tier II form, as filed annually, provides state and local officials with specific information on hazardous chemicals present at a facility during the prior calendar year for use in emergency planning and response. Reporting facilities must file a report with the State Emergency Response Council (SERC) through the Pennsylvania Tier Two Reporting System (PATTS), the Local Emergency Planning Committee of Lancaster County (LEPC) and the local jurisdictional fire department. AS mentioned earlier, a 5-day initial report updates the facility information on the system to include any new hazardous substances onsite.
A reporting facility must establish an account in the PATTS which is secured with a user ID and password. To establish a reporting account, visit https://www.lipatts.pa.gov/submit/T2_Menu.asp ;. When a facility files its annual Tier II report electronically in the PATTS, the facility is meeting the submission requirement to the SERC and LEPC. Lancaster County (HMPD) accesses and reviews Tier II reports filed in the PATTS on behalf of the LEPC for reporting Lancaster County facilities.
Please note however that the facility will be required to mail a hard copy of each online Tier II report to the jurisdictional fire department. For any questions on PATTS, please contact the Bureau of Occupational & Industrial Safety/Pennsafe Program at 717-783-2071; Fax: 717-783-5099; or via e-mail to
Chemical Reporting and Planning Fees
Per chemical reporting fees for non-exempt facilities are assessed at the state and county levels by authority of PA Act 165, (Hazardous Material Emergency Planning and Response Act). The state chemical reporting fee is $10 per chemical. When filing a Tier II report on-line in the PATTS, payment instructions for state fees will be provided.
At the County level, fees are also assessed by the LEPC of Lancaster County through the HMPD. County fees are $75 fee per chemical and a $100 planning fee may also be assessed if the facility reports one or more Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS)that is/are at or above the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ). Both the per chemical and planning fees are assessed annually. The County fees are under the authority of Lancaster County Ordinance 27.
Facilities will be invoiced by the Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency after the facility has filed its annual Tier II report on-line in the PATTS. The HMPD (on behalf of the LEPC) reviews each Tier II report filed in the PATTS, determines the appropriate fees, and prepares an invoice. Facilities should not send chemical and planning fee payments in advance.
The fees are deposited into the county Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Fund which supports response, preparedness and training programs throughout the county as part of the hazardous materials safety program.
The County of Lancaster accepts payments by check or money order, mailed to the Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency, as well as through Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT's) between the facility and County financial institutions. Payments cannot be accepted by credit card.
Requests for W-9
Often times facilities subject to chemical reporting and planning fees will request a W-9. Should your purchasing department require a copy, please download it here.
EMERGENCY PLANNING AND POST INCIDENT RELEASE REPORTING
SARA 302: Emergency Planning
SARA Title III Section 302 requires a facility to send a one-time, written notification to the Pennsylvania State Emergency Response Council (SERC) and the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) of Lancaster County of the presence of an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) at the facility, if at any one time the quantity, exceeds or equals the chemical specific Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ). An example notification letter can be found on Page 2 in the Off-Site Emergency Response Plan Survey packet (see below).
SARA 303: Off-Site Response Plan
Facilities that maintain an Extremely Hazardous Substance at or above the chemical specific Threshold Planning Quantity are subject to the Off-Site Emergency Response Plan requirements regardless if the facility or chemicals are exempt from reporting under Section 312. There are NO exemptions from emergency planning. Once a facility is identified as meeting the emergency planning requirements, there are three initial compliance steps as outlined in the Off-Site Emergency Response Plan Survey packet. Step 1, if not already completed, is for the facility to file a notification letter as specified in Section 302. Step 2 entails the facility to complete an information survey and return to the LEPC. Step 3 is post planning coordination.
The off-site emergency response plan survey template that the LEPC of Lancaster County and HMPD uses for initial plan development can be downloaded here: Off-Site Emergency Response Plan Survey.
The Off-Site Emergency Response Plan template adopted by the LEPC of Lancaster County is at the following link: Off-Site Response Plan Template.
SARA 304: Emergency Release Notification
Section 304 requires a facility to provide a notification of any release of an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) or a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) hazardous substance in an amount equal to or greater than the reportable quantity (RQ) to the appropriate authorities. After the release and within 14 days of the termination of the release, the facility must file a Hazardous Materials Emergency Notification Report to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. The basic form can be found at Attachment 001 in the Off-Site Emergency Response Plan. A copy of the report shall also be provided to the LEPC of Lancaster County.
Please review the Battery Reporting & Planning brochure for compliance.
A facility may be subject to other elements of SARA Title III that are not listed above. Facility environmental managers should become familiar with all applicable requirements under SARA Title III.