Frequently asked questions about the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA Title III):

What is the difference between Tier 1 and Tier II forms?

SARA Title III does allow for the use of a Tier I, which requires information to be aggregated and reported by hazard category. The Tier II form requires information for each individual chemical and also information concerning specific location and storage of the reported chemical. PEMC requires Tier II forms in lieu of Tier I forms. The Tier II forms provide valuable information on specific hazards and the locations for emergency responders. In Pennsylvania, Tier I is not accepted, and the Tier II form is required. Keep in mind that this rule only applies to bulk storage facilities.

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Who is required to submit a Section 312 Tier II form?

The requirements of Section 312 (40 CFR 370) apply to the owner or operator of any facility that is required to prepare or have available a Material Safety Data Sheet for a hazardous chemical under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.The reporting thresholds established under Section 312 are:

  • For extremely hazardous substances: 500 pounds or the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ), whichever is less.
  • For hazardous chemicals: 10,000 pounds of an OSHA hazardous chemical that is present at a facility.
    (Gasoline – 75,000 gallons. Diesel fuel – 100,000 gallons.)
  • Due date: By March 1 of each year, covering the prior calendar year.

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Are there specific exemptions for agriculture?

Yes. SARA Title III and Pennsylvania Act 165 provide reporting and fee exemptions for pesticides used in routine agricultural operations and/or fertilizers held for retail sale. For example, pesticides purchased and used by a farming operation in the planting season would not qualify for reports and fees. However, this would not apply to pesticides made by a manufacturer, held for distribution by a supplier and ultimately purchased by a farmer. Only until purchased by the farmer would pesticides qualify for the reporting and fee exemptions. The exception for this would be fertilizer held by a retailer for sale in the retail market.

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Are farm suppliers or retail distributors excluded from Sections 311 and 312 reporting?

Under Section 311(e)(5), retailers are exempted from the reporting requirements for fertilizers only. Therefore, substances sold as fertilizers would not need to be reported under Sections 311 and 312 by retail sellers. However, other agricultural chemicals, such as pesticides, would have to be reported by retailers and suppliers of such chemicals.

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Do fuels that have many grades have to be reported as different chemicals?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council have determined that fuels like gasoline or diesel that have different grades (such as regular, unleaded, leaded, premium, etc.) can be reported as one chemical. This would also mean that a fee of $10 rather than $30 or more would be due.

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Is generic reporting of other chemicals permissible?

Generic reporting of other chemicals is permitted with certain important qualifications. First and most importantly, the hazard posed by the generic class of chemicals must be the same for all of the chemicals. For example, in a group of flammables, some may be explosive and some may not be explosive. In that case, generic reporting would not be permitted. If, however, as an example, there are a group of solvents in the same family and they all pose the same hazard such as reactivity, then these could be grouped together and reported generically.

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How should mixtures be reported for Sections 311 and 312?

The owner or operator of a facility may choose one of two options to meet the requirements of Sections 311 and 312:

  • They may provide the required information on each component that is a hazardous chemical within the mixture. In this case, the concentration of the hazardous chemical in weight percent must be multiplied by the mass (in pounds) of the mixture to determine the quantity of the hazardous chemical in the mixture. No MSDS has to be submitted for hazardous components in a mixture with quantities in concentrations under 1% for carcinogens and 1% for all other hazardous components of the total weight of the mixture.
  • Or, they may provide the required information on the mixture as a whole, using the total quantity of the mixture. When the composition of a mixture is unknown, facilities should report the total quantity of the mixture.

Whichever option the owner or operator decides to use, the reporting of mixtures must be consistent for Sections 311 and 312.

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Is household heating fuel exempt?

Section 311(e)(3) exempts, “any substance to the extent it is 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.”

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Do public facilities have any obligations?

Section 312 of SARA applies to facilities that are governed by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. Public sector employers are not covered by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. Therefore, they do not meet the first criteria for reporting under Section 312. Public facilities have neither reporting nor fee responsibilities under Section 312. However, public facilities must comply under Sections 302, 303 and 304 of SARA Title III; no one is exempt under these sections.

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Are hospitals exempt from Tier II reporting?

Hospitals are not exempt from Tier II reporting. However, any substance, to the extent that it is used in a research laboratory, hospital or other medical facility under the direct supervision of a technically qualified person, is exempt. Examples of hazardous substances not exempted include chlorine, heating fuel, gasoline or cleaning products.

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Do you accept electronic reporting of Tier II forms?

Yes. The Electronic Data Exchange System (EDES) allows facilities to file their Tier II forms electronically. The software program is provided to any requesting facility free of charge.

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Is a site plan required with the submission of a Tier II report?

Yes. The Tier II report form has a site plan under the original attachments section, and in Pennsylvania, a site plan is required. However, if the site plan is identical to the one submitted for the prior year, you do not have to send another copy.

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Can multiple facility locations be listed in the chemical storage location area of the Tier II form?

No. A separate Tier II form must be completed for each facility location that has hazardous chemicals on site in quantities equal to or greater than the TPQs.

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What are the Hazardous Chemical Inventory Tier II Fees used for?

Pennsylvania’s Act 165 requires the establishment of a Hazardous Materials Response Fund. This fund is a state-level account used to fund the administration of the act, including a county matching grant program. Approximately 90 percent of all monies collected from the Hazardous Chemical Inventory Tier II fee is used for the following:

  • Returns to the counties to help in the development of their emergency response plans.
  • Development of a county Hazardous Material Emergency Response Preparedness Assessment
  • Public outreach efforts.
  • Collecting, documenting and processing documents required under SARA Title III and responding to hazardous material releases, etc.

The remaining 10 percent is used for administration of the act, including such things as outreach and training, general administration and data management.

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Can the Tier II fees be paid by credit card?

Yes. Use this link to pay by credit card: https://www.paylocalgov.com/eriepublicsafety/. You will be assessed a convenience fee for the use of the credit card system.

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