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Are You Ready to Complete Your Toxics Release Inventory Report?

Our favorite day of the year – July 1 – is not far away. This is the date most EHS managers like almost as much as Christmas: the end (usually) of the regulatory reporting season. But before we get a much-needed break, we need to ensure we have completed all the required reports, which includes the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) mandated by the EPA. Like the Tier II report, the TRI reporting requirements were implemented in an effort to make the public aware of hazardous chemicals present in their communities. Are you prepared to complete and file your report by the deadline?

TRI Reporting Requirements

Facilities must report release and other waste management information pursuant to EPCRA Section 313 if they: (1) have 10 or more full-time employees or the equivalent; (2) are in a covered NAICS code; and (3) manufacture (including import), process, or otherwise use a toxic chemical listed in 40 CFR Section 372.65 at or above the threshold.

Under the regulation, “manufacture” means to produce, prepare, compound, or import an EPCRA Section 313 chemical. The reporting threshold is 25,000 pounds. “Process” is the preparation of a TRI-listed chemical (after its manufacture) for distribution in commerce. The reporting threshold is 25,000 pounds. “Otherwise use” refers to any use of the TRI-listed chemical that is not otherwise manufacturing, processing, or storage. This reporting threshold is 10,000 pounds.  

Don’t Forget PBT Chemicals

You must review the reportable chemical list to check whether your facility is using any of the materials that are Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic (PBT) chemicals. Within the regulations, there are two separate thresholds for PBT chemicals. The reporting thresholds are set based on the chemical’s potential to persist and bioaccumulate in the environment. The manufacturing, processing, and otherwise using threshold for PBT chemicals is 100 pounds, while for the subset of PBT chemicals that are highly persistent and highly bioaccumulative, it is 10 pounds. One exception is the dioxin and dioxin-like compounds chemical category. The threshold for this category is only 0.1 gram.

4 Common TRI Reporting Challenges

A few of the most common issues people face regarding annual TRI reporting are as follows:

  • Believing you have completed the TRI report once you have completed your annual Tier II chemical inventory report. The TRI and Tier II report requirements are both found within the same part of the EPA regulations. However, the Tier II report focuses more on the storage of chemicals, while the TRI report focuses more on the chemicals’ use and the subsequent emissions from their use.
  • Reviewing the reporting thresholds and thinking they are the same as releases. A “release” means any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, discharging, leaching, or disposing into the environment of a toxic chemical. If you exceed the applicable reporting threshold (generally 25,000 pounds for most chemicals, less for PBT chemicals), then you must report. After you have determined that you exceed the reporting threshold, you must then estimate your releases to the environment and report on them, even if you have no actual releases!
  • Focusing on the wrong substances. The focus of the TRI report is on the chemicals, not the materials. What I mean by this is you need to consider all the chemicals that were used to produce that product. From here, you then need to determine if you manufactured the chemical, processed the chemical, or if the chemicals were otherwise used. As described above, the categories have different reporting thresholds.
  • Being unsure about the “manufacture” category. You need to review the process in which you’re using the material to determine if you are indeed “manufacturing” a regulated chemical in the process. For example, if you are neutralizing nitric acid in the process, you are “manufacturing” water-dissociable nitrate – which needs to be reported.

Reach Out for Help

Don’t wait until the last minute to complete your TRI report. To ensure compliance, you’ll need to review your entire chemical inventory and then how you use and dispose of these regulated materials. We can help. Click the button below to request a TRI reporting consultation.  

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