Protecting Confidential Storage Locations in Tier II Reports


As part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), facilities that store hazardous chemicals above certain thresholds are required to submit annual Tier II inventory reports. These reports provide crucial information to emergency responders and planners, enabling them to effectively prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies. However, facilities may have concerns about disclosing sensitive information, such as the specific locations where chemicals are stored.

Claiming Confidentiality

To address this concern, EPCRA allows facilities to claim the storage location information for reported chemicals as confidential. Here's how to do it:

  1. Omit Location Details from Tier II Form
    When filling out the Tier II form for submission to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and local fire department, simply check the "Storage locations are confidential" box in the Storage Locations section. This will omit the location details from the main Tier II form.

  2. Submit Confidential Location Information Form
    To ensure that emergency planners and responders still have access to this critical information, you'll need to submit a separate Confidential Location Information Form directly to the SERC, LEPC, and fire department. This form will contain the actual storage locations but will be kept confidential and won't be disclosed to the public.

State Requirements May Vary

It's important to note that many states have their own specific forms and procedures for submitting confidential location information. Be sure to check with your state for their exact requirements to ensure compliance.

Benefits of Using the Confidential Location Information Form

By using the Confidential Location Information Form, you can provide emergency personnel with the information they need to do their jobs effectively while still safeguarding sensitive details about your facility from public disclosure.

Understanding Confidentiality Protection

Keep in mind that confidential location information isn't protected under EPCRA's trade secrecy provisions. Instead, the responsibility for protecting this information lies with state and local officials. While EPCRA itself doesn't impose penalties for failing to maintain confidentiality, there may be consequences under state or local laws.

Submitting Confidential Location Information

When submitting confidential location information, remember that it should only be sent to state and local authorities, not to the EPA. Some states may even allow you to include the form as an attachment in your Tier2 Submit filing rather than sending it separately.