Like they would in any other state, facilities in NC are subject to the annual hazardous materials reporting requirements of EPCRA Section 312, otherwise known as Tier II reporting. The reporting thresholds in NC for Tier II reports mirror those mandated by the US EPA:
- For hazardous chemicals, 10,000 pounds
- For Extremely Hazardous Substances, the Threshold Planning Quantity or 500 pounds, whichever is less
A second, lesser known hazardous materials reporting requirement for North Carolina facilities is the “Hazardous Chemicals Right to Know Act” (NC RTK), which was enacted in 1985. Among other things, all employers in NC are required to maintain and annually provide a written hazardous substance list to the fire department having jurisdiction over the facility. If you are familiar with Tier II reporting, you may be aware of the requirement to submit your report (i.e., “a written hazardous substance list”) to the local fire department. The Department of Labor, who administers the NC RTK, accepts a Tier II report submission as a substitute for its own required reporting [see NC Gen Stat § 95-191(b)(1)].
However, it is important to note that a Tier II report does not necessarily satisfy the reporting requirements of the NC RTK.
The reporting thresholds under the NC RTK are much lower than those for Tier II reporting. Therefore, there are likely chemicals at your NC facility that would be required to be included on an NC RTK report, but not necessarily a Tier II report. NC RTK requires reporting of:
- Each hazardous chemical stored in quantities of 55 gallons or 500 pounds, whichever is greater
For example: If a facility has antifreeze onsite in the form of just (1) 55 gallon drum (approximately 510 pounds), it must be included on a NC RTK report, but not necessarily a Tier II report (because the quantity does not exceed 10,000 pounds).
Another important consideration is that NC only charges filing fees for hazardous chemicals that are above Tier II reporting thresholds. Therefore, if you include in your annual Tier II report all hazardous chemicals at your facility in quantities that exceed NC RTK thresholds, you would be:
- Satisfying your Tier II reporting obligation
- Satisfying your NC RTK reporting obligation
- Paying the same amount in fees as if you only included chemicals that exceeded Tier II thresholds