Section 302 - Emergency Release Planning

Section 302 – EHS Notification
Section 304 – Release Reporting
Section 311 – MSDS Reporting
Section 312 – Tier Two Reporting
Section 313 – TRI or Form R

Questions about Section 302 – EHS Notification

Q: Is there a form for Section 302 notification?

A: Yes. However, a letter or memo stating that your business stores one or more EHS substances will be accepted.

Q: What is the reportable threshold for reporting sulfuric acid under EPCRA Section 302?

A: The reportable threshold for sulfuric acid is 1000 pounds at any one time. The threshold is 500 pounds for Section 312 – Tier Two – Emergency & Hazardous Chemical Reporting.

Questions about Section 304 – Release Notification & Follow-up

Q: How soon do I need to report a release?

A: Immediately, contact the SERC of any state likely to be affected, the LEPC in the area likely to be affected and, depending on the chemical, the National Response Center. Then send a written, follow-up report within 30 days to the same agencies. Forms are available under 'Reporting Forms'.

Q: What are the telephone numbers for notifying the Washington SERC?

A: 1.800.258.5990

Q: What is the telephone number for the National Response Center?

A: 1.800.424.8802

Q: How do I find the telephone number for the appropriate Local Emergency Planning Committee?

A: See the LEPC listing at this web site.

Questions about Section 311 – MSDS

Q: Must I submit copies of MSDSs or SDSs along with the Tier Two reports?

A: Not necessarily. Section 311 requires a one-time submittal of material safety data sheets or a MSDS list. This should be done within 90 days of the chemicals arriving on site. You should also submit updated information if new chemicals are acquired or a manufacturer changes a MSDS or SDS within 90 days.

The Washington State Emergency Response Commission does not require copies of MSDSs or SDSs. We request a list of the chemicals present at each facility including their physical and health hazards. A form is available on this web site - here.

Questions about Section 312 – Tier Two

Q: What is a Tier Two report?

A: SARA Title III Section 312 requires facilities to submit an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory (Tier Two) report to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and the local fire department with jurisdiction over the facility.

Q: How do I know if I need to report?

A: If you have chemicals on site, check the maximum quantity present at any one time during the calendar year. For EHSs, the reportable amount can be as low as 100 pounds at any one time. All other chemicals are reportable at 10,000 pounds at any one time. Some facilities voluntarily report although their chemicals are below thresholds. If you need assistance, you can contact Washington’s Community Right-to-Know Unit at 1-800-633-7585 (press 2 at greeting). Our publication Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know - SARA Title III: A Guide for Businesses is also available electronically at

Q:  What is a hazardous chemical?

A:   Hazardous chemicals are any substances for which a facility must maintain a MSDS or SDS under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standards, which lists the criteria used to identify a hazardous chemical.  MSDSs are detailed information sheets that provide data on health hazards and physical hazards of chemicals along with associated protective measures.  Over 500,000 products have MSDSs, which are normally obtained from the chemical manufacturer.

Q: What type of information is requested on the Tier Two report?

A: The information required on the Tier Two includes facility identification number, chemical name, health hazards, codes representing maximum and average amounts on site, and storage and location descriptions.

The US EPA published a uniform format for the inventory reports in 1987. The State of Washington utilizes a form very similar to the federal form. However, the Washington State Emergency Response Commission requires actual maximum and average pounds. The information submitted by facilities under Sections 311 and 312 must generally be made available to the public by LEPCs and SERCs during normal working hours.

More information is available from the Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know ~ SARA Title III: A Guide for Businesses or EPA’s Citizens’ Guide to EPCRA.

Q: What are the most common reportable chemicals?

A: Common hazardous substances are gasoline, diesel fuel, industrial solvents and cold storage chemicals, such as ammonia.

About 1100 gallons of gasoline or diesel in a single tank is the minimum amount required for Tier Two reporting. However, the US Environmental Protection Agency added a new rule, which relieves retail gas stations that have less than 75,000 gallons of gasoline or 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel stored in underground storage tanks and are in compliance with underground storage tank regulations. Retail gas stations are still required to complete a report if there are other chemicals on site at reportable thresholds (i.e. propane, kerosene).

How does temporary non-compliance with UST requirements affect applicability of the new EPCRA thresholds?

Retail gas stations that were not in compliance with all applicable UST requirements at any time during a calendar year may not apply the new thresholds for EPCRA reporting for that calendar year. The facility must be in compliance with UST requirements at all times during a particular calendar year to use the new thresholds for reporting for that year. For purposes of using the new EPCRA gasoline and diesel fuel thresholds, when is a retail gas station considered "not in compliance" with UST requirements?

A facility is not in compliance with the UST requirements (and therefore not eligible for the newest EPCRA thresholds that apply to retail gas stations) when it first fails to meet the UST requirements. For example, if an owner or operator of a retail gas station has a tank system that was not in compliance with UST requirements that went into effect in December of 1998 (see 40 CFR 280.21(a) and 281.31), that owner or operator can not apply the new thresholds in today's rule for the EPCRA section 312 report that is due March 1, 1999.) If a retail gas station stores gasoline or diesel fuel in both aboveground and underground tanks, what thresholds do they apply to determine if they have to report gasoline or diesel fuel? If they have to report, do they report all the gasoline and diesel fuel at the facility?

Any retail gas station that has at least 10,000 pounds of gasoline or diesel fuel stored in tanks that are not entirely underground must report on the total gasoline or diesel fuel at the facility, including any that is stored entirely underground. Similarly, any retail gas station that has at least 75,000 gallons of gasoline or 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel stored entirely underground must report on the total gasoline or diesel fuel at the facility, including any that is not stored entirely underground. In other words, whether the facility triggers the threshold for underground storage or for aboveground storage, they report on the total gasoline or diesel fuel at the facility.

Common EHS substances include chlorine (used in swimming pools and water treatment plants), sulfuric acid, nitric acid, anhydrous ammonia, and agricultural-related chemicals such as carbofuran, disulfoton, endosulfan, lindane, paraquat, parathion.

Q: How often must the Tier Two reports be submitted?

A: Yearly, between January 1st and March 1st. The forms must be submitted even if your chemical inventory and amounts have not changed or if the facility was closed during any part of  the year.

Q: What’s the easiest way to report under 312?

A: Tier Two Online is the most efficient method of reporting and is preferred by the Washington State Emergency Response Commission. It will allow you to immediately submit your information to the SERC and print out completed forms to sign and submit to your local agencies and for your records. Technical assistance is available.

Q: Are there any fees or charges for Tier Two reporting?

A: No. Although many states have various fees for chemical inventory reporting, Washington does not at this time.

Q: Are there any penalties for non-compliance with the EPCRA laws?

A: Yes. The law assesses steep penalties for willful non-compliance EPCRA regulations. The enforcement of these penalties is usually carried out by the U S Environmental Protection Agency or by legal firms who act on behalf of the public.

We welcome new businesses each year. Our goal is to help reporters get into compliance with the EPCRA regulations. Visit our web site at or contact us at 1.800.633.7585.

Q: What is the reportable threshold for reporting sulfuric acid on the Tier Two report?

A: The reportable threshold for sulfuric acid is 500 pounds at any one time. The threshold for submitting a Section 302 - EHS Notification is 1000 pounds.

Q: What should I do if my facility is sold, goes out of business, removes all reportable substances, or reduces the amounts of all substances below their reportable quantities?

A: Complete a Section 312 Exemption Notification form and send it to our office via email to

We will make the appropriate notations and remove the facility from our mailing list. It is your obligation to notify our office if your business increases the amount of chemicals stored on site at a later time.

Questions about Section 313 - TRI or Form R

Q: Q: How do I submit my Form R report?

A: TRI reports are filed electronically through TRI-MEweb, EPA’s Web-based application. Once the TRI report is submitted using TRI-MEweb, the report is automatically sent both to EPA and to Washington’s designated state agency. Facilities that are located within Indian Country will need to find their Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) three digit code for their Indian Country name. Currently, there are no tribes on EPA’s TRI Data Exchange. Therefore, a hard-copy must be mailed to their Indian Country TRI coordinator. Facilities using TRI-MEweb to fulfill their federal and tribal submission requirement under EPCRA Section 313 will be able to print a copy of the TRI form to be mailed to their tribal country TRI coordinator. Information about TRI-MEweb reporting and resources can be found at

Q: Does the Washington State Emergency Response Commission accept electronic reports?

A: Yes, we encourage electronic reporting. Visit the EPA's TRI Home Page for the latest developments. Reporting forms and instructions can be found at 2.