July 1 is the deadline for Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting in 2022. If you are required to report, you need to be preparing now. With over 800 TRI chemicals, reporting can be complicated, requiring complex chemical data for every reportable chemical at your facility. Waiting until the last minute to gather information for TRI reporting requirements can leave you in a scrambled search for chemical data.
TRI reporting is a multi-step process that involves collecting chemical data, determining thresholds, and creating release calculations. Understanding your requirements and gathering data early are crucial to successfully meeting your TRI reporting requirements.
TRI Reporting Requirements
TRI reporting is required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) Section 313. It requires the submittal of a Toxic Chemical Release Reporting Form for all specifically listed chemicals that are manufactured or processed at or above 25,000 pounds per year or otherwise used at or above 10,000 pounds per year.
For all chemicals that exceed the threshold, a Form R must be submitted to the United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by July 1. For each reportable chemical, companies must provide detailed information:
- The quantity of the chemical entering any waste stream or released to the environment before recycling, treatment, or disposal during the reporting year along with estimates for the following two years.
- The quantities recycled and treated on-site and off-site.
- The amount of the chemical released due to remedial actions, catastrophic events, or one-time events not associated with production processes.
- Information on source reduction activities and methods used to identify those activities.
- A production ratio or activity index.
- Changes in accounting practices or other estimation methods.
- Indication if on-site recycling equipment or capacity was added during the reporting year.
- TRI chemicals affected by the source reduction activities.
- Any detailed information on source reduction, recycling, or pollution control activities.
- Special rules for Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxics (PBTs) that are reportable at different thresholds (e.g., 10 or 100 lbs.).
Gathering Data for TRI Reporting
The toughest step is usually the first: gathering data. Finding all your data can be an overwhelming task. From product usage to Safety Data Sheets to fuel usage data, the details needed for every reportable chemical can feel endless.
In gathering chemical data, you will also need to understand what chemical thresholds you meet. To do this, you will need to perform an applicability analysis that includes chemical qualifiers, TRI exemptions, and de minimis levels.
You will also need to determine release calculations for each chemical to understand where chemical releases and transfers are going (i.e., air, water, waste) and how much needs to be reported.
Be careful not to overlook any sources for chemicals that need to be reported. Common TRI reporting mistakes like overlooking on-site vehicles or reportable cleaning products can result in unexpected penalties.
Updates for TRI Reporting Year 2021
The July 1, 2022 deadline is for reporting year 2021. Several updates have been made to TRI reporting requirements since the last reporting year.
In reporting year 2020, the EPA added 172 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of TRI chemicals. For reporting year 2021, the EPA has added four new PFAS to the existing list of now over 800 TRI chemicals that are subject to TRI reporting.
Another change is in cobalt. Cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions were determined to be potential carcinogens by the National Toxicology Program’s 14th Report on Carcinogens. Therefore, the de minimis levels for cobalt compounds in TRI reporting have been changed so that cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions have a threshold of 0.1% and all other cobalt compounds have a threshold of 1.0%.
The EPA has also published a list of TRI-MEweb software enhancements that went into effect in January 2022. The changes include adding new PFAS chemicals to TRI reporting, incorporating new source reduction activity codes including a redesign of the associated Section 8.10 landing page, and additional options for adding comments to certain sections of the report.
Looking Ahead to Reporting Year 2022 and Beyond
The EPA is currently combing data gathered from the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), state air emission inventories, Tier II reporting, and TRI reporting to help determine policy around environmental justice. It is likely that as we see the focus on environmental justice increase, we will see corresponding updates to TRI reporting in future years.
Get Help From Tetra Tech
TRI reporting can be daunting. With hundreds of possible chemicals to be reported and details needed for each one, it can be an overwhelming task.
Tetra Tech has over 20 years of experience helping clients with TRI reporting. We can help you gather chemical data, create a Threshold Determination report, and determine release calculations. Our team of data collectors and regulatory reporters can assist you with the most difficult steps of TRI reporting and the hundreds of rules that define them to get you across the TRI finish line.