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Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (SARA Title III)

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) was signed into federal law in 1986. Title III of SARA is known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) enforces SARA Title III. The regulations implementing SARA Title III are codified in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 350 through 372. The Governor of each State was charged with creating a State Emergency Response Commission.

In 1987 Executive Order Number 4 created the Alabama Emergency Response Commission (AERC) by appointing the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) acting in concert to carry out the provisions of the Act. As co-chair to the Commission, ADEM is responsible for reviewing, maintaining, and serving as the data repository for documents required to be filed by various industry throughout the state. These documents include Hazardous Chemical Inventory forms (Tier II), Toxics Release Inventory (Form R), Extremely Hazardous Substance Notifications (EHS), and release notifications. Data from these documents are compiled and made available by request to the public, industry, and Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) for use in emergency situations, to analyze release trends, and to facilitate awareness of hazardous materials in communities.

Alabama Emergency Response Commission (AERC) Contact Information:

Industry Highlights - EPCRA Updates
December 2017 Newsletter
December 2018 Newsletter
January 2020 Newsletter
November 2020 Newsletter
December 2021 Newsletter

Federal EPCRA/CERCLA Updates:

Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) Notification - One-Time Notification to the AERC and LEPC

Section 302: The Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) Notification is a one-time reporting requirement. The latest lists of Extremely Hazardous Substances and the Threshold Planning Quantities are available at the USEPA Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention website. The AERC requests that the maximum amount of the EHS substance on site at any one time be reported in pounds rather than ranges. Section 303 requires emergency contact information to be provided for facilities that meet or exceed the reporting threshold for Extremely Hazardous Substances. Both sections are included on one form and can be filed by downloading the AERC's EHS Notification Form, and submitting the .pdf via e-mail to al312@adem.alabama.gov.

Include: facility name, year, and “EHS Notification” in the subject line.

Emergency Release Notification - Report to the AERC and LEPC for each occurrence that a facility has a release at or above a reportable quantity of any EHS or Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) Hazardous Substances

Section 304: Facilities must immediately report accidental releases of EHSs and “hazardous substances” defined under CERCLA. Any releases of these substances in quantities greater than their corresponding Reportable Quantities (RQs) must be reported to the AERC and LEPC. If the chemical released is listed on the CERCLA hazardous substance list then the National Response Center (NRC) 800-424-8802, will need to be notified, in addition to the AERC and LEPC. See "Continuous Release Reporting" for more instructions specific to Continuous Release Notifications.

Emergency Release Notification Procedure

What are facilities required to do?
If such an accidental release occurs, the facility must immediately notify LEPCs and SERCs for any area likely to be affected by the release. In addition, spills of CERCLA hazardous substances must also be reported to the NRC at (800) 424-8802. Emergency notification requirements involving transportation incidents can be met by dialing 911, or in the absence of a 911 emergency number, calling the local operator.

What must be included in the emergency notification?
  • The chemical name
  • An indication of whether the substance is extremely hazardous
  • An estimate of the quantity released into the environment
  • The time and duration of the release
  • Whether the release occurred into air, water, and/or land
  • Any known or anticipated acute or chronic health risks associated with the emergency, and where necessary, advice regarding medical attention for exposed individuals
  • Proper precautions, such as evacuation or sheltering in place
  • Name and telephone number of contact person
What is a Written Follow-up Notice?
A written follow-up notice must be submitted to the AERC via e-mail to al312@adem.alabama.gov and to the LEPC as soon as practicable after the release. The follow-up notice must update information included in the initial notice and provide information on actual response actions taken and advice regarding medical attention necessary for citizens. Click here to download FAQ related to release reporting.

Community Right-to-Know Requirement - requires a one-time submission of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) or list of hazardous chemicals to the AERC, LEPC, and fire department

Section 311: Hazardous chemicals are defined under the Occupational Safety and Health Act and its implementing regulations. SDSs (or MSDSs) describe the properties and health effects of these chemicals. An update is required for new chemicals or new information about chemicals already submitted to the AERC, LEPC and the fire department with jurisdiction over the facility. New facilities have three months after becoming subject to the OSHA regulations to submit their documents to all three entities listed above. Facilities must also submit an inventory form (See Tier II Form/Section 312 for more information) for these chemicals.

For the AERC, e-mail all SDS or hazardous chemicals list as a .pdf to al312@adem.alabama.gov.

If you choose to provide a list, the list must denote the hazard categories consistent with the Global Harmonization System Standards. For your convenience, we have created a Section 311 form (ADEM Form 407) that can be used when providing a list of chemicals rather than the SDS.

Include: facility name, year, and “Section 311” in the subject line. In the body of the e-mail, be sure to include your Master ID and the location information for each facility. If you are submitting this documentation for multiple facilities in one e-mail, be sure to include the Master ID and location information for each of the facilities.

Hazardous Chemical Inventory (Tier II) Reporting Requirements - requires yearly chemical inventory filing to the AERC, LEPC, and fire department

Section 312: On 11/1/2017 the AERC (formerly known as SERC) met for their bi-annual meeting and voted in favor of requiring all facilities to submit EPCRA documents to the AERC in a digital format. A .t2s file from Tier2Submit or E-plan will be the only two options for electronic filing for Tier II in Alabama.

Facilities are required to provide Tier II information to the following three (3) entities:
  1. The AERC - Electronic submission to ADEM of the Tier II report using E-Plan or Tier2Submit will fulfill this requirement.
  2. The Local Emergency Planning Committee where facility is located. Contact the appropriate county EMA to verify what format they require.
  3. The local fire department where the facility is located. Contact the appropriate fire department to verify what format they require.
What are the Tier II Filing Requirements for Alabama?
The Alabama Emergency Response Commision requires all facilities operating in Alabama to electronically file their Tier II reports using either E-Plan or Tier2Submit.

Additional State Required Fields:
  1. Facility Master ID
    ADEM uses an internal identification number known as the Master ID to track facilities, issue various permits to the facility location and to track data related to those facilities. By requiring a Master ID to be associated with your form submission it will allow ADEM and First Responders to optimize data tracking and retrieving.
    Whether you plan to submit via E-Plan or Tier2Submit, you will be asked to input a Master ID Number in the State Required Field. If your facility has or ever had a permit issued by ADEM, use eFile on the ADEM’s website to determine your Master ID. ADEM has diligently worked to issue a master ID to all facilities who have previously filed their Tier II information. This Master ID Number is location specific. If you are unsure if you have an existing Master ID Number or have not filed previously, please contact Beth Woodfin at 334-260-2700 or beth.woodfin@adem.alabama.gov to obtain your number Master ID number. This number will remain the same year-to-year.
  2. Email Address
    A valid e-mail address must be submitted to provide a point of contact for all AERC communication. If filing via Tier2Submit, an e-mail with proof of receipt will be sent from the AERC. E-plan user’s payment confirmation page acts as their proof of receipt. Federal Regulations require the facilities to maintain proof of receipt on-site from all three required entities: AERC, LEPC, and local Fire Department.
Filing Options:
  1. E-Plan
    Alabama now accepts submittals via E-Plan at https://tier2.erplan.net/onlinefiling/filingLogin.htm. There is a fee associated with this service. Submitted information is retained from year to year in one database and changes are easily made by logging in. If you have previously submitted Tier II data to ADEM by e-mail, your facility information should already be in E-Plan. However, you still must obtain your company’s E-plan Access ID in order to log in. Do not register a new account with E-plan unless you have never filed, or filed Tier II forms prior to 2016.
    *Please note that your State Required Master ID and your E-Plan Access ID are two different numbers. Both numbers remain the same each year.
    E-plan Facility Log in Screen:

    Contact E-Plan:https://erplan.net/eplan/support/contactUs.htm with questions.
    After successful submission, print and sign a copy of the confirmation/receipt page generated by E-Plan and attach it to a hard copy of the facility Tier II report. These documents must be retained on-site as verification of facility compliance. Please do not submit additional electronic and or paper copies of the forms to ADEM. Your confirmation of payment sufficed as your proof of receipt for the AERC.
  2. Filing Option 2: Tier2Submit
    Tier2Submit can be used to submit data electronically with no cost. A new version of Tier2 Submit is available around November or December of each year. The Tier II File must pass validation and the file exported must be in a .t2s format. Verify that the download screen you are looking at matches the filing year you are submitting Tier IIs for. Click the Tier2 Submit link above and download the program for your operating system. An execution file will pop up. Click "run" and follow the prompts.

    Tier2Submit Welcome Screen: Click "Start Tier2Submit" to begin.
    *Note the icon looks different than in previous years.*
    After you click start, you can click on “Import” to import a .t2s file from last year. Do not upload a file older than 2018 or you may experience issues. Make sure you verify that all location, contact, and chemical information has been updated and is accurate. Follow all prompts or validation messages.

    After passing validation, send the exported .t2s file to al312@adem.alabama.gov with following information in the subject line: facility name, the filing year, and facility Master ID Number.

    Verification of a successful submission will be sent by e-mail. Print and sign a copy of the receipt e-mail and attach it to a hard copy of the facility Tier II report. These documents must be retained on-site as verification of facility compliance. Please do not submit additional paper copies of the forms to ADEM. If you have questions about your submission please contact either Beth Woodfin.
Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) – due annually by July 1st to EPA and AERC

Section 313: Facilities that use or produce toxic chemicals above specific thresholds are required to submit a Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI are used to inform the public and government officials of on-site and off-site releases, off-site transfers, and other waste management activities at each facility. Toxic release inventories must be sent to the USEPA by using TRI-MEweb. The AERC encourages the use of the TRI-MEweb software available on the EPA’s Website to complete and submit this information by July 1 annually for the previous reporting year.

Copied from: https://www.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/basics-tri-reporting

Facilities that meet the three reporting criteria above must:
  • Submit a TRI Form R by using TRI-MEweb for each TRI-listed chemical a facility manufactures, processes, or otherwise uses in quantities above the reporting threshold.
  • TRI Forms are required to be submitted annually to both EPA and the state in which the facility is located (or to the appropriate tribe, if located in Indian country).
  • Submittal through TRI-MEweb fulfills both the EPA and Alabama’s TRI reporting obligations.
  • If a facility submitted successfully through the TRI-MEweb there is no need to mail or e-mail ADEM a copy.
  • Federal facilities are required to report if they meet the employee and chemical use thresholds regardless of their industry sector.
  • Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic chemicals (PBTs) have lower reporting thresholds.
  • Facilities may be eligible to submit a shorter version of a TRI form (Form A) if all three of these criteria are met:
    1. The chemical being reported is NOT a PBT chemical;
    2. The chemical has not been manufactured, processed, or otherwise used in excess of 1,000,000 lbs.; and
    3. The total annual waste management (i.e., recycling, energy recovery, treatment, and disposal or other releases) of the chemical does not exceed 500 lbs
Frequently Asked Questions

Tier II Reporting
When is my Tier II report due?
  • By March first of each year.
Can I get in trouble for over reporting?
  • No. This data enables First Responders to respond to an incident with more knowledge of what hazards they will face and allow them to plan accordingly. The more information First Responders have, the better than can serve your facility and your community in the event of a release incident.
How do I know if I have a Master ID Number?
  • Go to ADEM’s eFile website: http://app.adem.alabama.gov/eFile/.
  • If you have an ADEM permit associated with any activity on-site, your permit has an associated Master ID Number. Type your permit # into the search field in e-plan. Your Master ID Number will be displayed on documents listed after the search.
  • If you are unpermitted then you most likely do not have a Master ID Number. To verify, type your facility information in the search function.
  • If you are unsure contact: Beth Woodfin at beth.woodfin@adem.alabama.gov.
What is the link for filing a Tier II report with E-Plan? How do I submit a Tier2 Report with E-Plan (video tutorial)? Is there a fee to report via E-Plan?
  • Yes. $25 per year per facility to file Tier II report. Verify with E-Plan the cost each year. Your forms will not be accepted by E-Plan until associated fees are paid in full.
  • Other EPCRA forms (Section 302, 304, and 311) can be submitted via E-plan, but you must contact E-plan to complete registration and discuss filing fees prior to submitting those forms.
Is there a charge for First Responders to use E-Plan?
  • There is no charge for approved First Responders to have access. First responders should use the following link to create an account and request access: https://erplan.net/eplan/home.htm. There will be a delay before the request is approved due to the verification process. E-Plan will request approval from the AERC. The AERC will then confirm the validity of the request with the appropriate county official
Who do I contact with technical questions concerning the electronic submission with E-Plan? How do I use E-Plan?
  • Go to the E-Plan website at https://tier2.erplan.net/onlinefiling/filingLogin.htm: Once here, you can create and enter your own user identification profile. If you filed in 2016 or after you should already have an E-plan account. Contact E-plan to obtain your Access ID.
Is there available training?
  • Free webinars are provided by UT Dallas January-March of each year. Check the E-plan login home page for training events.
  • Training in Tier2Submit and E-plan can be provided if enough interest is generated. Please contact Beth Woodfin at beth.woodfin@adem.alabama.gov to discuss scheduling a class for training in E-plan or Tier2Submit. Please note training provided by the AERC is technical in nature only, and will not be "advising" anyone on what/how to file.
How do I use Tier2Submit?
  • Check EPA’s website for an updated tutorial: https://www.epa.gov/epcra/tier2-submit-software.
  • If you have any problems with downloading a copy of Tier2 Submit or exporting the files, contact the Risk Management Plan (RMP) Reporting Center (RMPRC@epacdx.net) or call (703) 227-7650. The RMP Reporting Center is staffed on weekdays from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Eastern Time.
How do I export a .t2s file?
Click “Export/Submit”, select “Create a Submission file”, Select which facilities should be included, then click “Create File”. A box will ask you where on your computer you want to save the file to; choose a place that is easy for you to remember. Name the file using your facility name and the filing year. Attach that .t2s file to an e-mail.

Where do I e-mail my Tier II files?
  • Email: al312@adem.alabama.gov
  • Attach the .t2s file to the e-mail.
  • Be sure to include: the facility name, reporting year, and Master ID Number in the subject line in the e-mail. If you have an ADEM Permit you already have a Master ID Number. If you do not have a Master ID Number, one can be assigned to you.
Is there a fee associated with Tier2Submit?
  • No.
Data Requests:

Who can I contact to request Tier II information on a particular facility?
  • Requests for Tier II information must be submitted in writing to the ADEM Public Records Officer.
  • The Public Records Officer will contact you to schedule your appointment. Request should be submitted via e-mail at records@adem.alabama.gov, fax to 334-271-7950, or mailed to ADEM Public Records Officer, P.O. Box 301463, Montgomery, AL 36130-1463.
  • Each request must include the specific facility name and address. Only the most current year is available to the public. There is a 45-day response window for requests, per the federal statute

Additional Resources: