Superfund Amendment and Re-Authorization Act (SARA) Deadlines

Superfund Amendment and Re-authorization Act (SARA) Title III reports and notifications are required to be prepared and submitted by applicable facilities every year.

A facility that stores over 10,000 pounds of any chemical (e.g. over 1,387 gallons of diesel fuel), or over 500 pounds of an Extremely Hazardous Substance (e.g. sulfuric acid in electric forklift lead-acid batteries), must prepare a SARA Tier II Report and submit it to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and Local Fire Department by March 1st each year.

A facility that manufactures or processes over 25,000 pounds or otherwise uses over 10,000 pounds of a listed chemical is required to submit SARA Form R to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and the EPA by July 1st each year.

The Tier II and Form R submittals have different sections to be filed, depending on the age of the facility, local emergency service requirements, and materials being reported.

Section 302 and 303: Emergency Planning Notifications for Extremely Hazardous Substances

SARA Title III, Sections 302 and 303, require emergency planning for over 360 “Extremely Hazardous Substances” (EHSs) when they are present at or above “Threshold Planning Quantities” (TPQs).

Under Section 302, a facility that handles any of the listed extremely hazardous substances in quantities over the TPQs is required to report to their respective SERC and LEPC that they are subject to the planning provisions of Sections 302 and 303.  Under Section 303, these facilities are then required to participate in preparation of community contingency plans for hazardous materials accidents.  Each facility must also inform the LEPC of the name of a designated “facility emergency coordinator” who will work with the LEPC in developing emergency plans.  The facility coordinator is responsible for promptly informing the LEPC of any changes at the facility that might affect the local emergency plan and is also required when requested to provide the LEPC information to be used in developing and implementing the emergency plan.

As mentioned above, any facility with an EHS present on-site at any time in a quantity above the TPQ is subject to emergency planning reporting under Sections 302 and 303. This is typically required under chemical process safety management and other OSHA regulations as well.

Section 304:  Accidental Release Emergency Notification

SARA Title III, Section 304 and Section 103 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) requires emergency notification of leaks, spills and other releases of specified chemicals into any environmental medium: air, water or land.

The EPA regulations under Section 304 significantly expand the CERCLA notification requirement.  Reporting is mandatory for any release of an amount equal to or greater than the reportable quantity (RQ) of any chemical on the CERCLA list of hazardous substances or on the Title III list of “extremely hazardous substances”.  It also requires that releases be reported immediately to the appropriate state commission and local committee.

In SARA Title III, a “release” is defined as any “spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping or disposing into the environment,” of any substances regulated under Section 304.  Both Title III and CERCLA include the discarding of barrels or other receptacles containing, or that once contained, such substances.

The substances covered under the Title III release reporting requirements include all substances on the CERCLA list plus those on a list of “extremely hazardous substances” established by the EPA.

Section 311:  SDS Submission & Section 312:  Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory

Section 311 of SARA Title III requires that facilities prepare or have available a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for a “hazardous chemical” under the Occupational Safety and Health Act and they are required to submit SDSs to the SERC, the LEPC and the local fire department if those hazardous chemicals are present in quantities above the threshold quantity. Alternatively, a facility may submit a list of hazardous chemicals for which an SDS would be required.  Some states request such a list instead of the actual SDSs.  In addition, under Section 312, the facility must provide information annually on the quantity and location of hazardous chemicals at the facility, organized by categories of physical and health hazards on “Tier I” reports.  At the specific request of the state commission, the local committee or the fire department, a facility must also supply more detailed information on specific hazardous chemicals (“Tier II” reports).  Requirements for Tier I and Tier II reports vary from state to state.

Sections 311 and 312 also require a covered facility to allow the fire department with jurisdiction over the facility to conduct an on-site inspection of the facility.  The facility must also provide specific location information on the hazardous chemicals at the facility.

Section 313: Toxic Chemical Release Report

Under Title III Section 313, certain facilities that manufacture, import, process or use any of the designated Toxic Release Inventory chemicals must report the total annual amount released if the reporting thresholds were exceeded.  The current list of Toxic Release Inventory chemicals contains over 650 chemicals and chemical categories. Only facilities with SIC codes 20 to 39 with 10 or more full‑time employees are subject to Section 313 reporting requirements.  Reporting is required for each chemical that exceeds manufacture, process, or otherwise use thresholds.  The reports for chemicals used during the previous calendar year must be submitted to both the EPA headquarters and the state‑designated Section 313 coordinator by July 1st of each year.

The EPA is authorized to change the SIC codes, thresholds, list of chemicals, and reporting deadlines contained in Section 313.

The purpose of Section 313 is to make information available on the amount of specific toxic chemicals released to the environment from manufacturing facilities.  This information became readily available via the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) database in June 1989 through the National Library of Medicine’s TOXNET system. 

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