What Is TRI Reporting?
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting is an EPA program for collecting information on releases and pollution prevention activities associated with over 650 chemicals that are known to cause:
- Cancer or other chronic human health effects
- Significant adverse acute human health effects
- Significant adverse environmental effects
The information collected is used by the EPA and local communities to help make planning and policy decisions.
How Did TRI Reporting Come About?
Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) in 1986. This was in response to concerns associated with:
- A 1984 release of toxic gas from a Union Carbide plan in Bhopal, India that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people that lived near the plant.
- A 1985 release from a similar plant in West Virginia which hospitalized 28 people. (New York Times article, Ben A. Jackson, August 12, 1985)
The law behind TRI reporting is included in Section 313 of EPCRA and the specific regulations that must be followed are in 40 CFR Part 372.
Who Is Required to Submit TRI Reports?
Facilities are required to report under the TRI Program when ALL three of the below criteria are met:
- The facility is included in a TRI-covered North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code;
- The facility has 10 or more full-time employee equivalents (the equivalent of a total of 20,000 hours or greater); and
- The facility:
- Manufactures or processes any TRI-chemical in quantities greater than 25,000 pounds;
- Otherwise uses any TRI-chemical in quantities greater than 10,000 pounds; or
- Manufacturers, processes, or otherwise uses a Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic (PBT) chemical in excess of the thresholds specified in 40 CFR 372.28 (these thresholds are much lower... 10 pounds, 100 pounds or 0.1 grams for dioxins).
How Do I know If I Had 10 or More Full-Time Employee Equivalents?
10 full-time employee equivalents is equal to 20,000 hours worked. When determining whether the 20,000 hours or greater threshold was exceeded for a facility, you must include hours associated with:
- All personnel employed by a facility regardless of function (e.g., sales, clerical, etc.) or location
- The owners (even if they do not draw a salary)
- All contractors who performed work on behalf of the facility (i.e. this includes contractors who helped construct or modify a facility)
- Overtime hours
- Paid vacation and sick leave (provided the vacation or sick leave was actually taken)
Employees who are not based at a specific facility, such as truck drivers who support multiple facilities, may have their time allocated between the different facilities.
Where Do I Start?
- Step 1 - Determine if your facility:
- Is included in a TRI-covered North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code
- Had 10 or more full-time employee equivalents during the prior calendar year
Materials may be excluded if they contain less than 0.1% of a non-PBT TRI-chemical that is carcinogenic or less than 1.0% of any other non-PBT TRI-chemical. See this EPA guidance for more information on de minimis exemption.
- Manufactured - The TRI-chemical is produced at the facility or imported by the facility.
- Processed - The TRI-chemical is:
- Used in a chemical reaction
- Added to a product
- Becomes an integral component of an article that will be distributed (e.g. such as pigment in a paint that is applied to chairs)
- Contained as an impurity in a material that is processed
- Is recycled (including processing or preparation of a TRI-chemical for purposes of recycling or reclamation)
- Otherwise Used - Any use of a toxic chemical that is not covered by the terms "manufacture" or "process".
Okay, I Have To Report... Now What?
You will need to determine the quantity of TRI-chemicals that were:
- Released to the air, water, or soil
- Recycled, treated, or disposed
- Involved in source reduction activities undertaken to prevent pollution
That is not an easy task, especially if it will be the first time completing such reports. As such, it would likely be in your best interest to work with someone who has previously prepared such reports.
Reporting methodologies are very industry specific, so it is recommended that you find someone who has prepared TRI reports in your industry. You can do this by talking with similar facilities or reaching out to your industry organizations. You can also contact us and our TRI experts can help or, if we do not have the appropriate experience, recommend someone who can.
When Are TRI Reports Due?
TRI reports must be submitted by July 1st of every year.
How Are TRI Reports Submitted?
TRI reporting forms must be submitted electronically using the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory-Made Easy Web (TRI-MEweb) online reporting tool.
How Can EHS Software Help?
EHS Software, such as Ecesis, provides a centralized system for tracking:
- On-site chemicals that contain TRI-chemicals
- The quantity of TRI-chemicals used
- The quantity of TRI-chemicals that were released to the air and/or managed as waste or recycled materials