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VI. Alternate Threshold Rule

Source: EPA 1994 Toxics Release Inventory
Public Data Release, Appendix A:
Questions and Answers


Q40 What is the Alternate Threshold Rule?

A EPA finalized a reporting modification that was effective January 1, 1995. In the final rule, 59 FR 61488, entitled "TRI Alternate Threshold for Facilities with Low Annual Reportable Amounts," EPA established a reporting option for facilities that meet TRI reporting thresholds for a listed chemical, but whose total annual reportable amount (defined below) does not exceed 500 pounds for that chemical.

For facilities that do not exceed the 500-pound criterion for a listed chemical, this reporting modification provides the option of applying an "alternate manufacture, process or otherwise use threshold" of 1 million pounds to the chemical. If a facility does not exceed the 1 million pound (alternate) threshold, then that facility is eligible to submit a "certification statement" in place of a full Form R.

A facility that fits within the category description, and manufactures, processes, or otherwise uses no more than 1 million pounds of a listed toxic chemical annually, and whose owner/operator elects to take advantage of the alternate threshold is not considered a TRI covered facility for that chemical for the purpose of submitting a Form R. This determination may provide further regulatory relief from other Federal or state regulations that apply to facilities on the basis of their TRI reporting status. A facility will need to refer to other applicable regulations in order to determine if other requirements are affected by this reporting modification.

Q41 What is included in the total annual reportable amount?

A For the purpose of this reporting modification, the annual reportable amount is equal to the combined total quantities managed on a per-chemical basis, which are disposed of within the facility, treated at the facility (as represented by amounts destroyed or converted by waste treatment processes), recovered at the facility as a result of recycling operations, combusted for the purpose of energy recovery at the facility, and amounts transferred from the facility to off-site locations for the purpose of recycling, energy recovery, treatment, and/or disposal. These volumes correspond to the sum of amounts reportable for data elements on EPA Form R (EPA Form 9350-1; Rev. 12/4/93) as Part II column B of Section 8, data elements 8.1. Quantity Released; 8.2. Quantity Used for Energy Recovery Onsite; 8.3. Quantity Used for Energy Recovery Off-site; 8.4. Quantity Recycled On-site; 8.5. Quantity Recycled Off-site; 8.6. Quantity Treated On-site; and 8.7. Quantity Treated Off-site.

Q42 Why did EPA establish the Alternate Threshold reporting option?

A This rulemaking was undertaken in response to two petitions that requested EPA to provide some regulatory relief for a subset of facilities covered under EPCRA section 313. The certification statement provided by this rulemaking creates a simplified form of reporting which is intended to reduce the compliance burden associated with EPCRA section 313 reporting without significantly reducing the amount of release data available to the public. EPA estimates approximately 20,100 Form Rs can be replaced by certification statements based on 1992 reporting trends.

Q43 How much money is this expected to save?

A EPA estimates that this modification will save industry and EPA an annual total of $17.3 million and $700,000, respectively.

Q44 What information will be collected on the certification statement and how will that information be made available to the public?

A The certification statement must be submitted on an annual basis for each eligible chemical. The information submitted on the certification statement includes facility identification information and the chemical or chemical category identity. The information submitted on the certification statement will appear in the TRI database in the same manner that information submitted on Form R appears, excluding the release, transfer, and other waste management quantities. An approved certification statement, including a magnetic media version, was made available in the 1995 TRI Form R and Instructions package.

Q45 Aren't there some chemicals for which 500 pounds of releases could be a potentially serious environmental or health problem? Why is the 500-pound cut-off the same for all chemicals, regardless of their toxicity?

A When EPA began evaluating approaches to a reporting modification that would provide regulatory burden reduction, it considered making a distinction among the listed chemicals. EPA recognizes that there are differences in toxicities among the chemicals listed under EPCRA section 313. However, EPA determined that in order to effectively accomplish burden reduction, it was also necessary that the mechanism which provides the burden reduction not be unduly complicated. Therefore, in order to ensure that reporting modifications not jeopardize the public's Right-to-Know, a quantity for the "annual reportable amount" was selected that would be acceptable for application to the complete list of chemicals.

EPA believes the level of 500 pounds selected for this reporting modification, coupled with the information collected by the certification statement, will not appreciably lessen the value of currently collected information. EPA is planning a future modification of current thresholds to more fully capture information on chemicals that persist in the environment and bioaccumulate.

Q46 What kind of recordkeeping is required of facilities that submit certification statements?

A Owners and operators who determine that they are eligible and wish to apply the alternate threshold to a particular chemical must retain records substantiating this determination for a period of three years from the date of the submission of the certification statement. These records must include the calculations made by the facility that confirm its eligibility for each chemical for which the alternate threshold was applied as well as sufficient documentation to support these calculations.

Source: USEPA 1994 Toxics Release Inventory Public Data Release (EPA 745-R-96-002, June 1996).

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