Every year on March 1st, facilities within New York City that store or use hazardous substances are required to file reports with the City’s Department of Environmental Protection. These Community Right-to-Know (RTK) filings are designed to facilitate accumulation and rapid access to detailed information necessary to protect the public and emergency responders.
Community Right-to-Know filing is mandatory, and all industrial, commercial and public facilities must participate.
RTK guidelines stipulate five filing requirements:
- Reporting hazardous substances stored or used at the facility, if amounts meet or exceed Threshold Reporting Quantities (TRQs) any time during the reporting year. A comprehensive NYC Hazardous Substances List can be found within the Community Right-to-Know Laws & Regulations packet. Hazardous substances are categorized as toxic, hazardous or extremely hazardous.
- Listing any mixture containing hazardous substances. You must note the type and quantity of each hazardous component. More information on this is available in the Laws & Regulations packet, chapter 41-05.
- Providing a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each hazardous substance or mixture reported on the Facility Inventory Form (FIF). These have to be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection, the NYC Fire Department and the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). MSDSs only need to be provided to the SERC once.
- Labeling hazardous materials containers. Labels must show the chemical abstract service (CAS) number and chemical name. If it’s a mixture, all ingredients must be identified by name and CAS number.
- Maintaining MSDS copies on-site. This facilitates employee access for safety education and reference, ensures documents are readily available if an inspection occurs, and makes it easier to submit required updates.
Community Right-to-Know filing guidelines are reasonably straight-forward. However, facility owners and managers often find it useful to obtain professional assistance with this process, to ensure all requirements are fully understood and help guide gathering and organization of information required to complete the filing.