The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requires businesses small and large, across the five boroughs, to report their use and storage of hazardous substances every year by March 1st.
Through the Right-to-Know Law, the city can ensure emergency responders understand the potential hazards associated with the release of chemicals. Storage tanks containing flammable materials, corrosive chemicals that can leak or spill, or physical hazards associated with the sudden release of pressure from a compressed gas cylinder all pose a threat to an emergency responder.The DEP rules follow USEPA 40 CFR §355 also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act or EPCRA, but takes it one step further adding a filing fee and fine statute for those who choose not to follow it. For this reason, the DEP compiles reported information into the Citywide Facility Inventory Database.
Reportable information on each chemical product includes:
-Hazardous substance name and ingredients
-Physical and health hazards associated with the chemical (Is it flammable? Reactive? At risk of a sudden release of pressure? Could it pose an immediate health hazard if it enters your body? Could it pose a chronic health problem?)
-Total weight of each chemical housed in the facility
-The storage locations of the chemicals around your facility
-The chemical’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
Reportable information is evaluated by the DEP to determine if a facility stores chemicals that can be classified as an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS). A chemical can be classified as an EHS if their ingredients are shown to cause serious health effects upon overexposure and are present in the facility above a chemical-specific, Threshold Planning Quantity. The city does not mandate businesses to discard their chemicals if an EHS is present above the Threshold Planning Quantity, but will require a Risk Management Plan to be prepared for the DEP. A Risk Management Plan ensures the appropriate first responders with the necessary knowledge and training about the site-specific hazards are involved in an emergency.
What happens if I don’t submit the Right to Know paperwork?
As the reporting deadline approaches, remember: Failure to file your Facility Inventory Form (FIF), indicating stored hazardous substances can result in big fines and leaves your business at risk of endangering the community. Inspectors travel around the city throughout the year to small and large businesses to document chemical compliance. Business owners in violation will receive a fine and will still be mandated to submit a Right-To-Know filing after the deadline. Walden Environmental Engineering PLLC has observed, new businesses and established companies alike have been the target of DEP inspections.
Is my business in compliance with the Community Right-to-Know laws?
Walden can help your facility report its chemicals to the DEP’s Community Right to Know Database. We offer services to inspect your facility, inventory your chemicals, compile the Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals on-site, fill out your Facility Inventory Form, complete the Tier II filing, and prepare the documents to be submitted to the DEP and New York City Fire Department. Walden has the ability to assist new businesses, or first-time filers with the process of registering their facility with the DEP.
We can also help with Risk Management Plans and all your facility’s chemical storage needs.
Make sure to report your hazardous materials before an emergency strikes, it could save a life.
For more information on the Community Right-to-Know law, see New York City Administrative Code §24-700 [the Community Right-to-Know Law].
Check out Walden’s Right to Know Services.
Don’t miss the March 1st Right to Know Tier II filing deadline, contact us or give us a call at (516) 624-7200.