The world of compliance and permitting is ever-evolving and the start to 2022 is no exception. January brought more changes to Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list, civil penalties, and more. Regulations will continue to evolve through court reviews, legislative changes, and permitting revisions.

Greenhouse gases (GHG) are the hot topic this month, with high court and state action. The U.S. Supreme Court plans to review Congress’ regulatory authority, while California adopted stricter GHG industrial reporting regulations and North Carolina joined 12 other states in setting long-term carbon reduction goals. In addition, the EPA has proposed to reinstate the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for power plants.

The EPA is seeking public input on updates to the NPDES Industrial Stormwater Fact Sheet Series. There are currently 29 Fact Sheets posted online for each sector covered under the 2021 Multi-Sector General Permit for stormwater discharges from industrial activity. The EPA is seeking input on updating common activities, pollutant sources, best management practices, and other relevant issues. Comments must be received on or before March 28.

This month, we highlight the following in our Compliance News:

Ask an Expert: How to get your facility audit ready

BC Principal Engineer Paul Pepler shares his insight into preparing your facility for an Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) audit. Read “Ask an Expert”

SCOTUS to review EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon consider whether the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the authority to delegate broad regulatory authority to the EPA “to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in virtually any industry, so long as it considers cost, non-air impacts, and energy requirements.”

TRI list includes additional PFAS

As part of its comprehensive PFAS Strategic Roadmap, the EPA announced the automatic addition of four PFAS to the TRI list.

Adjustment of civil penalties

The EPA published its annual inflationary increases for the fine amounts for civil penalties assessed under its authority.

Ask an Expert: How to prepare for an audit

In this month’s feature, BC’s Paul Pepler talks about how to prepare your facility for an audit.

Question: With increasing penalties associated with Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) violations, evolving requirements, and Tier II reports due March 1, how can we help make our facility audit-ready?

Answer: Paul PeplerFiling an EPCRA report on time is just part of compliance. Facilities need to maintain backup documentation and records to demonstrate how they reported in the event of an audit. As you prepare your facility, here are some things to keep in mind:


Each Year, reread the rule — it’s short. Read instructions and guidance documents available from the EPA or local agencies.

Physical inventory

Walk your facility and identify and document tanks, totes, bins, dry storage, and in-process storage.

Applicability evaluation

  • Quantify maximum on-site storage amounts using container capacity, number of containers, density, and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) information. Technical data sheets and environmental data sheets can be helpful as well, if available.
  • Review purchasing records to identify any material that is stored but was not identified during the physical inventory.
  • Identify Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) contained in materials based on the Consolidated List of Lists or 40 CFR 355 Appendix A and B (any identified EHS must be summed facility-wide).
  • Compare estimated maximum storage quantities of hazardous and extremely hazardous chemicals to the applicable thresholds. Note: Documentation for not reporting is just as important as documentation for reporting.
  • Identify any exemptions that may apply. If you elect to utilize exemptions, document exactly how you meet the specific exemption criteria so that anyone reading the justification has enough information to make a determination.

Prepare Tier 2 reports

  • Use the information prepared for the applicability evaluation to prepare reports.
  • Save a copy of each SDS used in the applicability evaluation with this reporting year’s file. Formulations change, and, if you are audited, you will want to easily identify the SDS that was representative of the product during the reporting year and used to prepare the Tier 2 report.

Quality control

  • Perform your own quality check of all information and calculations including consistency between Tier 2 report, supporting documentation, calculations, and SDS.
  • Have someone else review the information for completeness, accuracy, clarity, and consistency.


  • Each year, confirm the submittal methods required by the SERC, local emergency planning committees (LEPC), and local Fire Department. If submitting via email, confirm file format and email addresses prior to the submittal date. These do change.
  • Document your submittal by saving copies of emails or confirmation received.

About the experts

Meghan Krishnayya, Indianapolis, is the Compliance & Permitting Service Line Director for Brown and Caldwell, with expertise in environmental regulatory program strategy development and implementation.

Paul Pepler is Principal Engineer, Environmental Compliance, for Brown and Caldwell. He is based in Boston, and has 21 years of environmental consulting and industry experience serving clients ranging from the manufacturing to the energy market sectors.

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