The reporting deadline for businesses that manufacture, process or store threshold quantities of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is fast approaching. Come July 2021, qualifying businesses must provide comprehensive reports on their handling of PFAS to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In February 2020, as per a provision by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, the EPA added PFAS to the list of toxic chemicals subject to reporting under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). According to the EPA, the EPCRA was established in 1986 to help communities plan for chemical emergencies. EPCRA Section 313, also referred to as the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), requires facilities involved in certain industries, such as manufacturing, mining and power generation, to report on the storage, use and releases of hazardous substances to federal, state and local governments. This data is meant to help governments prepare for and protect their communities from potential risks. As per this new reporting mandate for 2021, businesses that handle the threshold quantity of 100 pounds or more of any of the 172 PFAS must file a TRI report detailing their 2020 operations to the EPA by July 1, 2021.
PFAS are synthetic compounds that have been used for decades in a variety of consumer and industrial products, such as stain- and water-repellant fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon®), polishes, waxes, cleaning products and firefighting foams, according to the EPA. Continued exposure to elevated PFAS levels has been linked to various adverse health effects, including cancer, kidney disease and birth and development disorders. Click for more information on PFAS.
Do I Need to Report?
To determine whether your facility is required to file a TRI report in 2021, review the following three criteria:
- Does your facility employ more than ten full-time equivalent employees?
- Does your facility fall within a TRI-covered industry sector (e.g., mining, certain utilities, food and beverage manufacturing, textiles and apparel, publishing, etc.)?
- Does your facility manufacture, process or otherwise use a TRI-listed chemical in quantities above threshold levels (100 pounds) in a calendar year?
If you answered “Yes” to all three criteria above, relating to your 2020 operations, you must file a TRI report in 2021.
The TRI reports will detail businesses’ operations for the 2020 calendar year and report all sources and involvement with PFAS, including releases into the environment and transmittal in waste streams to onsite and offsite locations. Data submitted to the EPA by the July 1, 2021 deadline must also be supplied to the applicable state or tribal government. Following 2021, businesses will be required to submit TRI reports on an annual basis.
Who Else Will See These Reports?
The EPA plans to publish all information submitted by PFAS TRI reporters by July 31, 2021. While information deemed confidential will be excluded from public access, all details on PFAS quantities, uses and disposal, releases to the environmental and efforts to prevent and reduce pollution will be published. The public will be able to access all information submitted to the EPA by searching facility name, zip code, SIC/NAICS code and chemical name.
Penn E&R Can Help
Facilities covered by the qualifying criteria should already be compiling their 2020 data ahead of the July 2021 reporting deadline, determining whether substances they handle contain PFAS and in what amounts to determine if reporting is necessary. Penn E&R has a team of specialists with expertise in environmental compliance and reporting ready to assist you. If you have questions, or are interested in learning how Penn E&R can assist your company with PFAS reporting, contact a Penn E&R professional at