Skip to the Content

E-Plan (Tier II) Chemical Information

To go directly to E-Plan, click here > 

Tennessee Tier II (E-Plan) - Introduction

The State of Tennessee has decided to require the use of an electronic Tier II submission program as the primary means for companies operating in Tennessee to comply with Federal chemical inventory reporting requirements. 

Local Emergency Planning Committees:

West Tennessee

Middle Tennessee

East Tennessee

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Tier II Filing Requirements for Tennessee?

As of September 1st, 2014 The State of Tennessee will require all facilities operating in Tennessee to electronically file Tier II reports using E-Plan.

Facilities are required provide Tier II information to the following entities:

  • The State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) – Electronic submission of the Tier II report with E-Plan will fulfill this requirement. A paper copy is not required.
  • The Local Emergency Planning Committee in the county the facility is located.
      • Contact the appropriate LEPC to confirm whether they require a paper copy of the Tier II report.
      • A paper copy of the electronic submission can be printed from E-Plan and supplied to the LEPC to meet this requirement.
  • The local fire department in the county the facility is located.
      • Contact the appropriate fire department to confirm whether they require a copy of the Tier II report.
      • A paper copy of the electronic submission can be printed from E-Plan and supplied to the fire department to meet this requirement.

 

Does Tennessee Charge for submitting Tier II reports?

E-plan charges $25.00 per facility to submit a Tier II report.

    •  The charge is paid directly to E-Plan, and the State of Tennessee has no additional charges.
     

When are Tier II reports due?

Tier II reports are due by March 1st of each year.

What is the link for filing a Tier II report with E-Plan?

https://erplan.net/eplan/home.htm

    • Use the Online Tier2 eSubmit section for Tier II submitters, facility managers, and business owners

Who do I contact with technical questions concerning the electronic submission?

The E-Plan website has a contact link for technical support.

Who can I contact with chemical questions, concerns, or issues?

The State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) can be contacted by phone, email, or regular mail at:

Phone: 615-253-3157 during business hours, or 615-741-0001 for emergencies

Email: epcra@tnema.org

Mailing Address:

SERC

3041 Sidco Drive

P.O. Box 41502

Nashville, TN 37204

 

Who can contact to request Tier II information on a particular facility?

Requests for Tier II information must be submitted to the State Emergency Response Commission in writing.

  • Each Request must include the specific facility name and address. Only the most current year is available to the public. There is a 45-day response window for requests, per the federal statute.
  • Requests for Teir II data can be sent via email or mailed to:

    Email: epcra@tnema.org

    Mailing Address:

    SERC

    3041 Sidco Drive

    P.O. Box 41502

    Nashville, TN 37204

 

Is there a charge for First Responders to use E-Plan?

There is no charge for approved First Responders to have access.

    • Use the following link to create an account and request access: https://erplan.net/eplan/home.htm
    • There will be a delay before the request is approved due to the verification process.
      • E-Plan will request approval from the SERC
      • The SERC will then confirm the validity of the request with the appropriate county official.

Steps for LEPCs to Implement E-Plan in Their Jurisdiction

A. Appointing LEPC Authorizers
Once an LEPC has determined that they want to use E-Plan as their reporting system, they should first identify the authorizing authorities for their jurisdiction. The decision to identify county-level authorizers ultimately rests with the agencies that comprise the LEPC. It is recommended that only a limited number of persons within a county be identified as the authorizing authority for their jurisdiction. These persons should be program management or senior officers that represent their agency on the LEPC and are the lead in decision making on behalf of their respective agency. Each of those agencies should have at least two authorizers who can serve as the focal point for that agency to respond to agency-specific requests (users) to access E-Plan. This will help ensure that access to secure information is maintained and allow for each response discipline (i.e., fire, EMS, police) to have an authorizer to confirm access for their respective discipline. As an example, the following is list of County-level authorizers:

• County Administrator, County Supervisor or Designee
• LEPC Chair; LEPC Coordinator
• County Emergency Management Office – Director, Administrator, Coordinator
• County Homeland Security Representative – Director, Administrator, Coordinator
• County Fire Marshall/Fire Coordinator
• County HazMat Team Coordinator; Deputy Coordinator
• County Sheriff
• County EMS Coordinator

B. Amendments to LEPC By-Laws
Section 301(c) of SARA Title III requires each LEPC to develop rules (by-laws) by which each committee shall function. LEPCs should formally amend their rules and identify the specific agency, and individuals, that will serve as authorizers for their jurisdiction.

It is important to note that an E-Plan authorizer can only authorize users to access E-Plan and view Tier II inventory submissions for their jurisdiction, not in other jurisdictions. Authorizers should not approve E-Plan access to individuals in neighboring jurisdictions unless the authorizers of both jurisdictions are in concurrence in allowing such access to the system. This limitation should be reflected in the LEPC’s by-laws.

C. Requests under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)
Members of the media and the general public should not be allowed access to the system as either an authorizer or a user. In response to FOIL requests, authorizers should only provide the information that is being requested, if appropriate, and not provide open access to the system.

D. Establishing County Authorizing Authorities
Once the LEPC has determined who will serve as their authorizing authorities, a potential "Authorizing Authority" must:

  1. Complete the online "Authorizing Authority Account Request" form on the E-Plan website. Begin by logging on to E-Plan. Once there, click on the "Signup for Account" link on the middle of the web page. After clicking on the "Signup for Account" link, you will be directed to the web page at right. From this page, select the "Authorizing Authority" account type and click on the "Continue to Account Creation" button to request an authorizing authority account for your jurisdiction, noted by the red arrow. This will take you to a page with numerous required fields (boxes) to establish the account in your jurisdiction. Fill in the required fields to identify yourself, your jurisdiction and your own specific UserID and password. After completing the account request form, click the "Create User" button at the bottom of the web page to submit your request.
  2. At the completion of the account request:
    The E-Plan Team at UT Dallas will contact the person who filled out the form by phone or e-mail to verify their identity and desire to be an "Authorizing Authority". Once approved, the E-Plan Team will set up the new "Authorizing Authority" account for the person (or persons) who now will approve all future E-Plan users in that jurisdiction. The E-Plan Team will send an e-mail message with the account information to the new E-Plan "Authorizing Authority". All future requests from individuals to become authorized E-Plan users will be forwarded to the appropriate "Authorizing Authority" in that jurisdiction for approval either by fax or by e-mail. After approval by the "Authorizing Authority" for that jurisdiction, the UT Dallas E-Plan Team will send an e-mail message with the account information to the new E-Plan registered user.

E. Addressing County Users of E-Plan Information
As mentioned above, all future requests from individuals to become authorized E-Plan users to view the information on E-Plan will be forwarded to the appropriate" Authorizing Authority" for approval in that jurisdiction either by fax or by e-mail. The steps to becoming a user are similar to the steps in becoming an authorizer.

  1. Prospective users should go to the website at: https://erplan.net. From there, the requestor should click on the "Signup for Account" link on the middle of the web page, noted by the red arrow. After clicking on the "Signup for Account" link, the prospective user will be directed to the web page at right. From this page, select the "User" account type and click on the "Continue to Account Creation" button to request auser account, noted by the red arrow at right. This will take applicants to a page with numerous required fields (boxes) to establish a user account. Fill in the required fields to identify yourself, your jurisdiction, your own specific User ID and password, and your supervisor's name and his/her e-mail address. In filling out the form, prospective users will be prompted to read, understand, and fill in the "Acceptable Use Policy" form. After completing the Acceptable Use Policy form, click the "Create User" button as noted by the red arrow at right to submit your request.

F. Specifics on Fire Department Access to the Information
Typically, each county LEPC includes a representative from the fire coordinator’s office. This individual should be the lead in approving or denying access to the system by fire service personnel. Fire coordinators should use their discretion in determining the number of individuals from each fire department requesting access to the system and may consider limiting access to chief officers and line officers. It is recognized that a limited number of fire service personnel in the State may not have internet access to obtain the information on E-Plan or may elect to not accept electronic reporting from the facility. This is of key concern as the fire service is typically the first line of defense in response to a chemical emergency. County LEPCs should discuss this issue with their county fire coordinator. If such cases exist, counties can still require facilities to provide hardcopy submissions of their Tier II forms, MSDSs and site maps to the fire department having jurisdiction over the facility. LEPCs need to ensure that their industry partners know what departments should continue to receive hardcopy submittals of Tier II information.

Industry Usage

Industry representatives should first login to E-Plan.
Once there, Tier II filers should click on the E-Plan Online Filing (Tier2) link on the left side of the page. This is noted by the arrow at right. After clicking on E-Plan Online Filing, the page at right will appear. From here, Tier II filers can create their own access ID and user password. Doing so will generate the facility’s initial profile that can be edited only  by facility personnel with proper access. To generate the user ID and password, click on the “Click Here” link noted by the arrow at right.

After clicking on the red arrow noted above, Tier II filers will be directed to this web page. From here, Tier II filers can generate user-specific (and facility-specific) information.

After completing the required fields (boxes) at right, click on “Continue” to complete the online submission of inventory information.

The remaining submission information is relatively simple to use and follow. For those that need assistance, the program also includes an online tutorial. To access the tutorial, click on theupper right corner of the page. This is noted by the arrow at right. This will link to another web page and give the user an online tutorial, step by step, on how to file their information. In addition, by selecting this domain, users can also receive the information on how to import Tier2 Submit information into the E-Plan system.

G. A Special Note for Facilities
E-Plan includes thousands of MSDSs that are available to incorporate along with the facility’s submission. However, 40 CFR 370.21(MSDS Reporting) requires facilities to report facility-specific MSDSs. This is crucial as first responders may rely upon facilityspecific MSDSs as a reference in making the decision as to the appropriate type/level of protective clothing to wear in an emergency. Industries that are required to provide MSDSs along with their Tier II report should not be relying upon the generic MSDSs contained within E-Plan and should post their specific MSDS on the E-Plan site. For reference, the MSDSs in question are those that are required to be on hand for employee review and regulatory inspection under the 29 CFR 1910.1200 Hazard Communication Standard. Chemical suppliers, distributors and manufacturers are required to provide these MSDSs to industry upon request.

Program Usage and Training

It is beyond the scope of this document to include a user guide to navigate from point to point in the program. However, from the Training and Registration web page, local government personnel can go through an on-line tutorial that guides them on how to use the system, search the chemical databases, and use the system in response to an event. This link is noted by the red arrow in the slide below.

What is Tier II reporting and who must submit these reports?
In 1986, President Reagan signed into law the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) as a revision to federal legislation dealing with hazardous substances and toxic wastes. SARA Title III, known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), required the development of a State Emergency Response Committee (SERC) as well as Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) to manage hazardous materials preparedness at the State and county level. In addition to State and local planning requirements, EPCRA Section 312 requires facilities that use or store a hazardous chemical above a threshold quantity to annually submit their chemical inventory information to off-site officials on or before March 1st of each year. The inventory information must be submitted to the fire department having jurisdiction over the facility, the respective county LEPC, and the SERC.

The primary means of chemical inventory notification and submission is via a federally-developed form, known as a Tier II Chemical Inventory form. Tier II forms require basic facility identification information, employee contact information for both emergencies and non-emergencies, and information about the chemicals stored or used at the facility. Traditionally, facilities required to report under EPCRA have used the hardcopy Tier II form or some electronic variation as a means of complying with the notification requirements. This variance in reporting methodology makes it difficult to manage and use and is not always readily available or easily accessed at the State and local levels.

What are the benefits of using electronic submission?
The State of Tennessee has recently conducted an in-depth review of the submission process and methods and has identified that a standardized, internet-based statewide system would benefit both the users and filers of Tier II-related information. The submission of Tier II data via the internet has been effective in improving compliance and reducing cost to the regulated community in other states and their counties where electronic reporting is currently used. This electronic process also has the added benefit of providing an effective data management tool for the regulated facilities, Emergency Management officials and the first-responder community as they plan for and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials. Regulatory compliance staff can be supported by this service as well because facilities can update their information, such as chemical lists, material safety data sheets (MSDS) and contact information, on-line as circumstances within the facility change without waiting until the next required report. This will make the next year’s report easier and help the response community if an incident occurs.

What is the name of the electronic filing system?
The state is encouraging, not requiring, facilities to report Tier II information using an application called E-Plan. E-Plan is maintained by the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). E-Plan is provided free of charge to all companies, State and local planning committees, and fire service officials who have authorized access to review the information for response, planning and compliance purposes. The information submitted by facilities is stored on a secure server managed by the UTD and is only accessible with permissions granted by appropriate authorities. More than 37,000 chemical sites across all fifty states and territories that currently utilize this free web-based application.

Who will have access to the information that will be submitted?
The information that each reporting entity provides will be accessible to the same audience that is currently allowed under EPCRA. Facilities can log on and will be allowed only to submit and retrieve information as it pertains to their facility. Persons requesting access to review the information submitted by industry will do so on-line on the E-Plan web site. However, upon receipt of a request to access the system, UTD staff will contact an “authorizing authority” in the jurisdiction where the request originates to verify the appropriateness of the request to view industry submissions. This authorizing authority will either allow or deny access to individuals based on a need-to-know basis. Counties that participate in using the system will decide who in the county will serve as that authorizing authority.

Who is accepting electronic filing as the formal reporting process?
The decision to allow the use of this web-based application for compliance purposes applies only to satisfying notification of the SERC. County LEPCs and fire departments will need to decide if electronic submission is a process that they are willing to accept for compliance with Section 312. The SERC will be conducting outreach to the LEPCs to inform them of this option and assist with the implementation when an LEPC chooses to participate in the E-Plan electronic submittal process. In addition, E-Plan allows a facility the ability to print the necessary information from the on-line application if a printed copy is required by the LEPC or the local fire department. Facilities that are required to report should contact their respective LEPC and fire department in which their reportable facility resides. County LEPC contact information can be found in the list of resources at the end of this document.

How do I use this system? Is there training for this?
The E-Plan system is very user-friendly and requires little preparation time on behalf of industry to accurately and effectively submit inventory information. The E-Plan home page can be found at https://erplan.net, with the “E-Plan Online Filing” on the left side of the page. After clicking on filing Tier II information, you’ll be able to create your submission under the “Welcome to Tier 2 Submit Online” dialog box. Once here, you can create and enter your own user identification profile. Also, in the upper right corner of the webpage, you can choose a list of options from the domain entitled “Select a Tour.” This is an excellent on-line automated tutorial that will assist you in using the system to report your inventory information.

Training workshops for all potential users, including industry and government, are being considered by the SERC. More information will be announced as it becomes available. See the list of resources at the end of this document.
For additional information on the use of E-Plan in Tennessee, Tier II reporting, thresholds, training announcements, the SERC and hazardous materials program support, please see the State Emergency Management Office website at: http://www.tnema.org. For reporting requirements, go to: http://www.epa.gov/oem/docs/chem/epcra.pdf
For a listing of chemicals and threshold planning and reporting requirements see the EPA list:  http://www.epa.gov/oem/docs/chem/title3_Oct_2006.pdf

This information is being provided to Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), emergency management offices and fire coordinators to serve as program guidance in the State’s decision to accept and encourage the use of an electronic Tier II submission program for companies operating in Tennessee to comply with federal chemical inventory reporting requirements. The information below will identify key points in the State’s decision to use this system and what this means to county LEPCs and response agencies.

Fact Sheet for Industry
The fact sheet is attached for your reference and should be reviewed in conjunction with this program guidance.

A refresher on Tier II reporting and submission requirements
In 1986, President Reagan signed into law the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) as a revision to federal legislation dealing with hazardous substances and toxic wastes. In addition to State and local planning requirements, the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) Section 312 requires facilities that use or store a hazardous chemical above a threshold quantity to annually submit their chemical inventory information to off-site officials on or before March 1st of each year. The inventory information must be submitted to the fire department having jurisdiction over the facility, the respective county LEPC, and the SERC.

Traditionally, facilities required to report under EPCRA have used the hardcopy Tier II form or some electronic variation (i.e., Tier II Submit) as a means of complying with the notification requirements. This variance in reporting methodology often makes it difficult to utilize the information for State and local planning purposes.

What are the benefits of using electronic submission? Are there other benefits?
The submission of Tier II data via the internet has been effective in improving compliance and reducing cost to the regulated community in other states and their counties where electronic reporting is currently used. This electronic process also has the added benefit of providing an effective data management tool for emergency management officials and the first-responder community as they plan for and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials. Further, facilities can update their information, such as chemical lists, material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and contact information, on-line as circumstances within the facility change which allows responders access to real-time, up-to-date information.

Who is accepting electronic filing as the formal reporting process?
It is important to note that the SERC has decided to accept electronic reporting for compliance purposes in satisfying the notification to the State. The SERC is requiring, counties to use the program. Each county LEPC and fire department should decide if electronic submission is a process that they are willing to accept for compliance with Section 312.

Local government use of the System
Counties need to fully understand the system and address several issues if they choose to accept online submissions of Tier II information. Key concerns are as follows:

For Industry: Facilities can log on to the web site, create their facility profile and password, and will be allowed only to submit and retrieve Tier II information as it pertains to their facility.

For Government: Persons requesting access to review the information submitted by industry will do so on-line and will need to identify the contact information and email of a county “authorizing authority.”

Upon receipt of an online request to access the system, online program management staff will contact the authorizing authority to verify the appropriateness of the request to view industry submissions. The contact to the authorizing authority will be done by email. Upon receipt of the email from the online program management staff, the authorizing authority will either allow or deny access to individuals based on a need-to-know basis.

Each county will need to identify an authorizing authority to approve or deny access to individuals that are requesting access to review the information submitted by industry. It is recommended that only a few persons within a county be identified as the authorizing authority for their jurisdiction. One recommendation would be to allow that authority to the LEPC coordinator, county emergency manager, the fire coordinator and a county law enforcement representative. This will help ensure that access to secured information is maintained and allow for each response discipline (i.e., fire, EMS, police) to have
an authorizer to confirm access for their respective discipline. In response to requests of inventory information under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), LEPCs should only provide the information that is being requested, if deemed appropriate, and not provide the requestor access to the system.

Variations in using the system
It is recognized that a limited number of fire service personnel in the State may not have internet access to acquire the information or may elect to not accept electronic reporting. This is of key concern as the fire service is typically the first line of defense in response to a chemical emergency. County LEPCs should discuss this issue with their county fire coordinator. If such cases exist, counties can still require facilities to provide hardcopy submissions of their Tier II forms, MSDS and site maps to the fire department having jurisdiction over the facility.

What is the name of the electronic filing system and is there a cost involved?
The Tier II reporting system is called E-Plan. E-Plan is maintained by the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The information submitted by facilities is stored on a secure server managed by the UTD and is only accessible with permissions granted by the appropriate authorities. E-Plan is provided free of charge to all First Responders who have authorized access to review the information for response, planning and life safety purposes. E-Plan requires facilities to pay a $25 fee for submission of Tier II reports.

How do I use this system? Is there training for this?
The E-Plan system is very user-friendly and requires little preparation time to accurately and effectively review inventory information. The E-Plan home page can be found at https://erplan.net, with the “EPlan Training and Registration” link on the left side of the page. After clicking on training, you can create your user profile and get an on-line tutorial that will assist you in using the system. Training workshops for all potential users, including industry and government, are being considered by the SERC. Training announcements will be disseminated as the dates become available.

Questions on this Program
To learn more about E-Plan and link to other resources, please visit the E-Plan website: