Tier II EPCRA Reporting of Combustible Dust

March 7, 2019

On Friday, February 22, UEP notified egg producers of a new federal environmental reporting requirement involving “combustible dust” that is found at feed mills.  These “Tier II” reports are required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).  The combustible dust element is the result of a 2016 U.S. EPA rulemaking that aligned Tier II reporting with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

UEP examined the requirements and found that it is highly likely that US egg operations could legally and professionally choose to NOT report by the March 1 deadline.  Instead, UEP recommends that producers use 2019 to examine their operations and determine if they should submit reports beginning in 2020.  Tier II reporting involves more than just hazardous dust and some egg operations are already submitting Tier II reports for these non-dust materials. Also, some operations’ circumstances may make reporting advisable for any number of reasons.

UEP believes it is unlikely U.S. egg operations needed to report by the March 1 deadline because of the following:

  • It is highly unlikely that any animal operation’s feed mill has or exceeds at any one time the reporting threshold of 10,000 pounds of “fugitive” dust. Only dust that escapes the milling process is covered by this requirement, not the milled feed itself.
  • Most egg operations are in regular communication with their first responders.
  • It is unlikely that any rural fire department is unaware of the hazards created by grain dust at farming facilities.

UEP’s email to members on February 22 included background information and further details. 

Whether or not farms choose to report this dust under Tier II, diligent use of sound dust management practices around feed mills makes good workplace safety and business sense.  Explosions at feed mills, while rare, can and do occur and may result in human deaths or injury along with property damage.  These incidents are easily avoided if common sense dust management practices are followed.