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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive (TRI)

by Joelie Zak, Scientific Control Labs, Inc.
June, 2002

Reporting an Amount Below the Regulatory Level For Lead

Q. The source of lead compounds in my shop is from lead anodes used in decorative chrome plating. The annual generation of lead compounds is estimated to be below 100 lbs. If one is fairly certain that reporting is not needed, is there a "downside" to reporting an amount below the regulatory level?

A. Good question. Lets me just put it this way: In the many years that my company has been doing Form R reports, we have never seen anyone cited for filing a TRI report that didnt need to be filed. It would certainly seem that with the very low threshold for reporting for Lead ant other PBTs, EPA is determined to get as much information from industrial facilities as they can.

The downside would be that, unless you have filed in the past for other TRI chemicals (i.e., chromium compounds), your company would now appear on the TRI database. This database is public record and frequently used by the government and private citizens to gain information about the use of toxic chemicals in the area. In fact, there are a few on-line enviro groups have created a "quick link" that will automatically send a letter to a company from a "concerned citizen", requesting that the company get back to them about pollution that they may be emitting (based on the Form R report). While these form letters dont require any response from a legal standpoint, they tend to make some companies nervous. Similarly, EPA enforcement officials may also use the database to determine who to audit.

So, if you have filed before, I dont see a problem with filing for lead if you think you are just under the threshold. If you have never filed, you may want to take a closer look at your threshold determination calculations just to be sure you are under 100 lbs. Be sure to look at lead in your waste as well.


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