Required vs. Voluntary Tier II Environmental Reporting for Auto Dealers

By Chris Cleveland
CEO and Co-Founder

Understanding Tier II Reporting – When it’s Required

At its core, Tier II reporting is an essential component of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). It mandates that facilities provide the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state and local authorities with details about the storage, use, and release of specific hazardous chemicals. These chemicals, 

when present in amounts above certain thresholds, need to be reported to the EPA or applicable state agency and/or fire department. The thresholds can vary depending on the chemical and its hazard classification, but they are designed to ensure that local communities and first responders have information about potential hazards in their vicinity. Furthermore, reporting requirements can have slight variations from one state to another, making it critical for businesses to be familiar with their state’s specific mandates.

Auto dealers often come under the purview of Tier II reporting due to the nature of chemicals they store and use. These include, but are not limited to, motor oils, fuels, brake cleaner, anti-freeze, lead-acid batteries (e.g., used car batteries, as well as those present in industrial equipment, like forklifts), and electric car batteries. To illustrate, three common examples that trigger reporting requirements are listed below:


Hazardous Material EPA Reporting Threshold Common Dealer Use Case Example Calculations Based on Average Weight
Lead-Acid Batteries (Sulfuric Acid) 500 pounds Used lead-acid car batteries

Forklift batteries
12 used car batteries x 45 lbs. = 540 lbs.

1 forklift battery = 2,000 lbs.

Gasoline 10,000 pounds New/waste gasoline 1,612 gal of new/waste gasoline = 10,000 lbs.
Lithium-Ion Batteries (lithium nickel/cobalt-oxide) 10,000 pounds Electric vehicle batteries 10 new and/or used lithium ion batteries x 1,000 lbs. = 10,000 lbs.

Given the potential environmental, health, and safety impacts of these substances, understanding and complying with Tier II requirements is crucial for dealerships. 


The Case for Voluntary Reporting

Having set the stage with what Tier II reporting entails, let’s discuss the broader implications for auto dealers, especially when their chemical quantities fall below these regulatory thresholds. Should they simply operate under the radar, or is there value in adopting a more proactive approach to environmental reporting? This article aims to explore these questions, highlighting the reasons auto dealers—and indeed, facilities in other sectors—might consider voluntarily submitting Tier II reports even if not strictly mandated.

  1. Preparing for the Unexpected: Accidents Aren’t Always Predictable

No facility can predict every accident. While comprehensive safety measures can be in place, the unexpected can still occur. For instance, lithium-ion electric car batteries might be below reporting thresholds, but in the event of a fire, their presence becomes a crucial piece of information for first responders, as these batteries are extremely explosive and combustible. Ensuring that local emergency teams are aware of all potential hazards, regardless of their current reporting status, is essential for effective incident response.

  1. Quantities Fluctuate: Being Prepared for Change

It’s essential to remember that chemical quantities in facilities can fluctuate due to various operational factors. While a facility might be below reporting thresholds one year, the following year might see an increase that brings it above the threshold. By maintaining a practice of consistent reporting, facilities can avoid potential non-compliance risks and ensure they’re always in line with regulations.

  1. Gaining the Favor of Regulators

By taking proactive steps and voluntarily submitting reports, facilities show a commitment to transparency and good faith. This not only establishes a positive rapport with regulators but also reduces the likelihood of penalties, which range from $21,000 to $164,000 per violation, per day. Demonstrating such initiative can also lead to more favorable treatment in case of any inadvertent oversights.

  1. Demonstrating Leadership in Environmental Stewardship

Compliance with regulations is a given. But by voluntarily submitting Tier II reports, facilities exhibit a dedication to environmental responsibility that goes beyond just ticking boxes. It’s a statement that says, “We care about our environment, and we aren’t here to do the bare minimum.”

  1. Building Trust in the Community

Transparency is a currency of trust. By sharing even minor details about hazardous chemicals, a facility can foster a sense of trust and collaboration with its neighbors, local governments, and emergency response teams.

  1. A Smart Business Move

Risk management doesn’t just appease regulators—it can also make financial sense. Facilities that proactively manage and report on their environmental risks can often receive favorable insurance terms, reducing costs in the long run.

  1. Opportunities for Self-reflection

Creating a Tier II report isn’t just about paperwork. It’s a chance for a facility to review its chemical inventory, safety procedures, and overall operations. This can lead to valuable insights, process improvements, and waste reduction.

  1. Future-proofing Operations

Environmental regulations aren’t static. As concerns about environmental impact grow, thresholds and requirements might tighten. Facilities that have already been voluntarily reporting will find it easier to adapt to these new requirements.

  1. Enhancing Brand Reputation

In an age of information, brand reputation is everything. Facilities that step up, showing a commitment not just to compliance but to transparency and proactivity, will find themselves standing out in the marketplace.

The Common Hesitation: Why Auto Dealers and Others Hesitate

Traditionally, many auto dealers have shied away from voluntary reporting. This reluctance isn’t typically because of a disregard for environmental or safety concerns. Rather, it’s because of a lack of expertise or know-how. Accurate environmental reporting can be intricate and time-consuming. Even the best-intentioned dealers may struggle with understanding what needs to be reported and how to do it effectively. It’s worth noting that while this article focuses on auto dealers, the practice of voluntary reporting is quite common in various industries as a good practice for many of the reasons stated above.

Enter ComplyAuto

ComplyAuto is the only EHS platform in the country that can truly automate environmental reporting across all 50 states. Our cutting-edge solution takes the guesswork and manual labor out of the process, making reporting more accurate and less time-consuming. By leveraging ComplyAuto, dealerships can further reduce risk, promote a culture of safety, and emphasize environmental stewardship and compliance, all while streamlining operations.

While it might seem like an added task to submit Tier II reports when not explicitly required to, the benefits of doing so—ranging from community trust, support of emergency responders, operational insights, to brand enhancement—are clear. It’s a move that says a dealership is not just about business, but about the people and the environment it operates within. For auto dealers looking to make a difference and lead in their sectors, voluntary Tier II reporting is a step in the right direction. With tools like ComplyAuto at their disposal, the task becomes not just easier, but smarter.

Leave a Reply

Session Replay Tools: Data Analytics Gold Mine or Privacy Pitfall?
Think “Safety First” and Stay Off OSHA’s Naughty List this Year

We want to enroll our employees in preventative training to prevent BAR citations and fines.

We received a citation or disciplinary action and need to take remedial training.

Mock OSHA Assessment


  • On-demand eight-hour assessment that imitates a real OSHA audit.
  • Conducted by an EHS Pro with OSHA-10 or OSHA-30 certification and 5+ years of experience. 
  • Simulated employee interviews
  • Issue tracking and task management
  • Detailed assessment reports after the assessment with images, videos, and recommended steps for remediation.

    Privacy & Cyber Compliance Suite


    • Custom legal policies with real-time updates, including the Information Security Program (ISP)
    • Customized Incident Response Plan (IRP)
    • Internal risk assessment tools and hands-on guidance
    • Biannual penetration testing (2) 
    • Biannual vulnerability scans (2)
    • Employee security awareness training and completion tracking
    • Extensive vendor management library – hundreds of vendor-completed GLBA contracts & risk assessments
    • Device & systems inventory automation and mapping tools
    • Unlimited industry-specific internal phishing simulations to train staff
    • Complete 50-state privacy compliance required by your state (CA, CO, CT, DE, IA, IN, MT, OR, TN, TX, UT, VA)
    • Website cookie consent banners and unique consumer privacy request portals
    • Annual report to the Board of Directors generated every year
    • Compliance Guarantee

      CPR/AED Certification


      • Instruction provided by Certified American Red Cross Instructors.
      • Practical, hands-on training sessions to practice CPR and AED techniques
      • Proper automated external defibrillator (AEDs) instruction and operation
      • American Red Cross exam and certification
      • Access to study materials, manuals, and resources for continued education and reference.
      • Available for organizations and groups, allowing for tailored training sessions.

      HR Fundamentals


      • Customized policy builder with real-time updates
      • E-sign functionality for required employee policies 
      • Online HR training with employee completion tracking
      • State-specific policies and training
      • Employee management tool
      • Training and policies include Workplace Violence, Active Shooter, IT and Electronic Device Use, Biometric Data Privacy, Sexual Harassment, and more 
      • HR Fundamentals access is included with any other ComplyAuto product

        Encrypted Messaging


        • Encrypt SMS text and email messaging among staff, clients, and customers when sending and receiving files
        • Track usage and detect violations in real-time
        • Advanced security features include auto-deletion of files, Multi-Factor Authentication protection, IP safelisting, and domain blocklisting
        • Supports compliance with various state and federal regulations and recognized industry standards: GLBA, HIPAA, SOC 2, ISO 27001, NIST, CIS Controls, SEC

          Safety Compliance Suite


          • Concierge on-site onboarding 
          • On-demand safety walkthroughs conducted by experienced EHS Pros at various intervals – once, twice, or four times per year
          • Comprehensive Online Training Library and employee progress tracking
          • Automated 50-State Legal Injury & Illness Reporting
          • Policy Builders with Automatic Updates
          • Simplified SDS Creation and Management
          • Guided risk mitigation
          • Signage builder & tracking
          • Efficient equipment inspections with QR Codes
          • Tier 1 Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan 
          • Automated Tier 2 environmental reporting for all 50 states 
          • Unlimited one-on-one support from our dedicated team
          • Workplace Violence and Active Shooter Policy and Training
          • Unlimited one-on-one support from our dedicated team
          • Automated Tier II environmental reporting for all 50 states.

            EduTech Course 3

            Program to Fulfill AG Disciplinary Order - $299/student

            The California AG routinely penalizes facilities that violate these laws and requires them to perform specific remedies while on probation. One of these remedies requires the ARD to take a course that outlines the laws and regulations of the Automotive Repair Act. This program fulfills the requirement.


            • Comprehensive online course about the Automotive Repair Act

            • Access to training materials anytime (24/7/365)

            • Comprehensive companion manual to the training material

            • Quizzes and final exam to track engagement and learning ability

            • Certificate generated upon completion

            EduTech Course 2

            Remedial Training and Attorney General Disciplinary Order - $299/student

            The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) has allowed violating automotive repair dealers to take a remedial training program in lieu of having their information posted on a public website. Additionally, automotive repair dealers are required to take a training course as part of the California Attorney General’s disciplinary order. 

            This course fulfills both of these requirements.

            Created by California attorneys with over 35 years of combined experience in the automotive repair industry, this course is the only course on the market that is taught by instructors who are certified by the BAR.


            • Comprehensive online course about the Automotive Repair Act
            • Instruction by providers certified by the BAR
            • Access to training materials anytime (24/7/365)
            • Comprehensive manual that is a companion to the course
            • Quizzes and final exam to track student engagement and information retention
            • Certificate generated upon completion
            • Automated notification to the Bureau of Automotive Repair, if applicable


            EduTech Course 1

            Automotive Repair Act Certification Training - $49/month per rooftop

            With new regulations giving the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) more authority to find violations and enforce citations upon repair facilities, it is now more important than ever to make sure your staff is knowledgeable about the Automotive Repair Act. Protect your repair facility from BAR scrutiny by enrolling into EduTech’s Automotive Repair Act Certification Training. This is the only training in California that is approved by BAR. 

            “Evidence of voluntary participation in retraining [of]…employees” as a mitigating factor. – Guidelines for Disciplinary Orders and Terms of Probation, BAR

            BAR has allowed retraining to be a “factor in mitigation” when investigating a repair facility. Therefore, as a preventative measure, it is strongly recommended that all technicians and service writers enroll into this course to show the BAR that you acknowledge and understand these rules before any investigation ever occurs. 

            All students enrolled in this product will be eligible for our “EduTech Guarantee” which financially protects repair facilities from enforcement by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. For more information, please visit our Terms of Service.


            • Online training course about the Automotive Repair Act
            • Only training course that is approved by BAR
            • Access to training materials anytime (24/7/365)
            • Quizzes and final exam to track student engagement and information retention
            • Certificate generated upon completion


            • Lower risk of BAR scrutiny by standardizing correct practices
            • Increased customer satisfaction
            • Establishes good faith efforts and may avoid BAR citation and fine
            • Professional development for service writers and technicians
            • Eligibility for the EduTech Guarantee

            Students enrolled in this product will also have complimentary access to HR training materials and policy builders. Topics include:

            • Sexual harassment (supervisory and non-supervisory)
            • Active shooter
            • Workplace violence
            • Social media use
            • Biometric data (timekeeper or key lockbox)

            F&I Compliance Suite

              • Precise Deal Jacket Audits to identify and address real-world F&I compliance issues accurately.
              • Focused Compliance on specific F&I compliance concerns such as Fair Lending Compliance Solutions, California Litigation, Vehicle Safety Recalls, Used Vehicle History, FTC Buyers Guide & Federal Warranty Disclosures, 
              • Automated EZ Cash Reporting & Anti-Money Laundering with IRS Reporting 
              • Spot Delivery & Unwind Management
              • Real-Time Issue Identification Quickly detect compliance gaps and issues, enabling swift corrective action and risk mitigation.
              • Online F&I Compliance Training 
              • Compliance Guarantee

                Device & Email Security


                The combined features create a dynamic defense system that adapts to evolving cybersecurity threats and secures the organization's digital ecosystem.

                • Continuous threat detection and response powered by Coro:
                  • EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) 
                  • MDR (Managed Detection and Response) 
                  • 24/7 Security Operations Center team
                  • Swift response and alert to potential security breaches
                • Enhanced authentication and access control via Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) powered by Duo Security™
                • Advanced email security to shield e-threats such as phishing, malware, spam, and scams – integrates with Google Workspace & Microsoft Office 365.
                • Data governance and Data Loss Prevention (DLP)  detect and manage employee data-sharing practices. 
                • Device-level encryption for Windows and macOS
                • Public & unencrypted wifi blocking
                • Next-gen antivirus
                • Automated password policy and session locking enforcement