New York City’s Right to Know Regulations What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

The Community Right to Know Regulation (RTK) was signed into New York City’s ordinances under the Bloomberg Administration in an effort to protect residential tenants, building personnel and emergency responders.

The original legislation goes all the way back to Local Law 26 of 1988. The Community Right-to-Know (RTK) Law, requires the city to effectively regulate the storage, use, and handling of hazardous substances. As part of the law, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) oversees the use and storage of hazardous substances that pose a threat to public health and environment in the city through its Right-to-Know Program. The RTK Program manages the reporting and storage of hazardous substances by requiring businesses and facilities to annually file a report detailing the quantity, location, and chemical nature of every hazardous substance stored within their facilities throughout the five boroughs.

In accordance with this law, every year on March 1st, facilities that store or use potentially hazardous substances throughout New York City’s five boroughs are required to file reports with the city’s DEP documenting hazardous substances on their property.

Who Must File

The Community Right to Know Act is vast in its scope of what and who is regulated. The regulation defines a hazardous substance as “any chemical which is a physical hazard or a health hazard and which is listed on the hazardous substance list or special health hazard list.” The list of chemicals regulated by this regulation is extensive. Chemicals such as percholorethylene and tetracholorethylene, glycol ethers, gas, oil, flammable liquids, hydrogen fluoride, anti-freeze, battery fluid and sulfuric acid, must be reported even if they are only on site for as little as one day.


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