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Friday January 18

EPA Publishes Final Auto Refinishing Regulation with Important Equipment and Training Requirements Included

The Automotive Service Association has reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the final rule for paint stripping and miscellaneous surface coating. This regulation enacts national emission standards for area sources engaged in paint stripping and various surface coating operations. Specifically included in the regulation are stricter requirements regarding toxic standards for smaller emitting sources in three industry sectors: paint stripping operations, surface coating that involves paints containing metal hazardous air pollutant (HAP) compounds, and auto body refinishing.

Specifically, the new rule requires existing area sources affected by the rule to implement these standards no later than three years from today’s publication in the Federal Register. Area sources are defined as those that have the potential to emit less than 10 tons per year of a single toxic air pollutant or less than 25 tons per year of any combination of toxic air pollutants. Through compliance, these practices are designed to reduce overall toxic material consumption, which generally result in savings for the facility.

The proposed rule was published Sept. 17, 2007. The ASA submitted comments, generally supporting the automotive refinishing regulation.

Specific changes evident in the final rule include clarification on the sources subject to the rule and distinguishing between motor vehicles and mobile equipment surface coating. The final rule also clarifies that these standards do not apply to paint stripping and surface coating performed by individuals as part of a hobby, or for maintenance of their personal vehicles, possessions and property, or when these activities are performed for others without compensation. For motor vehicle and mobile equipment surface coating, all sources and individuals that spray more than two motor vehicles or pieces of mobile equipment per year are subject to the requirements in the final rule.

In the data-gathering stage, ASA urged the EPA to consider training qualifications, equipment requirements, and enforcement as three critical components of the regulation. ASA believes this final rule adequately addresses these elements.

The regulation is a result of the Clean Air Act of 1990, which requires the U.S. EPA to identify sources that emit one or more of the 188 listed toxic air pollutants. The air toxics involved in these source categories include MeCl, and metal compounds containing cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese and nickel.

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