EPA Offers Auto Body Workshops on Environmental Health and Safety
New Auto Refinishing Rule Highlighted
By Robert L. Redding, Jr.
Workshops have been designed to educate auto body shops about the implementation of new regulations. Existing shops have until Jan. 9, 2011, to comply with new standards;
new shops had to be in compliance by Jan. 9, 2008.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun workshops in several cities to educate auto body repairers about the latest environmental regulations affecting their businesses. These workshops include demonstrations in best management practices and other pollution prevention techniques that are cost efficient and reduce waste.
This effort is part of the EPA’s Collision Repair Campaign. According to the EPA, this is a joint initiative of the EPA and communities to address health threats and drastically reduce auto body emissions across the nation. Shop owners can achieve early compliance with the EPA Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Rule by implementing these voluntary measures. The new paint regulation is a critical piece to this EPA effort.
To complement the new rule, the EPA seeks to:
• Work with 400 shops to institute Best Management Practices
• Create 10 regional partnerships with trade associations, state programs and technical providers
• Initiate 10 community-based projects in neighborhoods
• Create a sustainable campaign that can be transferred to tribes, states, locals, non-governmental organization partners
• Expect up to 90 percent emissions reductions for participating shops
Please note that the new auto refinishing regulation has three important components: training, equipment (i.e., spray booth) and enforcement.
The EPA envisions the following potential benefits from the campaign:
• Decrease solvent use by more than 50 percent
• Decrease air pollution by 70 percent to 90 percent
Economic Benefits for Shop Owners
• Reduction in operating cost by using water-based cleaning system
• Reduced cleanup cost if installing vacuum sanding system
The best practices promoted in the campaign coincide with the requirements of the new auto refinishing regulation. These include:
• HVLP spray guns
• Spray booths
• Vacuum or wet sanding
• Low VOC or water-based paint
• Low VOC solvents
• Closed containers
• Computer paint-mixing system
Two of the first workshops were in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. These programs focused on key chemicals of concern, health impact, best practices, where potential exposures and emissions occur, and the new auto refinishing regulation specifics.
Health and safety management in shops is also part of the program. The EPA team reviews protective equipment, the Respiratory Protection Program and the Hazardous Communication Program.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has hosted the Design for the Environment team at the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) on several occasions. ASA also participated in the rulemaking process for the new refinishing regulation.
As part of the Clean Air Act requirements, the EPA developed a list of air pollutants and area source categories. Auto body shops are one of the categories subject to regulation. These hazardous air pollutants are known or suspected to cause health issues. New shops must have complied by Jan. 9, 2008, or by startup of operations. Existing shops have until Jan. 9, 2011.
ASA has encouraged shop awareness of the new auto refinishing regulation. ASA has a summary of the regulation in its Members Only section at www.ASAshop.org. ASA will continue to work with the EPA to ensure shops have an opportunity to learn about the requirements of the new regulation.
States are now beginning to review the new regulation and determine whether they will take delegation of the regulation and serve as the front line for compliance. To date, Maryland has accepted delegation. One deterrent to states stepping forward on compliance is the lack of federal financial assistance.
ASA will partner with the EPA to educate repairers as to what information is available relative to collision health and safety issues as well as the requirements of the new auto refinishing regulation.
Bob Redding is the Automotive Service Association's Washington, D.C., representative. He is a member of several federal and state advisory committees involved in the automotive industry.
For more information about the legislative activities of ASA, visit www.TakingTheHill.com.
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