Spray-Painting: When Compliance Counts

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Article first appeared on www.pprc.org

If you own or operate a business that involves paint stripping or surface coating, you may want to check whether or not your business complies with current Area Source rules for hazardous pollutants. Ensuring compliance will not only protect your business from worker health casualties and potential lawsuits, but also will save your business from wastefully spraying profits and pollutants into the air.

EPA Requirements

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “6H” law, part of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Area Sources, aimed to reduce emissions of hazardous heavy metal air pollutants (HAPs) commonly found in automotive paints, primers, and coatings. The law required compliance by 2011. But many small auto-body shops and other spray-painting businesses still operate without proper equipment or technical training.

PPRC Business Assistance

PPRC Business Assistance

Business Assistance

Our Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention (PPRC) and EcoBiz team has worked with some industries that meet part, but not all, of the requirements. And we have worked with others that did not know they were supposed to be in compliance. For the last six years, we have helped businesses realize that compliance does not automatically mean cuts in profits. By offering the Spray Technique Analysis and Research (STAR®) and NESHAP training programs, we have helped dozens of businesses comply with Area Source spray efficiency regulations while saving substantial costs in materials, time, and poor worker health. The positive response to our training sessions suggests that many businesses in our region are not taking advantage of the opportunity to improve the efficiency and safety of their spraying operations.

Case Studies

Recent case studies showed the financial and health benefits of these training programs. For example, the Woodfold Manufacturing Inc., in Forest Grove, OR, banked over $34,000 in annual cost-savings from improved transfer efficiency, and over $44,000 in overall savings per year. PPRC estimates that the 2011 STAR program, which trained 240 individual painters, saved businesses over $ 3,000,000 while reducing 99,500 pounds of air emissions. If your Material Safety Data Sheet shows toxic heavy metals (like Pb, Cd, Ni, Cr, or Mn) then you have two legitimate options. You can work with your paint supplier to procure paint that doesn’t include these metals. Or, you can get a spray-painting efficiency training that satisfies the EPA requirements. We’re confident that the latter option will not only prove less expensive, but will save money while protecting worker and environmental health. Your annual savings in material and health costs will far outweigh the costs of the STAR program.

By Cyrus Philbrick and Ken Grimm of the Pacific Northwest Pollution
Prevention Resource Center***
Ken Grimm, PPRC’s Industry Outreach lead, has completed the IWRC’s Train-the-Trainer course in addition to compiling nearly 20 years of industrial and automotive paint experience. To inquire about training dates and costs, please contact the project manager, Ken Grimm, at (206) 352-2050 or kgrimm@pprc.org