If your business is a car care or auto body shop, you probably received a notice last week from the state Department of Environmental Quality about compliance with an Environmental Protection Agency rule. The EPA says such businesses present environmental concerns and may be inappropriately using materials that expose workers to toxic solvents.
The agency came up with The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Area Sources. One of the rules requires that all spray painting be done in a spray booth, with special spray guns and techniques to reduce overspray, and other measures to prevent the release of any solvent mist.
Compliance was due by January 2011, but states had to decide how to implement the rule. The state DEQ has enforcement responsibility.
Shops that are part of a national chain likely are in compliance as part of corporate policy, but the DEQ is concerned the state's smaller shops may not be aware of the rules.
DEQ environmental programs manager Dianne Wilkins said small auto operations are most in need of compliance assistance — which is free, by the way — because many are family operations, and the health and safety implications could be far-reaching.
The rule has application to any facility that does stripping and painting. Once the agency decides the compliance period is over, it'll likely determine enforcement action for violators.
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