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EPA Self-Audit and Inspection Guide
Organic Finishing of Metals

Table of Contents

Air Quality Regulations

The following is a summary of the Clean Air Act and its amendments, as contained in Title 42, Chapter 85 of the United States Code []. This information is provided as an aide to help understand the requirements of the federal statute, as they pertain to specific industrial or manufacturing operations. This information is not provided nor intended to act as a substitute for legal or other professional services. To review the full text version of the statute, please use the highlighted link.

The Clean Air Act (CAA) (40 CFR Parts 50-99) and its amendments are designed to “protect and enhance the nation's air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of the population.” While this federal clean air legislation has existed for well over two decades, it is the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 that are currently driving profound changes in the way American industries do business. The 1990 Amendments create an entirely new permitting program, tighten requirements for emission controls, encourage pollution prevention, and increase potential civil and criminal liabilities. These Amendments affect large corporate manufacturers and small coating facilities.

The 1990 Amendments represent the latest in a series of federal efforts to regulate the protection of air quality in the U.S. While legislation addressing air pollution has existed since the 1950s, the first major attempt to control air pollution is considered to be the Air Quality Act of 1967, which provided the authority to establish air quality standards. The 1970 Clean Air Act Amendments strengthened previous legislation and laid the foundation for the regulatory scheme of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1977, Congress again added several provisions, including non-attainment requirements for areas not meeting the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).

The primary responsibility for implementing and enforcing the provisions of the Clean Air Act rests with the States. This is accomplished through state implementation plans which must be submitted to the U.S. EPA for review and approval. State programs must be at least as stringent as the federal program, but they can also be more stringent. Because requirements may vary between States, it is important for facility operators to be aware of any state and local requirements which may be slightly different from, or more stringent than, the federal scheme.

Because of the significant amount of current regulatory activity resulting from the 1990 Amendments, the remainder of this document is primarily focused on those provisions.

Key Provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990

Title I: Attaining and Maintaining the National Ambient Air Quality Standards

Title I attempts to bring all areas of the country into attainment with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) (40 CFR Part 50) for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and particulate matter. Different classifications are assigned to different areas based on the extent of non-attainment; areas with the worst air quality are assigned the worst classifications, and therefore have more stringent controls imposed. Title I especially impacts sources of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in ozone non-attainment areas. Such sources include painting and surface coating operations, metal finishing operations, and organic solvent degreasing operations.

To achieve the air quality standards, state implementation plans (SIP) outline what reasonably available control technology (RACT) is required for major polluting sources in the area. Also, New Source Performance Standards (NSPSs) (40 CFR Part 60) are developed based on pollution control technologies currently available to specific industrial sources but also allow the affected industries to create cost-effective emission reduction techniques.

Standards for several specific industries that perform surface coating of metal products have been promulgated. The categories are metal furniture (40 CFR Part 60 Subpart EE), automobile and light duty trucks (40 CFR Part 60 Subpart MM), large appliances (40 CFR Part 60 Subpart SS), coil coating (40 CFR Part 60 Subpart TT), and beverage can manufacturing (40 CFR Part 60 Subpart WW).

Title II: Mobile Sources

Title II covers provisions for mobile sources, such as cars, trucks and buses.

Title III: Air Toxics

Title III substantially expands EPA's regulation of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) (40 CFR Part 61) by increasing the number of listed chemical substances to 189. Title III also instructs the EPA to develop National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for categories of sources (40 CFR Part 63) emitting one or more of the 189 HAPs. The emission standards are established based on maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for each source category. Incentives are provided for voluntary reductions of 90 percent or more in emissions of a HAP (95 percent for HAP that are particulates) before the MACT standard is proposed.

NESHAPs for the aerospace industry (40 CFR Part 63 Subpart GG) and the shipbuilding and ship repair industry (40 CFR Part 63 Subpart II), which include surface coating operations, have been established. Regulations applying to other surface coating operations are scheduled for release in 2000.

Title IV: Acid Deposition Control

Title IV establishes an acid rain control program mainly affecting electric utilities. Title IV also provided that the EPA will develop emission standards to reduce nitrogen oxides from combustion sources.

Title V: Permits

Title V impacts most industrial facilities, including those performing organic finishing. Title V established a new comprehensive State operating permit program (40 CFR Part 70). This program requires new, modified and existing major sources to obtain operating permits. Permit programs are operated by the individual states and permits are subject to review and renewal every five years.

Title VI: Stratospheric Ozone Protection

Title VI expands the federal government's authority to ban ozone-depleting substances (ODSs). A phase-out schedule for Class I substances (chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform) and Class II substances (hydrochlorofluorocarbons or HCFCs) was established. Title VI also mandates that EPA establish a Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program listing acceptable and unacceptable alternatives to restricted or phased-out ODSs. In addition, containers that store Class I and II substances and products that contain Class I substances are required to be properly labeled.

Title VII: Enforcement

Title VII mandates that EPA promulgate rules on enhanced monitoring requirements and submission of compliance certifications. EPA can issue citations and impose civil penalties when permit provisions are exceeded and criminal felony sanctions for intentional or negligent violations.

Title VIII: Miscellaneous Provisions

Title VIII provides for the regulation of air pollution sources located in the outer continental shelf, for research on renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, and for evaluation of further regulations to control visibility impairment of national parks and wilderness areas.

Title IX: Clean Air Research

Title IX initiates various research programs including: air pollution monitoring, analysis, modeling, and inventory research; the study of environmental health effects and ecosystem damage from exposure to air pollution; the study of international air pollution control technologies; clean alternative fuels research; and air pollution prevention and emissions control studies.

Title X: Disadvantaged Business Concerns

Title X requires that at least 10 percent of total federal funds for EPA-funded research pertaining to the 1990 Amendments be made available to disadvantaged business concerns.

Title XI: Clean Air Employment Transition Assistance

Title XI authorizes the Secretary of Labor to provide grants for programs that assist individuals adversely affected by CAA compliance.

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