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Amendments to Refrigerant Containing Equipment Regulations Clean Air Act, Section 608

Posted: May 31 2017

In November 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amended Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. Section 608 applies to refrigerant-containing equipment. The recent amendments were intended to clarify existing requirements and to extend those requirements to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which had previously not been subject to the rules. As of January 1, 2017, refrigerant reclaimers must meet more stringent requirements during the reclamation process and must send annual reports to EPA on the amounts of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and substitute refrigerants reclaimed.

Beginning on January 1, 2018, refrigerant technician certification requirements will be extended to include technicians engaged in service, maintenance, repair or disposal of appliances containing ODS and substitute refrigerants. (The types of certifications available are not changing and currently certified technicians do not need to be re-certified.) Additionally, technicians who dispose of appliances that contain between 5 and 50 pounds of refrigerants must keep detailed records related to refrigerant recovery and appliance disposal.

Beginning on January 1, 2019, allowable leak rates from industrial process refrigeration (IPR) equipment, commercial refrigeration equipment and comfort cooling equipment containing 50 pounds or more of refrigerant will be reduced. Currently, annual leak rates for IPR and commercial refrigeration equipment cannot exceed 35% and annual leak rates for comfort cooling equipment cannot exceed 15%. These maximum annual leak rates will be reduced to 30% for IPR equipment, 20% for commercial refrigeration equipment, and 10% for comfort cooling equipment. Equipment exceeding these leak rates must be repaired within 30 days and then must be verification tested. Periodic leak inspections will be required thereafter until the equipment is shown to be below the leak rate threshold for one year. Owners and operators of equipment that leaks 125% or more of its full charge in one calendar year will be required to report to EPA.

Mabbett has extensive experience developing refrigerant management programs. We are able to assist your facility with compiling a refrigerant equipment inventory, developing and documenting your refrigerant management program, and creating equipment leak rate tracking tools. Please contact Kelly Winson if you would like more information.

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