New Refrigerant Rules from the EPA

Section 608 of the Clean Air Act: Stationary Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
The EPA has released new rules concerning refrigerants. An update to Section 608 Refrigerant Certification Program and the second was a new rule on the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program has been implemented. Here’s what contractors and your technicians need to do to remain in compliance.
Or, read it all here:
Importance of Protecting the Ozone Layer
The stratospheric ozone layer shields the Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Emissions of certain synthetic chemicals – including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) – that are commonly used as refrigerants, solvents, and insulating foams destroy the ozone layer and have created an “ozone hole” over the South Pole.
In addition, many of these ozone-depleting substances (ODS), as well as their substitutes, are greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The purpose of this fact sheet is to help you understand requirements under the National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program.
National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program
The Clean Air Act (CAA) defines EPA’s responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation’s air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer. Section 608 establishes the National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program.

The purpose of this program is to:

  • Prohibit the release of CFCs, HCFCs, their blends, and substitute refrigerants during service, maintenance and repairs, and at end of life.
  • Reduce the use and emission of CFCs and HCFCs.
  • Maximize the recapture and recycling of CFCs and HCFCs.
  • Ensure the safe disposal of CFCs, HCFCs, and their blends.

Prohibition on Venting
Section 608 prohibits individuals  from intentionally venting ODS refrigerants (including CFCs and HCFCs) and their substitutes (such as HFCs), while maintaining, servicing, repairing, or disposing of airconditioning or refrigeration equipment.

Phaseout of HCFCs
Through the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the U.S. has committed to a collaborative international effort to end use of ozone-depleting
substances. The U.S. phased out CFCs and halons in the mid 1990s. EPA is currently in the process of reducing HCFC production and import.

The schedule to phase out HCFCs follows:
January 1, 2010
Banned production, import, and use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, except for continuing servicing needs of existing equipment, achieving 75% of reduction goal.

January 1, 2015
Ban on production, import, and use of all HCFCs, except for continuing servicing needs of refrigeration equipment, achieving 90% of reduction goal.

January 1, 2020
No production or imports of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, achieving 99.5% of reduction goal.
January 1, 2030 Ban on remaining production and import of HCFCs, resulting in complete HCFC phase out.

EPA performs random inspections, responds to tips, and pursues potential cases against
violators of the Section 608 regulations. EPA is authorized to assess fines of up to $37,500
per day for any violation of these regulations.

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