EPA Proposes Changes to Refrigerant Handling
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed changes to refrigerant handling procedures. Known to the industry as Section 608, these rules require technicians to be certified to purchase or handle ozone depleting compounds used as refrigerants, regulate disposal, and impose requirements on certain classes of equipment. This existing program has remained basically unchanged since its inception in 1993. The EPA would like to bring the program up to date by January 2, 2017, revise the list of products affected, and update the test process to be more in line with global industry changes.
Some of the proposed changes include:
- Update the test bank of questions to include listed refrigerant substitutes and their impacts on climate change.
- Expand certification requirements to HFC-type refrigerants – refrigerants previously exempted.
- Require record-keeping for the disposal of systems containing more than five but less than 50 pounds of refrigerant.
- Require three-year record-keeping of all technicians for the quantity and type of refrigerant that was shipped or sold for reclamation or destruction.
- Lower the commercial leak rate threshold for systems greater than fifty pounds of refrigerant from 35 percent annually to 20 percent annually for commercial refrigeration and industrial process refrigeration, and from 15 percent annually to 10 percent annually for comfort cooling.
- Provide enhanced enforcement activity for violations involving venting of refrigerants.
PHCC is monitoring progress on the proposed changes and will keep you up-to-date. Stay tuned!
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