DIAMOND BAR, CA -- The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is seeking to enact very low VOC limits on additional types of architectural coatings in a proposal that could be approved by the district’s governing board as soon as Nov. 5.

The plan also calls for the elimination of the exemption from VOC limits for quart containers of several types of wood finishes.

The South Coast District’s staff recently issued a draft proposal for revisions to the district’s Rule 1113 on architectural and industrial maintenance (AIM) coatings. The rule, already the nation’s most stringent VOC regulation on AIM coatings, would become even more demanding under the proposed revisions, which would become effective on Jan. 1, 2005.

New VOC limits included in the proposal are 275 grams per liter (g/L) for varnishes and sanding sealers, 50 g/L for roof coatings, 100 g/L for stains, 250 g/L for high-solids interior stains, and 50 g/L for waterproofing sealers and waterproofing concrete and masonry sealers.

The draft proposal also calls for the elimination of the quart-container exemption from VOC limits for clear wood finishes, including varnishes, sanding sealers and lacquers, and for pigmented lacquers. The exemptions would be eliminated effective Jan. 1, 2005.

The draft proposal and other information on Rule 1113 can be obtained from the district’s website, located at www.aqmd.gov.

Bob Nelson, NPCA senior director, Environmental Affairs, said the new VOC limits pose a particular hardship for coatings manufacturers because they would come hard on the heels of tough new limits that went into effect just this year. Those recently enacted limits include 250 g/L for roof coatings, stains and waterproofing sealers. And existing VOC limits would be slashed drastically from current requirements for varnishes, sanding sealers, waterproofing sealers, and waterproofing concrete and masonry sealers.

The SCAQMD proposal also includes newly developed VOC limits on a category of products defined as “low-solids coatings.” Those proposed limits include 120 g/L for the category termed low-solids coatings, with 50 g/L limits proposed for low-solids interior stains, low-solids waterproofing sealers, and low-solids waterproofing concrete/masonry sealers.

In the latest in a series of court challenges mounted by the NPCA and coatings companies against the SCAQMD, the NPCA is seeking to void a number of VOC limits enacted previously by the district, with the case scheduled to go to trial later this year. Those limits will send VOC content levels to as low as 100 g/L and 50 g/L for a number of coatings categories in 2006 and 2008.