WASHINGTON - The EPA recently issued the last three proposed rules in a series of regulations affecting hazardous air pollution emissions from various industrial coating application processes.

The regulations, when finalized within the next year, will place new limits on emissions and specify other procedures involving the application of coatings to plastic parts, autos and light-duty trucks, and metal cans.

The rules directly affect coating-application facilities, but will indirectly impact coatings manufacturers as a result of increased use of coatings that contain lower levels of HAPs. Under the rules, coatings applicators can employ the use of lower-HAP coatings, add-on emission-control equipment, or a combination of those approaches to reduce HAP emissions.

Under the EPA's action:

    The deadline for comments on the plastic-parts regulation was Feb. 3, with issuance of a final rule scheduled for late this year. Emission measurements are based on total pounds of HAP emitted per pound of coating solids used. Separate emission limits are proposed for existing and new or reconstructed emission sources, with those limits ranging from 0.16 lb. of HAP per lb. solids (lb./HAP per lb./solids) to 1.34 lb./HAP per lb./solids. Specific emission limits are proposed for TPO substrates; headlamps; assembled on-road vehicles; and other general-use plastic parts and products. The proposed rule can be viewed at www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/plastic/plasticpg.html.

    The deadline for comments on the proposed auto and light-duty truck regulation is Feb. 24, with issuance of a final rule anticipated in early 2004. Proposed emission limits are set for combined coating systems that include primers, topcoats and adhesives, and for individual processes such as application of sound deadeners. Proposed limits vary depending on the type of assembly facility and process involved, and are based on pounds of HAP per gallon of coating solids. The proposed rule can be viewed at www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/auto/autoopg.html.

    A deadline for comments on the proposed metal can regulation was to be set 30 days following publication in the Federal Register, putting the deadline sometime in February. The proposed rule includes a series of emission limits for various coating processes, with the limits based on pounds of HAP per gallon of coating solids. The proposed rule can be viewed at www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/mcan/mcanpg.htm.

Robert Nelson, senior director, Environmental Affairs, for the NPCA, said the NPCA was preparing comments to be submitted to the EPA on the proposed rules. Nelson said coatings manufacturers are concerned as much - or more - with the proposed rules' requirements involving test methods and reporting and record-keeping as they are about the HAP emission limits.

The three newly proposed regulations are the final industrial-coating HAP rules scheduled for adoption by the EPA as a result of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The EPA has issued final rules affecting HAP emissions from the categories of boat manufacturing; metal coil; paper and other web coating; and large appliance. Proposed rules also have been issued but have not been finalized for the categories of metal furniture; wood building products; fabric coating; and miscellaneous metal parts.