WASHINGTON - With some variations, a group of five Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia have finalized stringent new VOC regulations on architectural and industrial maintenance coatings, with a set of VOC limits as low as 100 grams per liter scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1.

The members of the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) imposing VOC limits are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia, with several counties in northern Virginia also joining the group in enacting a VOC rule.

Key VOC limits to be imposed in the Mid-Atlantic region on Jan. 1 include 100 grams per liter (g/L) for flat interior and exterior coatings, 150 g/L for non-flat interior and exterior coatings, 250 g/L for non-flat high-gloss coatings, 340 g/L for industrial maintenance coatings, and 250 g/L for primers and under coaters. A range of VOC limits will go into effect for nearly 50 other categories of coatings. Among the VOC limits viewed as problematic is a 250 g/L standard for clear, semitransparent and opaque stains.

The NPCA is pursuing legal challenges to the new VOC rules in Delaware and New York, with lawsuits that contend the rules present unreasonable technological requirements that could adversely affect coatings performance. A court in Delaware has ruled against the association's challenge, but the NPCA has appealed to the state's Supreme Court, where a decision is pending. The Sherwin-Williams Co. also is pursuing legal challenges to the new VOC rules.

More information on the regulations is available from the NPCA. The association is recommending that companies obtain copies of regulations by each of the states that have enacted rules due to differences in the provisions.