EPA published the final rule, "Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Update to the Refrigerant Management Requirements under the Clean Air Act" in the Federal Register (81 FR 82272), 40 CFR Part 82 Subpart F. Effects of this rule change are far reaching that ALL facilities with an air conditioner, refrigerator, chiller, ice machine, etc. will likely be affected to some degree. The updates to the rule greatly expand the requirements and recordkeeping/reporting requirements for OWNERS. Don't make the assumption that because a contractor takes care of your facility's refrigeration units, that this won't affect you. Ultimately, the responsibility of ensuring compliance falls back to you!
What steps should be taken to ensure your facility is not caught off-guard with compliance obligations as the updates roll out? In short, develop a plan and execute! Updates to the rule could require significant changes to your facility's current refrigerant management practices. For example, this new regulation revision will influence purchasing for new appliances, certification requirements for maintenance technicians, and can trigger recordkeeping and reporting obligations by the owner/operator, even for new refrigerants marketed as "green".
We've developed an example step-by-step plan that could be used to ensure continuous compliance.
Step 1 – Evaluate Existing Refrigerant Management Compliance Plan
As mentioned, the updates to this rule will affect just about everyone. Taking a look at your existing refrigerant management compliance plan (RMCP) now is a must, even if none of your units have been subject in the past or if only contractors service your equipment. Performing a gap analysis on your existing RCMP is a great start. This will identify specific deficiencies in your existing RMCP that will need to change to ensure compliance with the rule updates. It is highly recommended you perform this gap analysis as soon as possible to identify the extent in which these rule updates affect your facility.
Step 2 – Update RMCP and Begin to Implement New Procedures
Since compliance obligations started going into effect on January 1, 2017, it is highly recommended that facilities start implementing updated RMCPs as soon as possible. The sooner a new plan is in place, the sooner you can make strategic decisions, avoid purchasing mistakes, and mitigate the risk of noncompliance.
Step 3 – Audit Updated RMCP Performance
As a final step towards developing robust compliance programs, after implementing any RMCP revisions, Trinity suggests auditing your facility's RMCP implementation. This will provide final assurance that your facility's RMCP is bulletproof and that your facility is adequately implementing the appropriate procedures.
How Trinity Can Help
Trinity has extensive experience with all aspects of environmental permitting and compliance, but has particular expertise with the EPA's Refrigerant Management Requirements under Title VI of the Clean Air Act and 40 CFR Part 82 Subpart F. Trinity has helped many clients with everything from developing and implementing new RMCPs for their facilities to auditing existing RMCPs and implementation. Because of our extensive experience in this often-overlooked area, we are uniquely positioned to help make sure your facility applies smart approaches to ensure a seamless transition for compliance with expanding air-conditioning and refrigerant regulations. Contact Katie Brubaker for any questions or needs on ODS rule update and requirements.