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EPA Proposal

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Women in HVACR join HARDI in our goal for industry understanding and Advocacy.

Jon Melchi -  Vice President, Government Affairs & Business Development at HARDI and Charlie McCrudden - of ACCA, share news from DC.

EPA Proposes Changes to 608 Program
October 29, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a proposal to expand and amend the Section 608 program, which governs the handling, use, and sale of ozone depleting (ODS) compounds used as refrigerants. The proposed changes are intended to reduce the amount of refrigerants (ODS and non-ODS) that are knowingly vented or released into the atmosphere, update the current technician’s certification program, and enhance enforcement of violations of the venting prohibition.

These proposed changes would affect the practices and operations of residential and commercial HVACR contractors, distributors, refrigerant reclaimers, and organizations that certify technicians.

The following is a summary of the major changes to the National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program in the proposed rule, which if adopted would become effective in January 2017. 

1. Extending the requirements of the Refrigerant Management Program to cover substitute refrigerants, such as HFCs. Note that some substitutes have already been exempted from the section 608 venting prohibition as provided for under section 608 in previous EPA rules; such substitutes would also be exempted from the requirements under this proposed rule.

2. Require technicians to keep a record of refrigerant recovered during system disposal from systems with a charge size from 5-50 lbs. This would apply to both ODS and non-ODS refrigerants.

3. Lower the leak rate threshold above which owner/operators of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment normally containing 50+ lbs. of refrigerant must repair leaks:

  • Lower from 35 percent to 20 percent for industrial process refrigeration (IPR) and commercial refrigeration equipment.
  • Lower from 15 percent to 10 percent for comfort cooling equipment.

4. Require regular leak inspections or continuous monitoring devices for refrigeration and air conditioning systems as follows:

  • Annual inspection for systems normally containing 50+ lbs. of refrigerant.
  • Quarterly inspections for commercial refrigeration and IPR systems normally containing 500+ lbs. of refrigerant.

5. Prohibit operation of systems normally containing 50+ lbs. of refrigerant that have leaked 75 percent or more of their full charge for two consecutive years.

6. Allow the purchase of cans containing two pounds or less of non-ODS refrigerant for motor vehicle air conditioner (MVAC) servicing without technician certification so long as the small cans have a self-sealing valve to reduce refrigerant releases.

7. Require that certifying organizations publish lists or create online databases of technicians that they certify.

8. The EPA will update the technician certification test bank with more questions on handling substitutes, including flammable substitute refrigerants, and on the impacts of climate change.

Survey of LIFO Usage

As you know, one of our challenges in the last decade has been attempting to quantify LIFO usage, particularly among privately-held and pass-through companies, to counter the all-too-common misperception that LIFO is exclusively a big-oil issue. New and updated data is particularly important right now:  we are aware of at least one think-tank policy organization that is preparing a paper on LIFO and the impact of repeal on the economy. These researchers face the same problem as others in the past:  finding useful data on LIFO usage. If you’re company uses LIFO, please consider completing this survey to help researchers show the true impact of LIFO and consequences of LIFO repeal.

New York Mercury Thermostat Disposal Law

HARDI Members in New York will soon receive correspondence from Thermostat Recycling Corporation. TRC, who is a HARDI Partner in assuring HARDI members are in complete compliance with mercury disposal requirements, is seeking your assistance with the following:

1.     Raising awareness of TRC’s program among your customers;

2.     Ensuring your branch locations are actively collecting mercury thermostats.

New York law sets performance requirements for the program and failure to achieve these requirements gives the New York Department of Environmental Conservation authority to modify the collection program. Modifications could include requiring wholesalers to implement an administratively complex and cumbersome “bounty” program. HARDI members’ support of TRC’s program is essential to avoid complicating what is currently a very easy program to implement.

If you have any questions regarding this matter please contact Mark Tibbetts, TRC’s Executive Director, at 571-447-4312.

News & Notes

Paul Ryan (R-WI) was elected Speaker of the House. Ryan becomes the youngest Speaker in nearly 150 years…Ryan’s promotion to Speaker leaves a vacancy atop the all-important House Ways & Committee, where Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) are vying for the head of the tax writing committee. Brady is the author of legislation which repeals the estate tax, while Tiberi is the author of legislation which would make section 179 expensing permanent and add heating and cooling products to the list of items which can be expensed …Remember PACE financing? Florida and Missouri are taking steps in favor of PACE, while California is feeling the pain of its PACE program…An animated history of federal holidays… A “dishonest” contractor in Georgia was fined $1.3 million…NRDC and environmental groups have petitioned the EPA to end the usage of some HFCs…The 50 richest members of Congress…The only thing that can prevent the Ohio State Buckeyes from winning is a bye week…Despite warnings from the World Health Organization, I refuse to give up bacon…Is Johnny the real hero of the Karate Kid?

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