EPA's Message to Shops: Move Forward on 6H Even Though Compliance Date Has Passed - BodyShop Business
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EPA’s Message to Shops: Move Forward on 6H Even Though Compliance Date Has Passed


Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

At the Collision Industry Conference on March 17, Deborah Craig, EPA Region 2 outreach coordinator, delivered a simple message to those collision repair facilities that have not yet complied with the 6H Rule: "Move forward to comply even though the compliance date has passed."

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Shops needed to file a notification of compliance by Jan.10, 2011. An additional notification to certify this compliance needed to be filed by March 11, 2011. But Craig emphasized to those shops not yet in compliance to not get hung up on the date. At the same time, she advised those shops to make compliance a priority, warning that "the EPA has the authority to commence a civil action to recover penalties up to $37,500 per day per violation."

Craig said her phone has been "ringing off the hook" for the past year from New York and New Jersey (Region 2) collision repairers with compliance questions.


She did say that shops could apply for an exemption under the rule if the products they use contain none of the targeted hazardous air pollutants (chromium, lead, cadmium, manganese, nickel). Some repairers applying for this exemption have submitted volumes of MSDS sheets on the products they use, but Craig said this is unnecessary.

"All you have to document is the name of the paint line you’re using, the specific product and the manufacturer of that product," she said.

Craig said also that there has been a misunderstanding among those who may get an exemption.

"Some people think if they get the exemption approval for spray coating, they don’t have to comply with the methyl chloride paint stripping requirements," said Craig. "Actually they do. There is no exemption for that."


"Also, those that get approved under the exemption think they’re off the hook in terms of any other regulations applying to them," she added. "But no, this is not the case. This exemption approval only covers the EPA Federal 6H Rule or the delegated state’s version of that rule. You still have to comply with all your other Federal rules, state requirements, city requirements and OSHA."

Two issues with the 6H Rule were brought up by repairers in the audience. One concerned the three-wall or four-wall requirement. Craig explained that spray coating an entire vehicle needs to be done in a four-wall enclosure, versus painting a part off the car which would only require three walls.


"That’s not an issue with shops," said one repairer. "The issue concerns the ‘complete roof’ and having the roof go to the curtain rod or whatever the EPA’s interpretation is."

Craig responded that the EPA is aware of that and is looking at it in terms of allowable gaps. She said the EPA is also aware of fire codes and OSHA requirements and how those might potentially line up or not line up with 6H Rule requirements.

The other issue brought up concerned the 3-oz. cup: any application of a primer that’s sprayed through an HVLP spray gun or its equivalent with the capacity of greater than 3 ounces must be performed in either a spraybooth or an approved prep area by a certified painter. The point was that someone could use a 3 oz. cup and refill it over and over to avoid having to conform to the rule.


Another audience member asked, "How are you going to address the mobile painters at dealers painting bumpers off the car with no spraybooths?" Craig said the EPA is also aware of that and is currently examining it.

The 6H Rule, or National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, Subpart HHHHHH, is intended to control emissions from paint stripping and miscellaneous service coating operations.EPA Region 2 Outreach Coordinator Deborah Craig.  

More information:

Contact Deborah Craig, EPA Region 2 outreach coordinator

EPA Compliance Deadline Approaching Quickly for Body Shops

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