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EPA demanding observance of do's, don'ts of a/c refrigerant recycling

November 22, 2010
With warming weather, so does bloom repair work on automobile air conditioner systems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to remind dealers about complying with the agency's air conditioning refrigerant recycling rule. Motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs) are governed by Section 609of the Clean Air Act. Critical elements of servicing them include requirements  for properly training technicians, including certification by an approved program; the use of approved recover/ recycle equipment; and certification submitted to the EPA. If there is a change of dealership ownership, the equipment's new owner must certify to the EPA within 30 days. Sale of Class I or II refrigerants suitable for use in an MVAC and which is in a container of less than 20 pounds of such refrigerant is prohibited unless the buyer is properly trained and certified as an MVAC technician. All appropriate records establishing compliance-and, more importantly, demonstrating the presence of a welltrained and knowledgeable staff and the use of appropriate equipment- must be maintained on site. The use of substitute refrigerants is governed by the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP), under which the EPA determines whether new substitute refrigerants are acceptable for use as CFC-12 replacements in MVACs, subject to certain use restrictions. Each approved new refrigerant must be used in accordance with specified conditions such as unique fittings and labels. Any EPA decisions regarding acceptability or unacceptability of a substitute for a Class I or Class II substance is published in a Federal Register Notice. For more information and the current list of acceptable substitutes for MVACs, see the EPA Web site, The EPA also maintains a Web site as an information source of assistance for small businesses, index.html "These are neither complex nor difficult requirements, but they are integral for assuring both the EPA and the public at large of the safe handling and management of refrigerants," said John Fogarty, associate director of the EPA's air enforcement division. A surge in EPA enforcement in the past year resulted in penalties to dealers up to $75,000. The NADA developed a publication, "A Dealer Guide to the EPA Mobile Air Conditioning Coolant Recycling Regulation." Order it at 800-252-6232 ext. 2.