Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Sources of VOCs include vehicle emissions, fuel combustion and domestic solvent usage. Other major sources of VOCs include commercial and industrial activities using organic solvents.
VOCs are air pollutants which can have detrimental effects on human health. They also have harmful environmental effects when they chemically interact with oxides of nitrogen and sunlight to form ground-level ozone.
The Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Organic Solvents Regulations 2002 (S.I. No. 543 of 2002) introduced controls on emissions of VOCs from various sectoral activities ranging from dry cleaning and pharmaceutical manufacture to vehicle respraying.
The Limitation of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds due to the use of Organic Solvents in Certain Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 199 of 2007) introduce immediate provisions to control the VOC content of certain paints, varnishes and vehicle refinishing products which are placed on the market. All products covered by the Regulations must be labelled to indicate volatile organic compound content.
Implications for Vehicle Refinishers
The Irish Decorative Paints Regulations (S.I. 199 of 2007) oblige vehicle refinishers to have a solvent management plan carried out by an Accredited Inspection Contractor (AIC), review their operations and obtain a compliant AIC report. Certificates of approval must be renewed every two years. Additionally, if an operator receives non-compliant materials, they must notify the Agency of this fact and take appropriate steps to minimise the risk to human health and the environment. It is an offence to operate a vehicle refinishing for repair installation without a valid certificate of approval. Other Vehicle Refinisher requirements under this legislation include:
- Immediate notification of the local authority by the Vehicle Refinisher on becoming aware of any breaches of the Regulations and restoration of compliance in the shortest possible time
- Immediate cessation of any operation which is likely to endanger human health or the environment and the immediate notification of the local authority
- Notification of the EPA of receipt of any unauthorised non compliant product
Download the EPA Best Practice Guidelines for Vehicle Refinishing for Repair Installations
Implications for Dry Cleaners
Regulations governing solvent emissions are now in force also have impacted on Dry Cleaners and other operations that use less than 10 tonnes per annum of solvents. Business operations using in excess of 10 tonnes per annum require an Integrated Pollution Prevention & Control (IPPC) licence from the EPA.
Since the deadline of the 31st of October 2007, all dry cleaners must submit a report annually to the Local Authority to obtain a certificate of compliance. The report must be completed by an Accredited Inspection Contractor (AIC), who must be selected from a panel drawn up by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB).
The AIC's annual inspections form the basis of a report to be submitted to the relevant local authority. The inspection and report are to be paid for by the individual business and if the local authority is satisfied the requirements have been met, it will issue a certificate of compliance.
EPA Best Practice Guidelines for Dry Cleaners