WASHINGTON — On February 26, 2020, EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler signed the final rule Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revisions to the Refrigerant Management Program’s Extension to Substitutes. This action rescinds the November 18, 2016, extension of the leak repair provisions to appliances using substitute refrigerants, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The existing leak repair requirements and associated recordkeeping and reporting provisions prescribed in EPA’s November 2016, rulemaking for appliances containing substitutes remain in effect until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. At that time, the leak repair provisions only apply to class I and class II ozone-depleting refrigerants, as defined in the regulations. This action does not rescind the applicability of the other 40 CFR Part 82 Subpart F provisions that were extended to certain substitute refrigerants (e.g., HFCs) such as the sales restriction and technician certification requirement, safe disposal requirements, evacuation requirements, reclamation standards, and requirement to use certified recovery equipment. This action does not affect the requirements for appliances containing ozone-depleting refrigerants.
- This rule modifies refrigerant management regulations for substitute refrigerants, such as HFCs. This does not affect the current requirements for ozone-depleting refrigerants and does not affect the Clean Air Act prohibition on intentionally venting or otherwise knowingly releasing ozone-depleting and non-ozone depleting refrigerant into the environment.
- Effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, appliances with 50 or more pounds of substitute refrigerants will no longer be subject to the requirements at 40 CFR 82.157, including:
- Repairing appliances that leak above a certain level and conducting verification tests on repairs;
- Periodically inspecting for leaks;
- Reporting chronically leaking appliances to the EPA;
- Retrofitting or retiring appliances that are not repaired; and
- Maintaining related records.
- The EPA is not rescinding the other refrigerant management provisions that were extended to non-ozone depleting refrigerants, including:
- Anyone purchasing refrigerant for use in a stationary appliance or handling refrigerants (such as air-conditioning and refrigeration service technicians) must be section 608-certified;
- Anyone removing refrigerant from a refrigeration or air-conditioning appliance must evacuate refrigerant to a set level using certified refrigerant recovery equipment before servicing or disposing of the appliance;
- The final disposer (such as scrap recyclers or landfills) of small appliances, like refrigerators and window air conditioners, must ensure and document that refrigerant is recovered; and
- All used refrigerant must be reclaimed to industry purity standards before it can be sold to another appliance owner.
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