New EPA Emissions Standards Mean Imminent Changes for Metal Coatings Manufacturers

April 24, 2023

In February 2023, the EPA released newly revised national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (HAP). These standards outline new required testing and controls for affected sources, adding metal hazardous air pollutant emission standards to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Miscellaneous Coating Manufacturing (MCM).  These new regulations have a short lead time and will require new control technologies and testing in less than 12 months.

What Equipment is affected?

These revisions apply to all equipment used in the manufacturing of coatings made with listed hazardous air pollutants that are metals. Equipment subject to the new regulations include:

  • Process vessels
  • Storage tanks for feedstocks and products
  • Components such as pumps, compressors, agitators, pressure relief devices, sampling connection systems, open-ended valves or lines, valves, connectors, and instrumentation systems
  • Wastewater tanks and transfer racks.

Cleaning operations are also part of an affected source if related to any of the covered equipment including cleaning operations.

What coatings are subject to this new regulation?

The term “coatings” is the limiting factor of the new regulation. As defined, “coatings” applies to paint, ink, or adhesives made from resins, pigments, solvents, and/or other additives when the material is produced by a manufacturing operation where materials are blended, mixed, diluted, or otherwise formulated. See 40 CFR 63 §§ 7985(b), 8105 (defining “coating”).

It’s important to note that the term does not include materials made in processes where a formulation component is “synthesized by chemical reaction or separation activity” and then transferred to another vessel where it is formulated to produce a material used as a coating if the synthesized or separated component is “not stored prior to formulation.”

The best way to evaluate the applicability of any new NESHAP is to review the list of North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes subject to the rulemaking and listed in the preamble. For example, the list includes:

  • NAICS code 325510, Paint and Coating Manufacturing
  • NAICS code 325520, Adhesive and Sealant Manufacturing
  • NAICS code 325910, Ink Manufacturing

The new regulation probably applies if your business involves formulating these products with an affected source.

What do the new standards entail?


EPA Method 5 testing is required for new and existing sources to require the establishment of operating ranges for the control device, and those ranges may become enforceable emission limits. Existing facilities may rely on recent test results, a repeat initial performance test must be performed within five years (and every subsequent five years). New sources must show compliance within 180 days of startup. The NESHAP defines the type of monitoring allowed for covered emissions points, as well.

Facilities are required to continuously comply with the emission monitoring standards during all operations that emit metal HAP. These final amendments do not apply to pigments and other solids that are in paste, slurry, or liquid form.

Control Technology

The most impactful part of the new regulation may be the upgrades plants must perform for raw material application systems. New controls are required when process vessels are being charged with metal HAP-containing solids. By definition, a covered process vessel must hold 250 gallons or more, regardless of how much coatings are actually in-process at any one time. In addition, at new sources, both stationary and portable vessels are subject to controls, while only stationary units are subject to the regulation at existing sources.

Existing sources (constructed before June 7, 2022) may not exceed 0.014 grains per dry standard cubic foot (gr/dscf) while new sources are subject to emissions limits of 0.0079 gr/dscf.


Affected sources are not allowed more than one year to perform initial performance tests and demonstrate compliance. Initial or first performance tests must be conducted before February 22, 2024, unless required to complete periodic performance testing as a facility operating permit renewal requirement under 40 CFR part 70 or 71 and have conducted a test on or before February 22, 2024.” An existing source installing new controls will likely fail to meet this deadline so that immediate action may be required.

I’m affected, what do I need to do?

Time is short to prove compliance.  Here are some quick facts to help you make sure you are prepared for this change:

  1. Assess whether dry solid materials containing metal HAP are added to a covered process vessel. If not, direct personnel not to include dry solids without review and approval by environmental professionals.
  2. If the facility is covered because dry solids are added to the coating manufacturing process, the facility should:
  • Confirm each process vessel has the required control technology, which is operating while the metal HAP-containing dry solids are added to the unit, or submit a construction permit application to add a pollution control device.
  • Perform an EPA-approved performance test on each control device (or provide results of a qualifying past test) Before February 22, 2024.
  • For any process vessel not currently controlled, the facility should install a control device or route emissions to an available control device.
  1. In the event the plant confirms no dry solids are added to metal coating production, document the results of the technology review and be prepared to provide that information to the State or EPA when inspected.

What can I do to stay ahead of this?

We can assist with the necessary testing to help you with your baseline.  Our environmental consultants and air permitting specialists can help with any collected data. We can also help with additional testing depending on the results of initial tests, including installing pollution control equipment and permitting applications.  For more details, please reach out.

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