USA: The US EPA is to host a webinar on Tuesday (Nov 2) to explain the new revisions to the Section 608 Refrigerant Management Regulations.

The EPA is updating the safe handling requirements that currently apply to ozone depleting refrigerants and extending them to substitutes like HFCs that were previously exempted from the Section 608 venting prohibition.

The new rules, which come into effect on January 1, lower the leak rate thresholds that trigger the duty to repair refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing 50lb or more of refrigerant. Specifically, the industrial process refrigeration threshold is lowered from 35% to 30%, commercial refrigeration equipment is lowered from 35% to 20% and comfort cooling equipment lowered from 15% to 10%.

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Refrigeration and air conditioning equipment that exceed the threshold leak rate will require quarterly/annual leak inspections or the installation of continuous monitoring devices. It also requires owners/operators to submit reports to EPA if systems containing 50lb or more of refrigerant leak 125% or more of their full charge in one calendar year.

A record will also need to be kept of refrigerant recovered during system disposal from systems with a charge size from 5–50lb.

Sales restrictions are extended to HFCs and other non-exempt substitutes, but small cans (containing 2lb or less) of non-exempt substitutes (primarily R134a) will continue to be available for the  motor vehicle after-market. The EPA says that these small cans will continue to be able to be sold without technician certification so long as the small cans have a self-sealing valve to reduce refrigerant releases.

The EPA webinar explaining the new ruling will be held on November 2 at 2pm EDT. You can register for the event here.