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Environmental Management Assistance Program

Surface Coating

Many manufacturers, job shops, or service operations have small or large painting or surface coating operations at their facilities. It is important to know that if you have a surface coating operation at your place of business, you may be subject to air quality environmental regulations.

Surface Coating

Surface coating operations typically emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and particulate matter.  These air pollutants are regulated by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  VOCs are contained in paints and solvents and evaporate during the mixing, application and curing of coatings and make up the majority of emissions from a typical spray booth.  Particulate matter is emitted in the paint overspray from the solids content of the coating.  HAPs are toxic air contaminants contained in coatings that are emitted as a gas or a solid.

DEP requires facilities that emit VOCs, HAPs, and/or particulate matter from surface coating operations to obtain air permits which allow the construction and operation of their surface coating equipment. The permit to construct is called a Plan Approval and the permit to operate is called the State Only Operating Permit (SOOP).

Permit exemptions exist for surface coating equipment that meets certain emission criteria.  DEP typically exempts sources of actual uncontrolled VOC emissions less than 2.7 tons per year. However, even if a permit is not required, facilities may still need to meet certain emission limitations, work practice standards and recordkeeping requirements in DEP’s regulations.

Federal regulations written by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may also apply to certain surface coating operations at small businesses. 


EMAP Assistance

If you have a surface coating operation at your facility EMAP can help you understand what requirements apply and how to meet them.

First, you will need to gather some information so we can estimate your emissions:

  • Annual usage data (actual or projected) of the paint, coatings, thinners, cleaners, adhesives and anything else applied to a surface
  • Material safety data sheets (MSDS), product data sheets (PDS), and/or environmental data sheets (EDS) supplied by the manufacturer
  • Information on equipment used such as spray gun transfer efficiency, control device (such as a filter) particulate matter removal efficiency, and exhaust fan flow rates

After emissions are estimated, EMAP can help you find out if a permit is required and assist with the preparation of an RFD or permit application if needed.

(877) ASK-EMAP

Speak to a consultant about your environmental compliance questions.
Jeremy Hancher is the EMAP Program Manager located at the Widener University SBDC.  He holds over 15 years of experience in environmental compliance, environmental policy, and program management.  He is proud to be the team lead of the award-winning EMAP program which provides free and confidential environmental assistance to the Pennsylvania small business community in fulfillment of the requirements of the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act and Section 507 of the federal Clean Air Act.
In 2015, Jeremy was part of the team effort when EMAP was recognized by US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for Outstanding Accomplishments by a State Small Business Environmental Assistance Provider in Providing Technical Environmental Assistance to the Small Business Community. Jeremy holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a certificate from the Wharton School.