If a facility has a release of a refrigerant into the air, are there any regulatory requirements to notify EPA or other government agencies?
Pursuant to EPCRA Section 304, a facility that has a release of an extremely hazardous substance (EHS) or a CERCLA hazardous substance that equals or exceeds the established reportable quantity (RQ) must immediately notify the relevant State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Pursuant to CERCLA Section 103(a), if a facility releases a CERCLA hazardous substance above the specific RQ, the facility must immediately notify the National Response Center. Most refrigerants are not listed as either EPCRA EHSs or CERCLA hazardous substances and therefore would not be subject to the EPCRA or CERCLA release notification regulations; however, facilities should carefully review the lists and ensure that the refrigerant in question is not on either list by name or chemical abstract service (CAS) registry number.
In addition, a release of a refrigerant may be subject to notification requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Therefore, a facility that experiences a release of a refrigerant should review the regulations promulgated pursuant to the CAA to determine any possible regulatory requirements. Additional information about the CAA regulations for releases of ozone depleting substances is available by contacting the Office of Atmospheric Programs (OAP) at 202-343-9140 or at the following URL: