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Revised Section 608 Refrigerant Management Regulations

On November 18, 2016, EPA issued a final rule updating its refrigerant management regulations. While the regulation took effect on January 1, 2017, some provisions had compliance dates of January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019. Amongst other things, that rule extended the refrigerant management requirements to common substitutes like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

As noted in the Administrator's August 10, 2017 letter, EPA is planning to issue a proposed rule to revisit aspects of the 2016 rule's extension of the refrigerant management regulations to substitutes. EPA is currently developing that proposal. The 2016 rule and the compliance dates currently remain in effect.

Key Documents

2016 Rule Summary

This rule makes the following changes to the existing requirements under Section 608.

1) Extends the requirements of the Refrigerant Management Program to cover substitute refrigerants, such as HFCs. Note that EPA has previously exempted some substitutes from the Section 608 venting prohibition through previous rules. Such substitutes are also exempt from the requirements of this rule.

2) Lowers the leak rate thresholds that trigger the duty to repair refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing 50 or more pounds of refrigerant.

  • Lowers from 35% to 30% for industrial process refrigeration (IPR)
  • Lowers from 35% to 20% for commercial refrigeration equipment
  • Lowers from 15% to 10% for comfort cooling equipment

3) Requires quarterly/annual leak inspections or continuous monitoring devices for refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment that have exceeded the threshold leak rate

4) Requires owners/operators to submit reports to EPA if systems containing 50 or more pounds of refrigerant leak 125% or more of their full charge in one calendar year.

5) Extends the sales restriction to HFCs and other non-exempt substitutes, with the exception of  small cans (containing 2 pounds or less) of non-exempt substitutes (e.g., primarily HFC-134a) for motor vehicle air conditioner servicing. These small cans can continue to be sold without technician certification so long as the small cans have a self-sealing valve to reduce refrigerant releases.

6) Requires technicians to keep a record of refrigerant recovered during system disposal from systems with a charge size from 5–50 lbs.

Fact Sheets