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STERC "Hot Topics"

EPA Enforcement of TRI Form R Threshold Determinations for "Manufactured Metal Compounds" in Plating Baths. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently acted to enforce the reporting obligation contained in Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) that applies to surface finishing processes. See: NASF article.

EPA Finalizes Amendments to Chromium NESHAP - The changes lower allowable surface tension levels and emissions. See STERC fact sheet.

Metal Finishers may see new Superfund financial assurance requirements. EPA is developing financial assurance requirements to help ensure that owners and operators of facilities foot the bill for environmental cleanup.

OSHA has issued an Instruction to provide guidelines and establish uniform inspection and compliance procedures for the Chromium PEL. This new directive sets forth OSHA’s policy and guidance for enforcing the hexavalent chromium workplace exposure standard. More ...

Future of Metal Finishing Report
The STERC has published a report entitled Future of Metal Finishing. The technology section is based on the results of a survey of experts from job and captive shops and suppliers/consultants. If you have a stake in the surface finishing industry, this report was written for you.

TSD Facility Directory Launched! Search for and locate hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities using this new tool. Go to the TSD Locator

Hard Chrome Plating Training Course  STERC is publishing a Hard Chrome Plating Training Course this spring. This 168 page text and accompanying video are excellent tools for both new and advanced electroplaters.

Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC). On Nov. 5, 2009 EPA promulgated revisions to the December 2008 amendments. Regulated facilities must develop and implement SPCC Plans that establish procedures and equipment requirements to help prevent oil discharges from reaching navigable waters.

EPA Directive Exempts Popular Cleaning Agent from VOC Status (Jan. 2009). Dimethyl carbonate has solubility and other properties that might make it a replacement for trichloroethylene in solvent cleaning operations.

Initial Notification required by October 29, 2008—Proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Plating and Polishing Operations

EPA Finalizes Amendment to the F019 Hazardous Waste Listing

REACH — Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances is a European Community Regulation (EC 1907/2006) that became effective on June 1, 2007.  It replaces a number of fragmented European directives and regulations within a single system. 

  • EPA Widens Window on Regulatory Process

    EPA is sharing more information about ways the public can get involved in environmental regulation.

    The agency has added new features to one of its most popular Web sites for environmental regulatory information. This site – titled "Laws, Regulations, Guidance and Dockets" - is often the public's first exposure to EPA's regulatory activities. Its user-friendliness has been enhanced with easily accessible ways to search and comment on EPA regulations and significant guidance documents, and to learn how environmental regulations are written. The site also includes new sections for finding regulations and related documents, plus regulatory history, statutory authority, supporting analyses, compliance information, and guidance for implementation. Also, for the first time, searches for regulatory information can be conducted by environmental topics, such as water or air, or by business sectors, such as transportation or construction.

    The new site is easily accessible from EPA's homepage and can be found by choosing "Laws, Regulations, Guidance & Dockets" from the left-hand navigation bar.

    See the new site:

    More information: Dave Ryan, (202) 564-4355 /

  • Future of Metal Finishing Report
    The STERC has published a report entitled Future of Metal Finishing. The technology section is based on the results of a survey of experts from job and captive shops and suppliers/consultants. If you have a stake in the surface finishing industry, this report was written for you.

  • EPA Proposes Changes to TRI Reporting and Requests Comments—Comments must be submitted by January 16, 2008.  

EPA has proposed the following changes to TRI reporting standards:

Provide more specific "basis of estimate'' codes (applies to Form R only.) Facilities may currently select among four codes to indicate how they calculate their release quantities: the use of monitoring data (code M), mass balance calculations (C), emission factors (E), and other approaches (O). The addition of more specific codes in the TRI Reporting Forms and Instructions will allow reporting facilities to provide more detailed information on their basis of estimate. Collecting more specific "basis of estimate'' data will help the TRI Program determine which methods are most often used and/or appropriate for use by particular industries for certain chemicals, as well as when new TRI guidance may be needed. Therefore, EPA will provide a more extensive list of codes for "basis of estimate'' in the TRI Reporting Forms and Instructions, including (M1) and (M2) for continuous and periodic/random monitoring, respectively; and (E1) and (E2) for published and site-specific emission factors, respectively. (Codes (C) and (O) will remain unchanged.) By using these codes, facilities will indicate the principal method used to determine the quantities reported to TRI.

Enhance Public Contact information (applies to Form and Form A.) EPA proposes to add a place on the form where a facility can provide the e-mail address for the "Public Contact'' on the Form R, in addition to the Public Contact name and telephone number which are already on the Form R. This should make it easier to contact the individual identified.

Add boxes for entering revision codes (applies to Form R and Form A.) The TRI Program currently receives many form revisions each year, but does not currently collect information on the reasons for the revisions. EPA proposes to add new revision codes that will help both the public and the TRI Program staff understand why a facility resubmitted a form. In addition, the TRI Program may be able to analyze the revision codes entered by facilities to identify and address recurring reporting issues that facilities may be facing, ultimately reducing errors and saving time for both the Agency and the reporting facilities. Facilities would be able to report up to two codes (listed and defined in the TRI Reporting Forms and Instructions) indicating the main reason(s) that a form is being revised.

Provide a field for withdrawing a form and add boxes for entering withdrawal Codes (applies to Form R and Form A.) Currently, a facility that wishes to withdraw a previously submitted form must submit its request, including the rationale, as a hard copy memorandum to the TRI Data Processing Center. Adding a "Withdrawal'' field and associated code boxes for reasons for withdrawal to Form R will (1) streamline the withdrawal process for facilities, (2) make it easier for EPA to automate the withdrawal process, and (3) improve the Agency's ability to analyze the reasons for withdrawals.

Comments must be submitted on or before January 16, 2008.  Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-TRI-2007-0355, to (1) EPA online using (our preferred method), by e-mail to, or by mail to EPA Docket Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB by mail to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Attention: Desk Officer for EPA, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503.

More Information

Agency Information Collection Activities, Proposed Collections; Toxic Chemical Release Reporting; Request for Comments on Proposed Changes and the Renewal of Form R.  Federal Register: December 17, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 241).  

  • Will the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards apply to your plating shop? Find out here ...

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revised the Halogenated Solvent Cleaning NESHAP in May, 2007. Read more.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to modify the definition of solid waste rule to streamline regulation of hazardous secondary materials. Read More

  • The Hazardous Waste Manifest Has Changed and the Compliance Assistance Platform has prepared several resources that will inform you of the changes.

  • The TRI Burden Reduction Rule expands eligibility for use of the Form A Certification Statement.

  • OSHA Hexavalent Chromium PEL is Finalized. Find out the details at the STERC Cr PEL page.

  • Stormwater regulations are changing and the the changes impact metal finishers. Read our new article, "Stormwater Rules Have Changed," which includes links to many more resources. You also find a state-by-state information tool.



The information contained in this site is provided for your review and convenience. It is not intended to provide legal advice with respect to any federal, state, or local regulation.
You should consult with legal counsel and appropriate authorities before interpreting any regulations or undertaking any specific course of action.

Please note that many of the regulatory discussions on STERC refer to federal regulations. In many cases, states or local governments have promulgated relevant rules and standards
that are different and/or more stringent than the federal regulations. Therefore, to assure full compliance, you should investigate and comply with all applicable federal, state and local regulations.