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Answers for Environmental Questions from Auto Body Shops

The TCEQ answers environmental questions from Auto Body Shops

In Texas, you must have an air authorization to paint automobiles. Certain rules also apply to how you manage your waste. This document provides guidance concerning the environmental rules that apply at a small auto body shop. If you still have questions, contact Small Business and Local Government Assistance at 1-800-447-2827.

Why is the state regulating small auto body shops?

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires any facility that emits air contaminants in Texas to obtain the proper air authorization. Auto body shops may use paints and solvents and conduct other activities that emit air contaminants.  There are over 6,000 auto body shops in Texas. While the air pollution from your individual shop may be small, the overall pollution from all 6.000 auto body shops is significant.

Many auto body shops obtain authorization through the air permit by rule (PBR) 106.436. For other types of air authorization, review our Types of New Source Review Authorizations Web page. It is a violation of state law to operate without an authorization.

I think my shop is “Grandfathered.” Do I still need to comply with the PBR?

Yes. The Texas Legislature eliminated “grandfathered” status as an option to avoid getting a permit or complying with a PBR.

Which PBR is right for my shop? 106.433, 106.435, or 106.436?

PBRs are written for distinct industrial activities. PBRs 106.433, 106.435, and 106.436 are all related to surface coating. The majority of auto body shops will qualify for PBR 106.436, which is written for repair and refinishing of motorcycles, passenger cars, light and heavy trucks, and other vehicle body parts, bodies, and cabs. PBR 106.433 is for sites who coat or strip materials other than vehicles. PBR 106.435 is only for sites who restore classic or antique vehicles. “Classic” and “antique” are defined by the Transportation Code, Chapter 504, §504.501 or §504.502.

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Do I have to keep records?

Yes. If you were to receive an environmental investigation, it would be difficult for you to demonstrate compliance without good records. You should keep the following types of data:

      • Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for your paints and solvents,
      • solvent and paint purchase records,
      • logs of your monthly paint and solvent usage, and
      • the amount and types of waste generated at your site.

An investigator will expect you to have records that document your activities for the last 2 years.

What if I cannot comply with all the PBR requirements?

To claim a PBR as your air authorization, you must meet:

      • all of the conditions of the specific PBR you are claiming - such as PBR 106.436,
      • the general requirements of 30 TAC 106.4 , and
      • the record-keeping requirements of 106.8 .

You may change your practices or equipment to meet the requirements of the PBR. If this is not practical for your shop, you will need to obtain another air authorization. For other types of air authorization, review our Types of New Source Review Authorizations Web page.

What happens if I don’t comply with a PBR or have another air authorization?

It is a violation of state law to operate without authorization. The TCEQ has authority to assess penalties of up to $10,000 for each day you are in violation of Texas rules.

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How do I comply with PBR 106.436?

Follow the instructions for filling out the forms and mail them to TCEQ with the appropriate application fee.

If you need help filling out the forms, contact the TCEQ Small Business and Local Government Assistance Program at 1-800-447-2827. Compliance Assistance Specialists are available in your part of the state to help you understand what is required for your shop.

Do I have to have an enclosed paint booth?

If your shop uses two gallons or more of paint and solvents in any week, you must have an enclosed, filtered paint booth or enclosed, filtered spray area.

What can I do to meet the "less than 1/2 pint per hour" limit?

To fit into this smallest category of shop, you must use less than 1/2 pint or less of paint in any one hour of operation. This category was intended to allow shops that only do detail work and small touch-up jobs to operate without registering. Remember, whether you register or not, you should keep sufficient records to document compliance.

Do I have to meet VOC content limits?

If your auto body shop is located in a nonattainment or near-nonattainment county, as defined in 30 TAC 115.10 , there are limits on the VOC content of the paints and coatings you may use. These requirements appear in 30 TAC 115.420-29. PBR 106.436 requires that you comply with all rules of the commission, including meeting the VOC content limits as listed in 30 TAC §115.421 .

Where can I find more information and assistance?

The TCEQ's Small Business and Local Government Assistance Section offers free, confidential help to small businesses and local governments working to comply with state environmental regulations. Call us at 800-447-2827 or visit our Web page at TexasEnviroHelp.org.

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