Answers for 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?
To implement the Texas Clean Air Act, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) adopts rules. One of these rules is Chapter 106 of Title 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC). Chapter 106 requires sites with air emissions to obtain an air permit or qualify for a Permit By Rule (PBR). There are over 6,000 auto body shops in Texas. The air pollution from your individual shop may be small. However, the overall pollution from all the 6,000 auto body shops all over the state is significant.
As a result, the TCEQ developed PBR 106.436 so small auto body shops would have an easy way to comply with the Texas Clean Air Act. If you are already operating, you should comply with a PBR or apply for an air permit as soon as possible. It is a violation of state law to operate without having a permit or complying with a PBR.
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.
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:
- MSDS sheets,
- solvent and paint purchase records,
- monthly paint and solvent usage, and
- amount and type of waste generated.
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 use a PBR as your air authorization, you must meet all the conditions in the PBR. You may change your practices or equipment to meet the requirements of the PBR. If this is not practical for your shop, you may apply for an air permit.
What happens if I don’t comply with a PBR or have a permit?
The TCEQ has authority to assess penalties of up to $10,000 for each day you are in violation of Texas rules.
- How do I comply with PBR 106.436?
Get a copy of the PBR by downloading it from the TCEQ web page at www.texasenvirohelp.org or calling 1-800-447-2827. Review the PBR. Remember, you must comply with all the requirements that apply to your shop, based on the volume of paint and solvent used. If your shop uses more than two gallons of coatings and solvents or more in any week, fill out Form PI-7, a TCEQ Core Data Form (TCEQ-10400), and a 106.436 Checklist (TCEQ-10138). 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?
PBR 106.436 requires that you use coatings that meet the VOC content limits as listed in 30 TAC §115.421 , regardless of your location.
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.