On July 31, the American Coatings Association submitted comments to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, on its proposed rule for architectural and industrial maintenance, a.k.a. AIM, coatings’ volatile organic compound content, ACA reports. In June, Utah proposed adopting the Northeast Ozone Transport Commission’s so-called “Phase II” model rule. Of note, the rule applies only to seven counties in Utah, carries a three-year sell-through period, and proposes a compliance date of Sept. 1, 2014.

Utah DEQ developed the proposed draft AIM rule on the Ozone Transport Commission's, or OTC, Phase II Model AIM rule that was approved by the OTC on June 3, 2010, yet the Phase II rule has yet to be adopted by any of the OTC states. It is believed that New York will likely to be the first OTC state to adopt, possibly in late 2013 or 2014. Since the OTC Phase II rule has yet to be adopted, ACA expects to find problems with the implementation of this rule. In fact, there is a problem with the most restrictive limit provision: as written, conversion varnishes (limit of 725 g/l) that are recommended for application on wood substrates would be subject to the wood coating limit of 275 g/l.

In its comments, ACA asked the state agency to extend the effective date to Jan. 1, 2015, and to make a number of additional modifications. ACA requested that the compliance date be extended to give the industry ample opportunity to reformulate coatings to meet the new limits; change computer systems; communicate changes to retailers, distributors, and users; and update labels, among other administrative requirements.

Because the OTC Phase II model rule has not been adopted by any state yet, manufacturers would need the extended compliance time in order to make formulation changes. ACA also asked the Utah DEQ to make a number of other changes and clarifications, which include amending the sell-through language, fixing the VOC definitions and calculations, and correcting other minor typographical errors.

The Utah DEQ expects to adopt the proposed AIM VOC regulations on September 4, 2013.

View the complete release online.