Refrigerant rule begins Jan. 1, 2011

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Nov. 10, 2010

A California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) regulation aimed at stopping refrigerant leaks and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goes into effect January 1, 2011. Owners and operators of non-residential refrigeration systems that use more than 50 pounds of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants must comply.

High-GWP refrigerants include chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and hydrofluorocarbons. These compounds can be thousands of times more capable than carbon dioxide at trapping heat from the sun. Facilities typically affected by the new rule include food and beverage processors, cold-storage warehouses, and those using industrial-process cooling.

Refrigeration systems that use ammonia, carbon dioxide or other non-high GWP refrigerants are not subject to the rule.

Beginning January 1, 2011, facility owners and operators must conduct leak detection, monitoring and recordkeeping. Servicing must follow required service practices such as using U.S. EPA-certified technicians, repairing leaks prior to recharging, and properly evacuating cylinders before disposal. Distributors, wholesalers, and re-claimers must begin to follow prohibitions such as selling high-GWP refrigerants only to certified technicians or their employers.

On January 1, 2012, facilities with systems with greater than or equal to 2,000 lbs. of high-GWP refrigerant must register with CARB, submit an annual report, and pay annual fees. Distributors, wholesalers, and re-claimers must report annually.

On January 1, 2014, facilities with systems with greater than or equal to 200 lbs. but less than 2,000 lbs. of high-GWP refrigerant must register, submit an annual report, and pay annual fees.

On January 1, 2016, facilities with systems with greater than 50 lbs. but less than 200 lbs. of high-GWP refrigerant must register.

More details can be found at www.arb.ca.gov/cc/reftrack/reftrack.htm.

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