EPA’s Proposed Explanation of Who is a HFC “Fire Suppressant Recycler”

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in the November 3 Federal Register (2022-23269.pdf (govinfo.gov)).The NPRM covers changes and clarifications to its regulations on HFC contained in 40 CFR 84. Within the NPRM the following footnote provides EPA’s an explanation of the term “fire suppressant recycler.”

Footnote 48 Page 66394 (Page 23 in the PDF document): 

Generally, an entity that collects used HFC fire suppressants and directly resells those recovered HFCs—with or without any additional reprocessing including testing for purity—to another person for reuse as a fire suppressant would qualify as a fire suppressant recycler (also referred to as a ‘‘recycler for fire suppression’’ in 40 CFR part 84, subpart A).

A person that recovers and aggregates used HFC fire suppressants for distribution to another entity for reprocessing before being sold for reuse as a fire suppressant would not be a fire suppressant recycler. 

Reselling HFC fire suppressants that have already been recovered and subsequently reprocessed by another person would not be a fire suppressant recycler. 

In effect, a fire suppressant recycler is the first entity to reintroduce recovered HFC fire suppressants into the market use as fire suppressant.

EPA requests comment on whether existing interpretations and guidance provide sufficient clarity on this issue or whether EPA should codify this explanation to provide a regulatory definition of fire suppressant recyclers.

Also included in the NPRM are the following proposals:

Testing of recycled fire suppressants must be done in accordance with Appendix A to 40 CFR Part 82 or EPA Method 18 in Appendix A– 6 to 40 CFR Part 60 for Sampling and Testing, dependent on the substance being tested.  (Page 66392)

EPA is proposing to define ‘‘laboratory testing’’ as the use of the sampling and testing methodology prescribed by a laboratory that is accredited to ISO 17025. (Page 66395)

Specifically, EPA is proposing to add a recordkeeping provision at 40 CFR 84.31(j)(3)(ii) and 84.31(k) requiring that recyclers for fire suppression and repackagers maintain dated records of batch tests of regulated substances packaged for sale or distribution, including information on instrument calibration, sample testing data files, and results summaries of both sample test results and quality control test results that are in a form suitable and readily available for review. (Page 66394)

Any person may provide comments to the EPA on the NPRM. Comments are due by December 19, 2022. Information on where to submit comments is given on Page 66372 (page 1 in the PDF document) of the Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 212 / Thursday, November 3, 2022 / Proposed Rules.

 FSSA notes that NFPA 2001 and 40 CFR part 84 subpart A currently require agent to be tested for purity before the agent may be resold.  FSSA will comment to EPA that the phrase “including testing for purity” should be deleted from the final definition lest the EPA imply that it is acceptable to sell used HFC fire suppressants without verifying the purity of the substance by test.

This bulletin is a follow-up to FSSA’s March 2022 FAQ’s For HFC Fire Suppressant Agent Recyclers

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