The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is drafting a guide that may change how local EPA districts issue permit exemptions on compression and injection molding machines. The state agency's Air Pollution Control department drafted the guide after it discovered that its 13 field offices were inconsistent in their interpretations of two Ohio rules that exempt certain molders from obtaining installation and operation permits for their molding machines. Those permits require molders to report emission volumes for certain pollutants, such as styrene.
EPA environmental specialist Alan Lloyd said he did not know whether the discrepancies were widespread, or how many molders the new interpretation may affect.
The agency became aware of problems when its Northeast field office requested clarification of parts of two Ohio Administrative Codes that cover the plastics processing equipment, he said.
If compression and injection presses do not require an outside source of heat to melt plastic, and do not use organic compounds as mold-release agents, they are covered by the exemption, according to Engineering Draft No. 67, which Lloyd wrote.
``There's a lot of people out there who did have their presses permitted,'' said Christine McPhee in EPA's Northeast district office. ``Some people did not.''
She said she thought the reinterpreted rule mainly would affect operations that process thermosets through compression and injection molding.
Molded Fiber Glass Co., an Ashtabula compression molder of fiberglass-reinforced polystyrene auto parts, said the Northeast office mistakenly had exempted three compression presses it purchased after 1994.
But the rest of the firm's 35 presses are permitted, said MFG environmental engineer Christine Gammon.
Though the guide is creating some controversy, both McPhee and Lloyd emphasized that rule itself is not being changed.
Akron, Ohio-based Plastics Processors Association of Ohio is holding a meeting in Columbus later this month to discuss the draft.
Chris Chrisman, head of PPA, said his group is afraid that the reinterpreted rule will require all injection and compression molders to obtain permits for their machines, a process that Lloyd says can take more than six months.