Due to the ozone nonattainment status of the Cincinnati, Ohio area, Ohio EPA has imposed new air regulation requirements for printing operations. Printing operations located in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren Counties will now have to meet the regulations, which became effective at the end of March. The air regulations apply to lithographic, letterpress, flexographic, screen printing, digital, and rotogravure operations located in these counties.

The new regulations will impact many printing operations, including apparel decorators doing screen printing. The extent to which they affect printing operations depends upon two factors, which are the type of printing process used in the operation and the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The requirements for lithographic, letterpress, and flexible packaging operations impact small printing operations and are quite extensive. Under the new rule, any facility that has lithographic or letterpress printing presses that emit more than 3 tons of VOCs per year are now required to meet the limits found in the rule.

These new regulations require printing operations to take several important actions. First, by May 27, 2022, all printing operations with either lithographic and/or letterpress equipment subject to the new rule needed to submit a notification to Ohio EPA indicating that they need to meet the requirements of the new rule. It is critical that all facilities operating this equipment carefully review the rule’s requirements to determine if the applicability threshold of 3 tons of VOCs is met or exceeded. In addition, a certification of compliance must be submitted no later than March 1, 2023, when full compliance with the rule’s requirements must be met.

Covered flexographic, rotogravure, screen, or digital printing presses are not required to submit a notification or certification. However, there are limits on cleaning solvents that can be used at screen printing operations subject to the rule. Digital printing operations are required to meet the limits for parts washers. Any packaging rotogravure printing line or flexographic packaging printing line with potential emissions that are equal to or greater than 25.0 tons per year of VOC before the application of capture and control devices must use low VOC inks and coatings or install a control device to destroy the VOC emissions.

From a broader perspective, many screen printing operations are subject to limits imposed by states on the use of inks and solvents. There is not a federal rule, so the requirements are on a state-by-state basis and not every state has enacted limits for screen printing operations.

To assist its members in understanding the new requirements in Ohio, PRINTING United Alliance developed a toolkit specifically addressing steps that need to be taken. The toolkit contains information on each of the regulations that need to be met and forms that will allow printing operations to meet their notification and certification requirements. Worksheets are also included to help facilities understand their compliance obligations and put in place programs that demonstrate compliance.

The Ohio Air Pollution Control Compliance Kit is a comprehensive publication for printers and is now available as an exclusive free benefit for PRINTING United Alliance members to download.