This guidance is relevant if your business applies non-metallic coatings to metal surfaces, such as paint, powder coat and industrial coatings.

You can apply coatings in a number of ways including spraying, dipping and brushing. After you apply the coating you can cure, bake or stove your material.

What you must do

Comply with your permit

If you have a permit, licence or registered exemption you must comply with its conditions. Your permit may contain conditions controlling your noise, odour or other air emissions. You can be fined or even sent to prison if you do not comply with conditions.

You must also comply with controls on solvent emissions. For further information, see our guidance on solvent emissions.

Prevent nuisance

Your non-metallic coating activities can cause significant noise and odour emissions.

If your process creates levels of noise or odour that could cause a nuisance or harm the health of the surrounding community, your local council can issue an abatement notice that:

  • requires you to reduce the nuisance
  • bans or restricts the nuisance
  • requires you to carry out work or take other steps to reduce or stop the nuisance.

Anyone who is affected by the nuisance, such as your neighbours, can apply to the court in Northern Ireland or sheriff in Scotland to issue you with an abatement notice.

You can be fined if you do not comply with an abatement notice, and the local council can take steps to stop the nuisance itself and charge you for its costs.

Noise, odour and other nuisances

Comply with your waste responsibilities

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when you manage your waste.

You may need to deal with some of your waste produced by painting and non-metallic coating processes as hazardous/special waste, including:

  • organic solvent paint, containers and thinners
  • some powder coats, eg triglycidyl isocyanurate (TGIC)
  • paint that contains heavy metals, eg lead chromates
  • iwasteisocyanates
  • wet back (water curtain) extraction booths and their effluent
  • air extraction unit filters
  • scrubber blow down liquids.

For further information, see our guidance on hazardous/special waste

Check if you have radioactive sources

If your equipment uses radioactive sources you must have:

  • a certificate of registration or be covered by an exemption order in Northern Ireland
  • an authorisation in Scotland

For example, some spray systems use a radioactive source to eliminate static. For further information, see our guidance on radioactive materials

Check if you need any discharge consents

Do not discharge anything to public sewers, surface waters or ground waters without consulting your regulator. You may need a discharge consent or other authorisation. For more information, see our guidance on discharges to water and sewer

Good practice

Choose your materials and equipment carefully

  • Consider using water-borne or powder coatings in place of solvent-borne coatings. Powder coatings will not emit volatile organic compounds. If you keep your spraying area immaculately clean, you can reuse any overspray. Powder coating does use more energy than solvent-borne coatings at the curing stage.
  • If you apply solvent-borne coatings, use those with high solids content rather than those with low solids content. This will make your process more efficient.
  • Avoid using primers and paints that contain lead.
  • Consider using closed-loop gun-cleaning stations as they will capture thinner or solvent shot through the gun and condense it. You can then reuse the thinner or solvent instead of venting it to the atmosphere. This will reduce your air emissions.

Avoid causing pollution

  • Store your coatings and waste containers in bunded areas to avoid causing water pollution.
  • Use funnels when you decant liquids to reduce the risk of spillages.
  • Cover all lightweight material, such as powders, at your site to prevent it from blowing around and causing a nuisance.
  • Clearly label your waste solvent containers. Do not mix waste oil with waste solvent.

Control hazards at your site

  • Store your flammable liquids separately from oxidising agents, strong acids and alkalines.
  • Ensure you have good airflow through your production and working environment. Monitor this regularly using airflow measurement equipment.

Use your resources efficiently

  • Keep your coating areas clean to reduce rework caused by surface contamination.
  • Replace lids on your coating containers to reduce evaporation.
  • Recover and reuse powder coat where possible.
  • Train your staff to reduce over-spray. Adjust the spray pattern so that it is appropriate for the component you are coating.
  • Use electrostatic spraying techniques as they have lower levels of over-spray.
  • Use high volume, low pressure (HVLP) paint guns to coat more efficiently.
  • Reduce your solvent consumption by wiping excess coating material from spray guns before you clean them. Flush guns with 'dirty' solvent first.
  • Schedule your coating work from light to dark colours to reduce the need for cleaning your equipment between colour changeovers.
  • Use less water by using automated gun washing machines.
  • Mask off empty positions on your jigs to reduce the amount of cleaning required.
  • Inspect surfaces carefully to avoid coating obvious rejects.
  • Drain your coating containers fully before you recover or dispose of them.

SEE ALSO: Metallic coatings

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