District of Columbia Department of the Environment

09/24/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/24/2021 17:24

Notice of Public Comment Periods – Rule Proposal for Screen Printing Operations


Screen Printing Regulations

The Director of the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE or Department), pursuant to the authority set forth in Sections 5 and 6 of the District of Columbia Air Pollution Control Act of 1984 (the "Act"), effective March 15, 1985 (D.C. Law 5-165; D.C. Official Code § 8-101.05 et seq. (2013 Repl. & 2019 Supp.)); Section 107(4) of the District Department of the Environment Establishment Act of 2005, effective February 15, 2006 (D.C. Law 16-51; D.C. Official Code § 8-151.07(4) (2013 Repl.)); Mayor's Order 2006-61, dated June 14, 2006; and Mayor's Order 2015-191, dated July 23, 2015, hereby gives notice of its intent to adopt the following amendments to Chapter 7 (Air Quality - Volatile Organic Compounds and Hazardous Air Pollutants) of Title 20 (Environment) of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) in no less than thirty (30) days from the date of publication of this notice.

Proposed Regulatory Amendments

The Department is proposing amendments to 20 DCMR Chapter 7 to add a new section regulating screen printing. Additionally, the Department is proposing to add related definitions and abbreviations to 20 DCMR § 799. DOEE is proposing to establish two classes of sources based on whether they have the potential to emit at or above fifteen (15) pounds per day VOCs. For the sources that emit at or above fifteen (15) pounds per day VOCs, this rulemaking establishes emission standards for screen printing operations. Specifically, the rulemaking sets limits for ink, haze removal, and screen reclamation product. The rulemaking also allows for alternative compliance through the installation of a control device that achieves a ninety percent (90%) reduction in VOC emissions for sources that emit at or above fifteen (15) pounds per day VOCs. The rulemaking also puts in place usage, handling, storage, and record keeping requirements for sources regardless of their potential to emit.

Initial Public Comment Period

This rulemaking was published in the D.C. Register for a thirty (30) day public notice and comment on October 16, 2020 (67 DCR 011990). The Department received one (1) set of comments during the public comment period, from the Government Publishing Office ("GPO").

GPO submitted two (2) comments on this rulemaking. The first comment was that the regulation should also have recordkeeping requirements for all facilities, regardless of their VOC emissions, as the Department requires in 20 DCMR § 716 for letterpress and offset printing. The Department agrees with this comment since it finds this change would lead to a rule that is consistent with other rulemakings, which will ease enforcement, and is therefore reproposing this rulemaking to expand the recordkeeping requirements in § 762.1 to facilities with a potential to emit (PTE) of less than fifteen (15) pounds of VOCs per day. The basis of relying on PTE rather than actual emissions can be found in the definition of "emissions unit" in 40 C.F.R. § 70.2 and used in the determination of whether RACT is applicable. The second comment was that the regulation should not specify that the weight of water be subtracted from the cleaning solvents as was stated in Table II. The Department agrees that this is the appropriate way to measure VOCs from solvents and is proposing changes to § 762.3 adopt this recommendation.

Reasonably Available Control Technology

On October 26, 2015, EPA promulgated a revised 8-hour primary and secondary ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). 80 Fed. Reg. 65292 (October 26, 2015). Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), areas designated as nonattainment for the revised ozone NAAQS and states located in the Ozone Transport Region (OTR) are required to submit, for the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), revisions to the relevant state implementation plan (SIP) to ensure that they comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. 42 U.S.C. § 7502(b). The District is a part of the OTR and was designated as being in marginal nonattainment for the 2015 Ozone NAAQS. 83 Fed. Reg. 25776, 25795 (June 4, 2018). Since the District is located within the OTR and is designated as nonattainment it must comply with the Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) requirements.

The requirement to update RACT standards in response to the 2015 ozone NAAQS applies to the two precursor pollutants of ozone, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). As part of this requirement, the District must review its regulations and determine if it is necessary to update the existing RACT standards for stationary source categories under its jurisdiction. Screen printing is only considered a source of VOC emissions and was evaluated in that context.

EPA has defined RACT as "the lowest emission limitation that a particular source is capable of meeting by the application of control technology that is reasonably available considering technological and economic feasibility… In evaluating economic feasibility for RACT determinations, the EPA gives significant weight to economic efficiency and relative cost effectiveness." 83 Fed. Reg.62998, 63007, FN 16 (December 6, 2018).

Through analysis of regulations adopted as RACT by other jurisdictions in the OTR, the Department finds that this regulation constitutes RACT for screen printing sources. The Department received no comments indicating that the proposed requirements would not constitute RACT for screen printing operations. Given that this proposal only expands the rulemaking to cover sources not subject to RACT, the Department also proposes to submit the final rulemaking as an amendment to the District's SIP.


Section 762, Screen Printing, is being added as follows:


762.1 Except as provided in § 762.2, any person who owns or operates screen printing equipment that emits or has the potential to emit, before controls, VOC emissions from all screen printing at the premises of:

  1. Fifteen (15) pounds or more per day shall comply with the requirements of § 762.2 through § 762.12; and
  2. Less than fifteen (15) pounds per day shall comply with the requirements in § 762.7 through § 762.11 and § 762.12.

762.2 If part or all of any printing operation involving VOC emissions is not specifically controlled by the requirements of this section, then the VOC-related emission operation or part of the operation shall be governed by the other requirements of this chapter.

762.3 The VOC content of ink shall not exceed the limits in Table I after December 31, 2020:

Table I. Allowable VOC Content of Ink used in Screen Printing


VOC Regulatory Limit As Applied*


(Pounds per gallon)

(Grams per liter)

Overprint varnish on any substrate



Screen printing on any substrate other than untreated sign paper



Screen printing on untreated sign paper



Specialty inks:

Acid/etch resist ink



Anoprint ink



Conductive ink



Electroluminescent ink



*VOC regulatory limit as applied = Weight of VOC per Volume of Coating (prepared to manufacturer's recommended maximum VOC content, minus water and non-VOC solvents)

762.4 As an alternative to § 762.3, compliance with the requirements of § 762 may be met if a control device is installed and operated pursuant to § 107 of this title that reduces emissions from the screen printing dryer by not less than ninety (90) percent overall.

762.5 The VOC content of any screen reclamation and ink or haze removal product shall not exceed the limits in Table II after December 31, 2020:

Table II. Allowable VOC Content of Screen Reclamation and Ink or Haze Removal Used in Screen Printing


VOC Regulatory Limit As Applied*


(Pounds per gallon)

(Grams per liter)

Haze Removal



Ink Removal



Screen Reclamation



*VOC regulatory limit as applied = Weight of VOC per Volume (prepared to manufacturer's recommended maximum VOC content)

762.6 For § 762.3 and § 762.5:

(a) The VOC content is by weight and applies to the inks covered by § 762.3, excluding water and non-VOC solvents, and solutions covered by § 762.5, including water and non-VOC solvents, used in the printing unit; and

(b) The VOC and percentage water content shall be determined using:

(1) Method 24, "Determination of Volatile Matter Content, Water Content, Density, Volume Solids, and Weight Solids of Surface," as updated; or

(2) Alternative methods for determining compliance if approved by the Department.

762.7 Ink usage in connection with all forms of screen printing shall be minimized to the extent feasible by routing the flat screens, inking cylinders, or use of other techniques.

762.8 All containers holding or conveying VOC-containing materials shall be open only when necessary and openings shall be restricted to the extent feasible.

762.9 The leaking of any solvent or solvent-containing materials from any printing unit or associated equipment shall be prohibited.

762.10 The storage or disposal of any solvent or solvent-containing material, including waste material, in a manner that will cause or allow its evaporation into the atmosphere shall be prohibited.

762.11 To the greatest extent feasible, persons operating printing units and associated equipment shall minimize their use of VOC-containing materials by restricting wasteful usage and by replacing the material with emulsions or other materials.

762.12 Any person, owner, or operator that is:

(a) Subject to § 762.1(a) shall keep records as may be necessary to determine emissions and compliance with the applicable limitation or control requirement as follows:

  1. The records shall document the total monthly consumption of inks, coatings, cleanup materials, and any other materials containing VOC used in conjunction with screen printing;
  2. The records shall document the VOC content of each ink, coating, cleanup material, or any other material containing VOC that is used at the premises; and
  3. The records shall be retained at least three years from when they were originated and shall be made available to the Department on request; or

(b) Subject to § 762.1(b) shall maintain records that clearly demonstrate to the Department that the facility's potential and actual emissions are below fifteen (15) pounds per day of VOCs.

Subsection 799.1, of Section 799, Definitions, is amended by adding the following definitions:

Acid/etch resist ink - a material or compound applied to portions of a product, usually in a pattern, before etching, to protect the covered portions from the action of the chemical solution that removes the surface of the product being etched.

Anoprint ink - a dye or compound that is screen printed on unsealed anodized aluminum before the process of sealing the anodic coating, thus trapping the dye or compound in the anodic coating.

Conductive ink - an ink for the screen printing of electronic circuits or other conductive patterns that permit electric current to flow through the printed line or pattern.

Electroluminescent ink - a transparent conductive coating, phosphor, opaque conductive, or similar compound that is screen printed with the purpose of converting an electrical current directly into light.

Haze removal - the final cleaning stage or process to remove ink residue from a used screen.

Ink removal - removal of excess ink from a used screen.

Screen reclamation - removal of stencil or ghost image from a used screen.

Untreated sign paper - paper used in screen printing to prepare a temporary, light-weight sign or poster such as grocery store signs that are sensitive to water and water-based inks.

All persons desiring to comment on the proposed rulemaking or its inclusion in the Distirct's SIP should file comments in writing not later than thirty (30) days after publication of this notice in the D.C. Register. Comments should be clearly marked "Public Comments: Screen Printing Regulations" and filed with DOEE, Air Quality Division, 1200 First Street, N.E., 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20002, Attention: Joseph Jakuta, or e-mailed to [email protected]. Copies of the above documents may be obtained from DOEE at the same address.