Solvent Regulations

The use of certain types of industrial solvents is heavily regulated in the interests of minimising air pollution. It is an offence for any one to undertake either activity without a valid Certificate of Compliance issued by a local authority.

For any person using vehicle spray shops or dry cleaners certificates are issued by Limerick City and County Council in the following format (A4-sized). They must be clearly displayed in a public area of the premises to which they apply.

Spot fines of up to €1,000 and court fines of up to €5,000 apply for breaches of the legislation. If you are aware of a possible breach, please contact the us in confidence.

Current listings of certified installations and a template certificate of compliance is available in the supporting documents below.

Please Note: Certain motor dealers and laundry operators contract out such work and do not use solvents on their premises.
 



Background Legislation

European Directives transposed into Irish law regulate operational procedures in businesses which use solvents or solvent-containing materials.

Such businesses are required to undergo an inspection by an approved assessor at regular intervals and to hold a Certificate of Compliance, issued for a fixed duration, by the relevant local authority.

To view these regulations, please click on the relevant links below.

  • S.I. No. 564/2012 - European Union (Paints, Varnishes, Vehicle Refinishing Products and Activities) Regulations 2012, colloquially known as "The Deco Paints Regulations" - Click here.

     as amended by 

  • S.I. No. 398/2014 - The European Union (Paints, Varnishes, Vehicle Refinishing Products and Activities) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 - Click here.

     and 

  • S.I. No. 348/2016 - The Air Pollution Act (Fixed Payment Notice)(Paints) Regulations 2016 - Click here.
     

These Regulations supersede the previous Decorative Paints Regulations (S.I. No. 199 of 2007).

  • S.I. No. 565/2012 - European Union (Installations and Activities Using Organic Solvents) Regulations 2012, colloquially known as "The Solvents Regulations" - Click here.

     as amended by 

  • S.I. No. 399/2014 - The European Union (Installations and Activities Using Organic Solvents) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 - Click here.

     and

  • S.I. No. 347/2016 - The Air Pollution Act (Fixed Payment Notice) (Solvents) Regulations 2016 - Click here.

These Regulations supersede the previous Solvents Regulations (S.I.  No. 454 of 2002).

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Nature of Business Regulations Apply To

  • Dry cleaning
  • Vehicle coating and vehicle refinishing
  • Coil coating
  • Winding wire coating
  • Other coating including metal, plastic, textile, fabric, film, leather, wood, and paper surfaces
  • Wood impregnation
  • Footwear manufacture
  • Wood and plastic lamination
  • Adhesive coating
  • Rubber conversion
  • Vegetable oil and animal fat extraction and vegetable oil refining activities
  • Manufacturing of pharmaceutical products
  • Manufacturing of coating preparations, varnishes, inks and adhesives
  • Surface cleaning using compounds with risk phrases R45, R46, R49, R60, R61, or R40 and halogenated compounds
  • Other surface cleaning
  • Printing

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Solvent Records

Undertakings must determine if these regulations apply to their specific operations. Among the considerations are the types and amounts of solvents used over a 12 month period. At least 12 consecutive months of solvent purchase records are required accordingly to arrive at this determination. If the relevant thresholds have been exceeded, then an undertaking is required to comply.

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Dry Cleaners

The Solvents Regulations do not provide any exemptions for the dry cleaning sector based on levels of solvents' usage. Therefore, all commercial installations (premises) where dry cleaning activity occurs are legally obliged to register with the relevant local authority and to obtain a Certificate of Compliance.

It is an offence for any dry cleaning installation to operate without a valid Certificate of Compliance, and breaches of the Regulations may incur fines of up to €5,000 on summary conviction in the District Court.

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Approved Assessors' Panels

The revised regulations required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set up panels of Approved Assessors to replace the previous inspection regime. 

To view the listing of EPA-Approved Assessors of compliance with the "Deco Paints Regulations" click here.

To view the listing of EPA-Approved Assessors of compliance with the "Solvents Regulations" click here.

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Role of the Approved Assessor

An installation operator may choose any member from the appropriate Approved Assessors' Panel for inspection purposes and engage them directly to perform the assessment.

The Approved Assessor (AA) will review the activity and produce a report on the level of compliance with the regulations. This report will state if an installation is in general compliance or otherwise and if appropriate, will recommend that the relevant local authority issue a Certificate of Compliance.

The report will also record any incidences of major/minor non-compliance and any relevant observations vis-a-vis the requirements of the regulations.

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Certificate of Compliance

The report must then be submitted to Limerick City and County Council, together with the completed registration form (this will have been supplied to the applicant by the AA with the report) and a fee of €50 in respect of renewals or €70 in respect of a new Certificate of Compliance (including cases where the previous one had lapsed).

On the basis of this documentation, Limerick City and County Council, as appropriate will make a decision on the issue of a Certificate of Compliance for an installation.

Failure to obtain a Certificate of Compliance may result in Limerick City and County Council, as appropriate, instigating enforcement proceedings under the Air Pollution Act 1987.

Local Authorities are now enabled to issue Certificates of Compliance valid for up to three years but this period may be reduced if a local authority has concerns about a specific installation, such as for example, a failure to renew certificates on time.

A copy of a valid Certificate of Compliance must be displayed in a prominent position at the installation to which it applies.

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Annual Self-Assessment Compliance Reports

These reports must be submitted, commencing with a report for the year 2014, from 2015 onwards, regardless of the validity duration of a Certificate of Compliance. Templates for such reports will be issued to Certificate holders in advance. Failure to submit such reports may delay the issue of updated Certificates of Compliance. 

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Penalties and Enforcement

Local Authorities are now enabled to issue fixed penalty notices (“spot fines”) in respect of alleged breaches of these Regulations.

  • €1,000 for placing a product on the market where the volatile organic compound exceeds stipulated limits (“Deco Paints Regulations”).
  • €500 for placing a product on the market with deficient labelling (“Deco Paints Regulations”).
  • €500 for operating an installation without a current certificate of compliance where such a certificate is required (both sets of Regulations).

The recipient of a fixed penalty notice is not legally obliged to pay the fine but if payment is received within 21 days of the date of the notice, then Limerick City and County Council will not instigate legal proceedings against the recipient.

However, if the recipient does not pay the fine, then Limerick City and County Council will prosecute him/her in the District Court.

Where court proceedings have been instigated, the maximum fine for breaches of these Regulations is €5,000, or a term of imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

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Best Practice

For the EPA's Guidance Document on Best Practice for Dry Cleaning Establishments click here.

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List of Current Holders of Certificates of Compliance

Please refer to the document links below. The absence of a particular establishment's details from these listings does not imply automatically a failure to comply with the regulations.

In the event of circumstances or contact details changing, the holder of a Certificate of Compliance should inform Limerick City and County Council so as to ensure that this information is kept up to date.

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