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Effluent Guidelines

Paint Formulating Effluent Guidelines

EPA promulgated the Paint Formulating Effluent Guidelines and Standards (40 CFR Part 446) in 1975. The regulation covers directHelpdirect dischargerA point source that discharges pollutants to waters of the United States, such as streams, lakes, or oceans. and certain indirectHelpindirect dischargerA facility that discharges pollutants to a publicly owned treatment works (municipal sewage treatment plant). dischargers. The Effluent Guidelines are incorporated into NPDES permits for direct dischargers and permits or other control mechanisms for indirect dischargers (see Pretreatment Program).

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What is the Paint Formulating Industry?

The paint formulating industry produces paints with either an oil base or a water base in batches. Paints are generally made in batches ranging from 400 to 1900 liters (100 to 500 gallons) but some large facilities will make batches up to 23,000 liters (6,000 gallons). Both oil-base and water-base paints are made by mixing and/or grinding of raw materials, followed by tinting and thinning and then packaging and shipment.

Oil-base paints require that tanks be cleaned by flushing the tank with solvent and sometimes also with a concentrated caustic solution. Tanks used to produce water-base paint can be washed with water.

These paint formulating facilities are included within North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) group 325510, Paint and Coating Manufacturing. The NAICS listing is provided as a guide and does not define the coverage of the Paint Formulating category. For precise definitions of coverage, see the Applicability section in 40 CFR Part 446.

Zero Discharge Requirement

The regulation covers facilities producing oil-base paints with solvent-based cleaning operations. These direct dischargers and "new source" indirect dischargers (i.e. facilities that commenced operation after February 26, 1975) must comply with the zero discharge requirement in the regulation. Solvents used to clean the tanks for oil-base paints do not come into contact with water and can be reclaimed by distillation, reused, or incinerated and thus are not discharged.

Rulemaking History

1975 rule

  • Documents:
    • Final Rule (July 28, 1975)
    • Development Document (July 1975)
    • Proposed Rule (Februay 26, 1975)

Additional Information

For additional information regarding Paint Formulating Effluent Guidelines, please contact Phillip Flanders ( or 202-566-8323.

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