NYMPP: Section 2 - Painting & Fiberglass Repair
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Section 2:
Painting & Fiberglass Repair
- Paint Stripping

Potential Environmental Impacts:

Many paint strippers are solvent-based, and contain chemicals that are dangerous to humans. Some are flammable, and most can cause water and air pollution if not handled properly. Toxic chemicals in paint strippers may include methylene chloride (also called dichloromethane, or DCM), methyl ethyl ketone (or 2-Butanone), acetone, toluene, methanol, N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), or xylene. There are some less environmentally damaging and less hazardous paint strippers available on the market.

Best Management Practices:

Consider alternatives to chemical paint stripping depending on the characteristics of the surface being stripped, the type of paint being removed, and the volume and type of waste produced. Alternatives include scraping, sanding, and/or abrasive blasting. Use a heat gun to remove paint and varnish where appropriate. See the "Scraping and Sanding" (click here) and "Abrasive Blasting" (click here) fact sheets for more information.

If paint strippers must be used, use soy-based or water-based products, which are less hazardous. For more information on alternative paint strippers, click here.

Use only the minimum amount of paint stripper needed for a job.

Prevent evaporation by using tight fitting lids or stoppers. Reducing evaporation protects air quality, saves product and money.

Reduce the chance of spills during transport by storing unused paint stripper where it's used most in the shop. Place the product on an impervious base.

Encourage careful use by informing all workers and operators of the hazardous nature of solvents and the purchasing and recycling costs.

Train employees to use less paint stripper, to properly store new and used paint strippers, to use wise clean-up procedures and prevent leaks and spills. Consider using a pressure wash vacuum system to collect and contain the stripper and paint from the hull, click here.

Regulatory Issues:

You must determine if used paint stripper is hazardous by having the materials tested or by utilizing reliable "knowledge of process" information for the waste (if available) [40 CFR 262.11, click here].

Such information could include testing by haulers, or studies by industry trade groups. For more information on New York hazardous waste testing requirements, click here. If they are hazardous, they must be managed as a hazardous waste. For more information on New York's Hazardous Waste Regulations and storage requirements, click here. If there is a stormwater discharge from your facility and materials associated with paint stripping may come into contact with precipitation, you may have to register for a General Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated with Industrial Activity ("Storm Water General Permit"). For more information on stormwater permitting in New York, click here.