3 Things To Know About Environmental Compliance For Auto Body Shops In New York

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If you own an auto body shop in the state of New York, you need to make sure that your shop complies with all the environmental laws in your state. You need to schedule a consultation with an environmental lawyer so that you can walk through how your business is set up and make sure that you are following all the environmental laws in New York. A lawyer can help you document the steps you are taking to follow the environmental laws in your state and can help you complete and submit an Environmental Report Form. Here are a few things that you need to know about Environmental Report Forms or ERP's in New York. 

#1 Most Auto Body Shops Are Required To Submit ERP Forms

The vast majority of auto body shops are required to submit the ERP. By law, all auto body shops that generate hazardous waste have to submit the ERP. Examples of hazardous waste in auto body shops include:

  • used solvents
  • used fluorescent lamps
  • strong chemical cleaners

Additionally, any auto body shop that is subject to New York State air regulations that pertain to the surface coating process under 6 NYCRR Part 228 are required to submit the ERP.

Check with your lawyer to see if you are exempt from this regulation; a small amount of auto body shops are. Auto body shops that are exempt from this regulation use a very small amount of coating and cleaning solvents throughout the year and have to meet a long list of criteria. 

#2 You Will Receive The ERP Form In The Mail

The state of New York will mail you out the official New York State Auto Body Shops Environmental Results Program Packet to you. They send these out to auto body shops on a rolling basis. Once you receive the forms, you are expected to complete them in a timely manner. 

You will have to determine based on the information in the packet if you are required to submit the ERF form. From there, you will have to work through an environmental checklist for your auto body shop and you will also have to evaluate your shop's compliance on your own. 

It is important to be truthful on this form because agents are sent out to randomly inspect auto body shops and make sure that the information they submitted was correct and valid. It's like a health inspection for auto body shops.

You should have your lawyer look over your ERF form before you submit it to make sure that you filled it out correctly. 

#3 You Will Be Given Time To Get In Compliance

If any area of your auto body shop is not in compliance with the regulations set forth in the RTC you will be given time to bring your shop up to compliance. If you voluntarily disclose that you are not in compliance, you will have any penalties for non-compliance reduced or eliminated if you submit a detailed plan for getting in compliance and complete the plan within 180 days. You should have your lawyer look over any plan that you write up. 

Once you are in compliance, you will have to submit a Return-to-Compliance, or RTC form so that your return to compliance can be officially documented.

Do not be shocked when you receive an RTC packet in the mail; all auto body shops receive them and have to complete these forms. Work with an environmental law attorney like Moore Smith Buxton & Turcke-Chartered to complete the form and to create a plan for any areas where you are not in compliance. Your environmental law attorney can help make sure that you do not face any fines or penalties by making sure that you follow all the regulations set out by the state of New York for ERF.