- Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Compliance and Technical Assistance Program

CTAP > Degreasing Operations Degreasing Operations

Compliance and Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) staff are available to provide confidential phone and on-site assistance giving an overall assessment of the facility’s compliance with environmental regulations including degreasing operations. CTAP can assist with general or specific questions and concerns as well as to assist in understanding applicable environmental regulations.

Solvent degreasing is the physical process of using organic solvents to remove grease, fats, oils, wax, or soil from various metal, glass, or plastic items. It is essential to many industrial processes, as a prelude to surface finishing or to protect sensitive components within an operation.

Effective February 27, 2013, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) revised 326 IAC 8-3, Organic Solvent Degreasing Operations to reduce emissions from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as a result of cold cleaner, open top vapor, and conveyorized degreasing operations. Degreasing equipment can range in size from bench-top units to industrial-sized cold cleaners. VOCs evaporating from organic solvent degreasing operations contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and related public health problems.

Facilities should review Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) of the organic solvents used in their degreasing operations, and determine whether or not the solvents contain hazardous chemical compounds.

When using organic solvents containing hazardous chemical compounds in a degreasing operation, a facility is required to track the amount of spent product accumulated each month and dispose of it as hazardous waste.

If a facility determines the organic solvent it uses contains hazardous chemical compounds, the facility may want to evaluate replacing the solvents with non-hazardous versions. The following are some of the common, hazardous chemical compounds found within spent halogenated and non-halogenated organic solvents used in degreasing operations:

  • 1,1,1 Trichloroethane
  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Chlorinated Fluorocarbons
  • Isobutanol
  • Low flash point mineral spirits
  • Methanol
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Methyl Ethyl Kentone
  • Methyl Isobutyl Ketone
  • Ortho-Dichlorobenzene
  • Tetrachloroethylene
  • Toluene
  • Trichlorofluoromethane
  • Xylene

Limitations on Solvents Used in Cold Cleaner Degreasers

A “cold cleaner degreaser” is defined as a tank containing organic solvent at a temperature below the boiling point of the solvent used to spray, brush, flush, or immerse an article for the purpose of cleaning or degreasing the article. Wipe cleaning activities are not considered cold cleaner degreasers.

Cold cleaner degreasers are very prevalent and can be found within many types of businesses from a small specialized shop to a large manufacturing operation. Cold cleaners utilized for maintenance purposes are usually small, more numerous, and generally use petroleum solvents such as mineral spirits. They are often times overlooked and not thought of as being regulated.

The limitation is, solvents used shall not have a VOC composite partial vapor pressure exceeding one (1) millimeter of mercury (nineteen-thousandths (0.019) pound per square inch) measured at twenty (20) degrees Celsius (sixty-eight (68) degrees Fahrenheit). This limit is currently in effect for Clark, Floyd, Lake and Porter counties, and takes effect state-wide beginning January 1, 2015.

Halogenated Volatile Organic Compounds

As of December 1997, degreasing operations utilizing chlorinated solvents in a container with a capacity greater than two (2) gallons or a solvent having a chlorinated content of five percent (5%) or more must follow the applicable regulations under the federal National Emission Standard for Halogenated Solvent Cleaning, 40 CFR 63, Subpart T and 326 IAC 20-6, Halogenated Solvent Cleaning. Subpart T requires degreasing operations to install equipment and implement standardized work practices to reduce emissions from the following chlorinated solvents.

  • Chlorobenzene, including Monochlorobenzene and Phenyl Chloride
  • Trichloroethylene, including Trichloroethene and Ethinyl Trichloride
  • Chlorofluorocarbons
  • Methylene Chloride, including Dichloromethane and Methylene Dichloride
  • Tetrachloroethylene, including Perchloroethylene and Ethylene Tetrachloride
  • 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, including Methyl Chloroform and Chloroethene

IDEM Resources

Additional Resources