Air Quality Inspections Continue in Maryland

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) continues to conduct air quality compliance inspections in our area. Typically, MDE contacts the company by phone notifying them of the agencies intent to conduct an air quality inspection. Then, an email or fax is sent a few days before the visit that includes a checklist and a reminder of the inspection. The actual inspections have been short according to members that have been inspected. Once the inspection is finished, the inspector provides feedback and makes suggestions based on their findings. We are not aware of any citations that have been issued because of the inspections.

Primarily the inspections are intended to bring Permit to Construct records up-to-date. MDE requires that companies that have non-heatset sheetfed offset lithographic printing presses with rollers that are 18” or greater have an air quality permit. Most printing companies can apply for a simplified General Permit to construct if the following criteria are met:

  • Facility has only non-heatset sheetfed offset lithographic printing presses;
  • Facility uses 1,000 gallons or less of fountain solution concentrate per year;
  • Facility does not use any clean-up solvent or fountain solution concentrate containing the following chemicals:*

CAS # Common Names

75-09-2 Methylene chloride or Dichloromethane

64741-41-9 Heavy aliphatic petroleum distillate

29911-28-2 Dipropylene glycol butyl ether

*Refer to updated SDS sheets for all cleaning solvents and fountain solutions to determine whether these chemicals are present

In addition, the inspectors do look at some related items including:

  • the use of alcohol in fountain solution,
  • the storage of VOC waste materials in closed containers,
  • whether lids of VOC containing materials are maintained when the materials are not in use,
  • whether facilities have in writing good operating practices to minimize use of VOC containing materials for persons cleaning printing equipment,

For the first time, emissions from digital presses are included on the inspection checklist. Also requested are plant-wide emissions for the past 2 years. PGAMA has a template for VOC handling procedures and a spreadsheet for calculating plant-wide emissions.

If you receive a notice of inspection, contact Paul Foster at PGAMA for material explaining what to expect and how to prepare. 

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