Surface treatment using organic solvents BREF

The Best Available Technique (BAT) reference document (BREF) for the surface treatment using organic solvents, STS BREF in short, underwent a review process. The first STS BREF dated back from August 2007.

A BREF is the vehicle through which best available techniques (BAT) and emerging techniques are determined in a transparent manner, based on sound techno-economic information

The key element of a BREF (BAT conclusions) are adopted through committee procedure and are the reference for setting permit conditions to installations covered by the Industrial Emission Directive.

The BREFs inform the relevant decision makers about what may be technically and economically available to industry in order to improve their environmental performance and consequently improve the whole environment.

The STS BREF addresses installations for the surface treatment of substances, objects or products using organic solvents, in particular for dressing, printing, coating, degreasing, waterproofing, sizing, painting, cleaning or impregnating. The activities addressed are:

  • printing (by heatset web offset, flexography and packaging gravure, publication gravure)
  • painting and other coating activities (winding wires, cars, trucks, buses, trains, agricultural and construction equipment, ships and yachts, aircraft, wood and mirrors, furniture, metal coil, metal packaging, and other metal and plastic goods)
  • waterproofing (by painting and wood preservation)
  • adhesive application (in the manufacture of abrasives and adhesive tapes)
  • cleaning and degreasing in conjunction with other surface treatment activities
  • impregnation for the preservation of wood.

The final Technical Working Group took place in December 2018 and the article 13 Forum discussed the STS BREF in October 2019.

In its 16th meeting of the Industrial Emissions Directive Article 75 Committee on 20 March 2020, the EU Commission will introduce the Implementing Decision establishing BAT conclusions under the IED, the Industrial Emissions Directive 2010/75/EU for surface treatment using organic solvents including preservation of wood and wood products with chemicals (STS) and the Committee is formally asked for its opinion in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 75(2) of the IED.

Assuming approval, the BAT document will be published in the official journal a few months later (all BREFs: and Member States have four years after the date of publication to enforce it.