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EPA Proposes First Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants

On June 2, 2014, EPA proposed CO2 emissions reduction standards for existing EGUs:  40 CFR 60 Subpart UUUU: Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Compliance Times for Electric Utility Generating Units.  A few highlights:

  • EPA’s overall goal is to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector (nationwide) by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030.
  • The rule would apply to boilers, IGCC, and turbines (defined as EGUs).
  • Existing EGUs are those that commenced construction prior to January 8, 2014.
  • EGUs with fossil fuel heat input of 73 MW (250 MMBtu/hr) are covered.
  • Each state air pollution control agency would be required to submit a plan to achieve the proposed CO2 emissions goals, and EPA would be required to review and approve/disapprove the plan.
  • The plan must be submitted by June 30, 2016.  EPA has the authority to implement a Federal plan if the state plan is not approved or submitted.
  • Plan contents include a 10 year interim performance period of 2020 to 2029, as well as a single projection year of 2030.
  • Performance is demonstrated in the terms of rate (lb CO2/MW-hr) or mass (tons CO2).
  • Multi-state plans are allowed.
  • EGU owners and operators must comply with the state plan (or Federal plan).
  • Specific monitoring requirements (e.g., CO2 CEMS) apply to covered EGUs.
  • States must submit annual reports to EPA by July 1 for the previous calendar year, beginning July 1, 2021.

EPA has acknowledged various CO2 reduction measures that may be used, including conversion to natural gas, carbon capture and sequestration, and the use of biomass fuels.  Each state can choose its own menu of options to achieve the goals.

The proposed rule is available here:  http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-05/documents/20140602proposal-cleanpowerplan.pdf

NSPS QA Procedure 3 Issued for COMS

On 05/16/14, U.S. EPA published in the Federal Register a final rule that establishes Procedure 3 under 40 CFR 60 Appendix F:  Quality Assurance Requirements for Continuous Opacity Monitoring Systems (COMS) at Stationary Sources.  This procedure is applicable to sources that use COMS to demonstrate compliance with NSPS opacity limits.  Procedure 3 is intended to establish the minimum QA/QC requirements to verify and maintain an acceptable level of quality of the data produced by COMS.  U.S. EPA based the procedure on COMS manufacturer maintenance recommendations and believes that most facilities already meet these requirements.  The rule is effective on November 12, 2014.

Procedure 3 provides requirements for:

(1) Daily instrument zero and upscale drift checks and status indicators checks;}(2) Quarterly performance audits which include the following assessments (some of which may be relaxed to semiannual depending on the results):
(i) Optical alignment,
(ii) Calibration error, and
(iii) Zero compensation.
(3) Annual zero alignment.

Procedure 3 also requires that a corrective action program be in place to address repair and maintenance of the COMS.

FR Notice:  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-05-16/pdf/2014-11226.pdf

For more information, contact your EPS consultant.

EPA Issues Guidance on Condensable PM Test Results for PSD and NSR

In this guidance, EPA recognizes industry concerns on the high biased results that Method 202 often yields and states that it may revise the method.  In the interim, EPA recommends that permitting agencies and permit applicants deviate from Method 202 – specifically allowing applicants to use field train proof blanks in lieu of field train recovery blanks and to allow blank values as high as 5.1 mg to be used in the calculation of condensable PM.  The current upper limit for field train recovery blanks is 2.0 mg.  EPA states that the guidance may be used for these purposes:

  • PSD and NAA-NSR PM10 and PM2.5 source applicability;
  • PSD air quality analyses;
  • NAA-NSR emissions offset quantification; and
  • PSD and NAA-NSR compliance tests.

EPA also recognizes issues with PM2.5 emission factors in AP-42 and states that it prefers stack testing for PSD and NAA-NSR purposes.  EPA also advises caution when using existing Method 202 condensable data, given the changes in the test method that have occurred over the past few years.  This is a good reminder that when performing PSD applicability determinations for PM10 and PM2.5, especially for larger sources, facilities should closely consider conducting before-and-after stack testing for PM filterable and condensable PM.

Memo:  http://www.epa.gov/Region7/air/nsr/nsrmemos/cpm14.pdf

For more information, contact your EPS consultant.

EPA Proposes Changes to Definition of “Waters of the U.S.”

On March 25, 2014, U.S. EPA issued proposed changes to the “Waters of the United States” definition under the Clean Water Act.  The regulatory changes could have significant on future development.

Proposed Rule:  http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-03/documents/wus_proposed_rule_20140325_prepublication.pdf

Press Release:  http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/3881d73f4d4aaa0b85257359003f5348/ae90dedd9595a02485257ca600557e30

More Changes to the NHSM Rule Proposed by EPA

On March 24, 2014, U.S. EPA issued a proposed amendment to the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials (NHSM) Rule that includes additional materials that will be categorically treated as fuels (and not wastes) when burned for energy recovery.  The following materials are included in the proposed rule:

  • Construction and demolition (C&D) wood processed from C&D debris according to best management practices,
  • Paper recycling residuals, including old corrugated cardboard (OCC) rejects, generated from the recycling of recovered paper and paperboard products and burned on-site by paper recycling mills the boilers of which are designed to burn solid fuel, and
  • Creosote treated railroad ties that are processed and combusted in units designed to burn both biomass and fuel oil.

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EPA to Reconsider Boiler MACT and Boiler Area Source NESHAP

On August 5-6, 2013, EPA issued letters and a court filing indicating that it will reconsider certain portions of the Boiler MACT and the Boiler Area Source NESHAP. EPA received numerous requests to reconsider these rules and has agreed to grant reconsideration.

For the Boiler MACT, EPA has identified these issues for reconsideration:

  • Definitions of startup and shutdown periods and the work practices that apply during such periods;
  • Revised CO limits based on a minimum CO level of 130 ppm; and
  • The use of continuous parameter monitoring systems (CPMS), including the consequences of exceeding the operating parameter.

For the Boiler Area Source NESHAP, EPA has identified these issues for reconsideration:

  • Definition of startup and shutdown periods;
  • Alternative PM limit for new oil-fired boilers burning low-sulfur oil;
  • Establishing a limited-use boiler subcategory with its own set of limits;
  • Eliminating further PM stack testing for boilers demonstrating emissions less than half the respective limit;
  • Eliminating fuel sampling for coal-fired boilers that demonstrate initial compliance with the mercury standard using fuel analysis.

In addition to the issues listed above, EPA has indicated that it intends to clarify several requirements in the rules.

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Georgia EPD Offers Expedited Air Permitting

Georgia EPD is now offering an expedited air permitting program.  Applicants that submit high-quality applications along with the required fee payment to EPD may obtain their permits in shortened timeframes.

 

For example:

 

  • A Synthetic Minor permit/amendment may be obtained in 65 days for a fee of $4,000;
  • A Title V significant modification may be obtained in 122 days for a fee of $6,000; and
  • A PSD or NSR permit may be obtained in 183 days for a fee ranging from $15,000 to $40,000 (depending on the application requirements).

To qualify for the program, a pre-application meeting is required.  If you are interested in using this program for your project, contact your EPS consultant.

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Reminder: Boiler MACT Initial Notifications Due May 31

The initial notifications for existing sources subject to the Boiler MACT are due by May 31, 2013.  EPA promulgated the final amendments to the Boiler MACT (40 CFR 63 Subpart DDDDD) on January 31, 2013.  Initial notifications for existing sources are due within 120 days of this date, or May 31, 2013.  A boiler or process heater is considered existing if construction commenced on or before June 4, 2010.  Facilities with boilers or process heaters that achieved startup after June 4, 2010 but before January 31, 2013 must also submit an initial notification by May 31, 2013.  Facilities with boilers or process heaters that achieve startup on or after January 31, 2013 must submit initial notifications within 15 days of the unit’s startup date.

EPA has recently released a template:  http://www.epa.gov/airtoxics/boiler/imptools/majorinotificationofapplicability.docx.

Operate a Stationary Engine? May 3 RICE Compliance Date Nears…

The RICE NESHAP (40 CFR 63 Subpart ZZZZ) compliance dates for existing sources are approaching, and affected sources should be preparing for compliance.  The RICE NESHAP was promulgated by EPA to control hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE).  In 2010, EPA expanded the applicability of the rule to cover not only new engines (which are required to be certified as achieving EPA-mandated emissions standards) but also existing engines. The 2010 amended NESHAP applies to existing engines located at both major sources and area (minor) sources of HAPs.  Types of engines covered include non-emergency engines used for power generation (including peak shaving), emergency backup power generators, and emergency fire pumps.  Many of these engines are exempt from air quality permitting but are still subject to the RICE NESHAP.

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