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Georgia EPD Proposes New Air Permit Fees – UPDATED

Georgia EPD is proposing changes to Air Permit Fees, starting in State Fiscal Year 2019.

UPDATED INFORMATION:

The public hearing on the proposed changes will be held on April 9, 2018.  Written comments are due by April 16, 2018.

The proposed amendments and fee manual are available here:  https://epd.georgia.gov/chapter-391-3-1-air-quality-control

From 2017:

Draft Rules:  https://epd.georgia.gov/air/documents/draft-rules-air-permit-fees

Draft Fee Manual:  https://epd.georgia.gov/air/documents/draft-air-permit-fee-manual

Meeting Announcement:  https://epd.georgia.gov/sites/epd.georgia.gov/files/related_files/document/Announce_PermitFees_Stakeholder_Oct2017.pdf

Highlights:

  • No proposed change to the current annual fees ($37.34 per ton for coal-fired EGUs and $35.50 for all other sources).
  • Beginning March 1, 2019, air permit application fees would be required based on permit type:

Minor Source Permit or Amendment: $250

Synthetic Minor Source Permit or Amendment: $1000

Major Source Permit not PSD or 112(g): $2000

Name / Ownership Change: $250

Permit-by-Rule: $250

Title V 502(b)(10) Permit Amendment: $2000

Title V Minor Modification with Construction: $2000

Title V Minor Modification without Construction: $2000

Title V Significant Modification with Construction: $2000

Title V Significant Modification without Construction: $2000

PSD Permit or 112(g) Permit: $7500

Nonattainment NSR Permit: $7500

  • These application fees do not include the optional expedited permit fee.
  • EPD is hosting a stakeholder meeting on November 13, 2017 to review the proposed changes.

For more information, please contact your EPS consultant.

Georgia EPD Proposes Relaxation of Non-Attainment Area New Source Review Rules

Georgia EPD has proposed amendments to the Georgia Air Quality Rules for the removal of the Non-Attainment Area New Source Review (NAA NSR) Rules that are applicable to the 13-County Atlanta Area. A public hearing will be held at 2:00 PM on Thursday, April 12, 2018, and public comments may be submitted via email (by April 18, 2018).  The rule is scheduled to be voted on by the Board of Natural Resources on May 23, 2018.

Background: The Atlanta Metro Area was classified as a serious nonattainment area for the 1-hour ozone standard in 1991.  EPD promulgated the NAA NSR rule in 1992 to reduce emissions of the precursors to ozone, volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).  Sources in the 13 affected counties with the potential to emit more than 50 tons per year of VOC or NOx were classified as “major sources” and were subject to more stringent permitting.  The major source threshold was reduced to 25 tons per year in 2004 when the area was redesignated to severe nonattainment.  In 2005, the Atlanta Metro Area was designated as in attainment of the 1-hour ozone standard and the standard was revoked; however, anti-backsliding provisions required that NAA NSR rules remain in place.

Proposed Changes: The proposed rule removes subparagraph 391-3-1-.03(8)(c)13, applicable to the 13 counties previously designated as severe nonattainment.  These counties would fall under subparagraph 391-3-1-.03(8)(c)14, which would consist of all 8-hour ozone non-attainment counties. Additionally, five counties previously subject to 391-3-1-.03(8)(c)14 would be moved to 391-3-1-.03(8)(c)15 for electrical generating units in areas contributing to the Atlanta ozone non-attainment area.  The list below summarizes the proposed changes.

13-County Area (Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale)

  • NAA NSR Major Source Threshold (VOC or NOx): Change from 25 tpy to 100 tpy
  • NAA NSR Major Modification Threshold (VOC or NOx): Change from 25 tpy over 5 years to 40 tpy per modification
  • Title V Major Source Threshold (VOC or NOx): Change from 25 tpy to 100 tpy

2 Additional Counties in Ozone NAA (Bartow and Newton)

  • NAA NSR Major Source Threshold (VOC or NOx): Remains at 100 tpy
  • NAA NSR Major Modification Threshold (VOC or NOx): Remains at 40 tpy
  • Title V Major Source Threshold (VOC or NOx): Remains at 100 tpy

4 Additional Impacting Counties (Barrow, Carroll, Hall, Spalding, and Walton):

  • NAA NSR Major Source Threshold (VOC or NOx): Change from 100 tpy to Not Applicable*
  • NAA NSR Major Modification Threshold (VOC or NOx): Change from 40 tpy to Not Applicable*
  • Title V Major Source Threshold (VOC or NOx): Remains at 100 tpy

* Sources containing an electrical generating unit (EGU) are subject to a 100 tpy major source threshold and 40 tpy modification threshold. PSD permitting thresholds will apply in lieu of NAA NSR thresholds for all other sources.

What Does This Mean for You? If the proposed rules are promulgated, sources in the affected counties will have more flexibility in permitting.

Existing facilities in the 13 counties previously classified as severe nonattainment could take higher VOC and NOx permit limits to avoid NAA NSR permitting for modifications and can implement projects that may have previously not been feasible due to the burden of NAA NSR permitting. Existing major source facilities may find relief from the burdensome “25 ton/yr over 5 years” tracking for projects under the amended rules.  Facilities with potential or allowable VOC and NOx emissions between 25 tons per year and 100 tons per year may be able to downgrade from Title V permits to synthetic minor or SIP permits.

Existing facilities in Barrow, Carroll, Hall, Spalding, and Walton counties without electrical generating units would only be subject to Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) thresholds.  Sources with 100 ton per year limits to avoid major source status may be able to increase the limits to 250 tons per year.  PSD permitting is an easier and less time-consuming process than NAA NSR permitting and does not require the purchasing of expensive emissions offsets.

New facilities in the 13-county area could have a 75 ton per year higher potential to emit of VOC and NOx before being subject to NAA NSR permitting – that is an increase of 300%.

How Can We Help? Once the proposed rules are promulgated, if there is a construction project or production increase you would like to implement, or if you simply want to downgrade your permit from a Title V permit to reduce fees and recordkeeping requirements, EPS can help.  Our staff has experience with dozens of industries across the state of Georgia and provide assistance from project conception to implementation.  Please call us at (404) 315-9113 to find out what we can do for you.

More Information:

Making Compliance Plans Effective

Background

Environmental regulations are established to minimize the impact a company and their operations can have on the environment. In many instances, compliance plans are a requirement of a regulation. Examples of compliance plans include Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP), Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plans, and Hazardous Waste Contingency Plans.  Compliance plans usually require that specific actions be taken such as inspections, recordkeeping and reporting, and employee training.

 

Challenge

In many instances, a plan’s effectiveness hinges on the ability of a company to perform the action items required by the regulation and identified within the plan. Herein lies the struggle as many companies fail to meet ALL the requirements of their plans. Depending upon the situation, not following a plan can have a wide variety of consequences such as triggering an agency audit or Notice of Violation and fine, chemical spills, and possibly injuries and lawsuits.

In our experience, many compliance plans are ineffective for the following reasons:

  • The plans are voluminous, complicated, and as a result, difficult to understand.
  • Required action items are not clearly stated.
  • Action items are not assigned to specific personnel and “fall through the cracks.”
  • Companies fail to adequately track performance of action items.

 

Solution

To develop and implement an effective compliance plan, EPS follows the four-step process below:

  1. Plans must be technically accurate, succinct, and written such that they can be readily followed.  Consider your audience. Provide a draft of the plan for their review prior to finalizing the plan.
  2. Explain the plan’s objectives and action items. Answer questions and provide training if necessary.
  3. Assign action items to specific personnel. Many times, it’s not sufficient to only assign a title (Plant Manager, Shop Foreman, etc.) but rather specific names should be assigned to each task for accountability.
  4. Develop a compliance calendar. The compliance calendar should include all action items identified in the plan, schedules and due dates, responsible persons, and location of records.

 

Bridging the gap between simply having a plan and successfully implementing a plan is essential to having a robust environmental program and reducing liability.  For more information on implementing effective plans, please contact your EPS consultant.

 

 

EPA Reverses MACT Once-In-Always-In Policy

On January 25, 2018, EPA issued a guidance memo reversing its long-held policy that a major source of HAP must stay subject to MACT standards, even if it subsequently reduces its HAP emissions to minor (area) source levels (i.e., the “once-in-always-in” policy). Now, EPA is stating that HAP major sources can reduce their emissions to minor source levels and become area sources of HAP at any time – even after the relevant compliance date of a major source MACT standard.  This could enable several facilities to avoid applicability of major source MACT standards.

EPS is evaluating this development for applicability to our clients – identifying where regulatory burden may be eased due to this change in policy.

Who May Benefit from this Action?

If your facility has made HAP emissions reductions to meet a MACT standard or possibly other voluntary reductions and your actual emissions are below the 10 ton/yr individual HAP and 25 ton/yr total HAP major source thresholds, you may be able to apply for Synthetic Minor limits, become an area source, and then no longer be subject to the MACT standard.

This could provide relief from the onerous monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements of the MACT standards.

Also, if the MACT standard is the only reason your facility has a Title V permit, then you could possibly downgrade to a Synthetic Minor permit (or possibly True Minor permit). This would also reduce reporting burden, and in many cases, annual air emissions or air permit fee costs.

If you believe that your facility may be a candidate to benefit from this action, please contact your EPS consultant.

More Information:

Press Release: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/reducing-regulatory-burdens-epa-withdraws-once-always-policy-major-sources-under-clean

Memo: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-01/documents/reclassification_of_major_sources_as_area_sources_under_section_112_of_the_clean_air_act.pdf

EPA Updates to the Refrigerant Management Regulations

EPA has updated the refrigeration management regulations of 40 CFR Part 82 – Section 608, that became effective on January 1, 2017. Previously exempt refrigeration and comfort cooling appliances containing greater than 50 pounds of refrigerant substitutes like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and R-134a are now subject to this regulation. Section 608 of the Clean Air Act deals with the safe handling of refrigerants during the maintenance, repair, or disposal of refrigeration and comfort cooling equipment.

Starting January 1, 2017:

Facilities are required to track equipment containing any type of refrigerant at greater than 50 pounds, including previously-exempt substitute refrigerants (e.g., HFCs, HFOs, PFCs, R-134a).

Only certified technicians can conduct leak inspections and repairs and purchase refrigerants, including substitute refrigerants like HFCs.

Starting January 1, 2018:

Technicians at facilities are required to keep copies of their certificates on-site (until three years after no longer operating as a technician). Certification exams for technicians will be updated to include the revised regulation.

Facilities will be subject to new recordkeeping requirements for disposing of appliances with a charge size between 5 to 50 pounds. Appliance disposal rules have been revised to include substitute refrigerants such as HFCs.

Starting January 1, 2019:

Revised Leak Rate Thresholds

Facilities with industrial process refrigeration (IPR), commercial refrigeration, and comfort cooling containing ≥ 50 pounds refrigerant will be subject to more stringent leak rate thresholds that when exceeded will trigger equipment repair:

  • 30% for (IPR) – lowered from 35%
  • 20% for commercial refrigeration appliances – lowered from 35%, and
  • 10% for comfort cooling and other appliances – lowered from 15%.

Initial and Follow-up Verification Tests for Leak Repairs

Facilities with refrigeration and comfort cooling will be subject to initial and follow-up verification tests for leak repairs, including:

  • Periodic leak inspections (excludes appliances with automatic leak detectors) by certified technicians if leak rate thresholds have been exceeded (until leak rate does not exceed 10% for one year);
    • commercial refrigeration and IPR:
      • every 3 months for systems containing ≥ 500 pounds refrigerant,
      • annually for systems containing 50-500 pounds refrigerant,
    • comfort cooling units containing ≥ 50 pounds refrigerants.
  • Reporting to EPA for appliances exceeding 125% of leak rate threshold for systems containing 50 pounds or more of refrigerant (due March 1 of following year, after event occurs);

Recordkeeping Requirements

Facilities are required to maintain records of the following:

  • Invoices of services performed – adding or removing refrigerant from appliances, leak inspections, waste refrigerant sent off-site, etc.;
  • Documentation of full charge of appliances;
  • Annual calibration of automatic leak detection systems, if applicable;
  • Any report of requests for extensions (to repair/retrofit deadlines) submitted to EPA;
  • Results of leak inspections and verification tests;
  • Records of appliance disposal (includes HFC appliances) and refrigerant recovered for appliances with a charge size of 5-50 pounds, should be maintained by technicians on-site;
  • Invoices of purchases of CFCs, HCFCs, HFC, and substitute refrigerants made by certified technicians at the facility.

Revisions to the rule also affect refrigerant distributors, reclaimers, small appliance recyclers, property managers and supermarkets.

To find out how your facility may be affected, please visit:

https://www.epa.gov/section608/revised-section-608-refrigerant-management-regulations

On August 10, 2017, EPA published a letter indicating plans to revise the final rule with respect to non-exempt substitutes and providing relief options from the January 1, 2018 compliance deadline (given that sufficient information is received supporting the basis for the relief).

To view the letter, click:

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-08/documents/608_update_letter.pdf

EPS Assistance: If you are a current client of EPS, we will be contacting you shortly to discuss how the new rules affect your operations. If you are not a current client of EPS and would like our assistance, please call us at (404) 315-9113.

EPA’s Revisions to EPCRA 312 Tier II Reporting

EPA has issued revisions to 40 CFR Part 370 that affect Tier I and Tier II reporting under Sections 311 and 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). The revisions affect the Tier II report due March 1, 2018 for the 2017 reporting year. The changes are intended to align EPCRA with the revised OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) which adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals referred to as “GHS.”

Tier II Reports – Here’s What Changed:

EPA has revised the hazard categories on the Tier II reports. In place of the current five hazard categories (fire, sudden release of pressure, reactive, immediate (acute) health hazard, delayed (chronic) health hazard), EPA is adopting the hazards used in the HCS, which are listed below:

Physical Hazard

  • Flammable (gases, aerosols, liquids, or solids)
  • Gas under pressure
  • Explosive
  • Self-heating
  • Pyrophoric (liquid or solid)
  • Oxidizer (liquid, solid or gas)
  • Organic
  • Peroxide
  • Self-reactive
  • Pyrophoric gas
  • Corrosive to metal
  • In contact with water emits flammable gas
  • Combustible Dust
  • Hazard Not Otherwise Classified (HNOC)

Health Hazard

  • Carcinogenicity
  • Acute toxicity (any route of exposure)
  • Reproductive toxicity
  • Skin Corrosion or Irritation
  • Respiratory or skin sensitization
  • Serious eye damage or eye irritation
  • Specific target organic toxicity (single or repeated exposure)
  • Aspiration hazard
  • Germ cell mutagenicity
  • Simple asphyxiant
  • Hazard Not Otherwise Classified (HNOC)

How Does This Affect My 2017 Tier II Report?

The Tier II report, due March 1, 2018, will use the new EPCRA hazard categories above. So, between now and February 2018, make sure you have current Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for previously-reported and new chemicals and familiarize yourself with the hazard classifications listed in Section 2 of the SDS. Previously-reported chemicals will likely need to be reevaluated for the new hazard categories based on updated GHS-compliant SDS.

The new categories are expected to be available in the reporting year 2017 versions of the reporting software (Tier2 Submit and E-Plan). Some states still require forms. Reporting information for each state can be found at:

https://www.epa.gov/epcra/state-tier-ii-reporting-requirements-and-procedures

Also, the hard-copy form and instructions are available at:

https://www.epa.gov/epcra/tier-ii-forms-and-instructions

For more information on preparing and submitting your Tier II Report, please contact your EPS consultant.

The USEPA Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule is Here

The Georgia EPD has adopted the USEPA Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule, which becomes effective in Georgia on September 28, 2017. The changes in the regulations affect all hazardous waste generators. The hazardous waste generator requirements have been reorganized and consolidated into 40 CFR 262 to make them more user-friendly. The highlights of the rule that affect generators are as follows:

Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG)

  • Replaces the term “conditionally-exempt small quantity generator.” A VSQG generates ≤ 220 pounds of hazardous waste in a calendar month.
  • VSQGs are allowed to send hazardous waste to a Large Quantity Generator (LQG) under control of the same person. Note that additional recordkeeping and reporting rules apply to the LQG receiving the waste.

Episodic Generation for VSQGs and SQGs

  • Allows VSQGs and SQGs to maintain their existing generator category if, as a result of a planned or unplanned episodic event, the generator would generate a quantity of hazardous waste in a calendar month sufficient to cause the facility to move into a more stringent generator category, provided that:
    • VSQGs must obtain RCRA ID number
    • One episodic event per calendar year with ability to petition for second event
    • If the first event is planned, the second event must be for an unplanned event or vice versa
    • Notify State at least 30 days prior to initiating planned episodic event
    • Notify State within 72 hours after an unplanned event
    • Conclude event within 60 days, including shipping episodic waste off-site

Waste Determinations

  • Must be accurate to ensure proper management of the waste
  • Waste must be classified at its point of generation
    • before dilution, mixing or other alteration occurs
    • at any time in the course of its management that it has, or may have changed its properties such that its waste classification may have changed.
  • SQGs and LQGs are required to identify applicable waste codes based on the determination.

Central Accumulation Area (CAA)

  • Replaces the term Hazardous Waste Storage Area (i.e., 90/180/270 day storage area)
  • CAA is subject to either 40 CFR 262.16 for SQGs or 40 CFR 262.17 for LQGs

Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAA)

  • Added the option for generators to convert an SAA to a CAA when maximum volumes are exceeded
  • SAAs at LQGs must comply with 40 CFR 262 Subpart M
  • SAAs at SQGs must comply with 40 CFR 262.16(b)(8) & (9)
  • Defined “under control of the operator”
    • Can be locked or unlocked
    • Should be within view, so it can be monitored
    • Operator refers to those responsible for the equipment or processes
  • Containers in SAAs, CAAs, or hazardous waste tanks must be marked or labeled with the following:
    • The words “Hazardous Waste” and an indication of the hazards of the contents, including but not limited to:
      • Applicable hazardous characteristics (i.e., ignitable, corrosive, reactive, toxic), or
      • The DOT requirements (40 CFR Part 172 Subpart E or F), or
      • A hazard statement or pictogram consistent with OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, or
      • A chemical hazard label consistent with the NFPA code 704
      • Do not have to label lab packs with waste codes if lab packs are to be incinerated, except those that contain D004 (arsenic), D005 (barium), D006 (cadmium), D007 (chromium), D008 (lead), D010 (selenium), or D011 (silver)

Preparedness, Prevention & Emergency Procedures

  • For SQGs, posting of names and telephone numbers of emergency coordinators next to a telephone can be next to telephone or in an area directly involved in the generation and accumulation of hazardous waste.
  • If an EC is continuously on duty 24-hours per day, every day of the year, the plan may list a staff position and a phone number manned by the staffed position.
  • Required emergency equipment:
    • Provides flexibility in storing equipment in other areas of the facility when it is infeasible and inappropriate for safety reasons to store the equipment immediately next to generation and accumulation areas
    • Immediate access means “direct and unimpeded access”

Contingency Plan

  • Emergency Coordinators (ECs) now only need to provide an emergency telephone number, not addresses and home phone numbers.
  • Requires a Quick Reference Guide to assist emergency responders:
    • Types and hazards of hazardous waste
    • Maximum amount of hazardous waste present at any one time
    • Identification of any hazardous waste where exposures would require unique or special treatment by medical or hospital staff
    • Map showing locations where hazardous waste is generated, accumulated or treated and routes for accessing these areas
    • Street map of facility in relation to surrounding businesses, schools, and residences for evacuation purposes
    • Location of water supply
    • Identification of on-site notification systems
    • Name and contact information for ECs
  • Arrangements with Local Authorities has not changed except that the generator must attempt to make arrangements with the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), if determined to be the appropriate organization with which to make arrangements.

Renotification for SQGs and LQGs

  • SQGs must re-notify every four years beginning September 1, 2021. Renotifications will be due every four years on September 1st of that year.
  • LQGs re-notify when they submit their biennial report (every March 1st of even numbered years).

Requirements for LQGs Closing a CAA

  • Place notice in the facility’s operating record that identifies the CAA that is being closed
  • Close CAA in accordance with closure standards of 40 CFR 262.17(a)(8)(iii)
  • Notify EPD within 90 days of closure.

Requirements for Closing a Facility

  • Notification on EPA Form 8700-12
  • Close CAA in accordance with closure standards of 40 CFR 262.17(a)(8)(iii)

50-foot Buffer Waiver

  • Regulations require that ignitable and reactive wastes must be stored at least 50 feet from the property line. If a LQG is unable to meet this requirement, they can apply for a site-specific waiver from the authority having jurisdiction over the fire code. Generator must keep written approval in their records.

EPS Assistance: If you are a current client of EPS, we will be contacting you shortly to discuss how the new rules affect your operations. If you are not a current client of EPS and would like our assistance, please call Ted Peyser, Alan Anderson, or Debbie Bethea at (404) 315-9113.

The Georgia rules can be reviewed at the following web address:

https://epd.georgia.gov/chapter-391-3-11-rules-hazardous-waste-management.

The USEPA rule summary and link to the rule (November 28, 2016 Federal Register) can be reviewed at the following web address:

https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/final-rule-hazardous-waste-generator-improvements

Department of Homeland Security reinstates CSAT “Top-Screen” Survey Requirement

The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program was promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on April 9, 2007 in an effort to lower the risk posed by certain chemical facilities. The program requires facilities to provide DHS with information via the Top-Screen Survey to determine whether they are required to meet certain security performance standards. DHS temporarily suspended the program in early 2016; however, on October 1, 2016, the requirement to submit Top-Screen surveys was reinstated.

Facilities that had previously submitted a Top-Screen Survey to DHS are being notified by DHS to resubmit their survey via the online Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT 2.0). Facilities that had not previously filed a survey in possession of screening threshold quantities (STQs) of any listed Chemical of Interest are expected to proactively file a survey. Additionally, any facility that comes into possession of STQs of a chemical of interest is required to report their holdings within 60 days by filling out a Top-Screen survey.

Following the Department’s review of a facility’s CSAT Top-Screen submission, the facility may be notified by DHS that it is considered high-risk and assigned to Tier 1, 2, 3, or 4. High-risk facilities will be required to submit a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) and Site Security Plan (SSP) through CSAT.

The CSAT web-based system can only be accessed by “authorized” individuals. Individuals can become authorized by completing the Chemical-terrorism Vulnerability Information (CVI) Authorized User Training.

In summary:

  • A facility is required to submit a Top-Screen survey if it:
    • has been contacted by DHS to submit a Top-Screen Survey;
    • has submitted a Top-Screen Survey in the past; or
    • manufactures, uses, stores, or distributes any Chemical of Interest above the STQ as listed in Appendix A.
  • Top-Screen Survey submitters are required to be CVI authorized.
  • Facilities that are considered high-risk will be contacted by DHS and required to meet certain security standards.

The requirements for submittal of a Top Screen survey can be found here:

https://www.dhs.gov/csat-top-screen

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2008-01-09/pdf/E8-199.pdf

The Appendix A list of Chemicals of Interest can be found here:

https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/appendix-a-to-part-27-508.pdf

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