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Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials (NHSM) Rule Update

NHSM Rule Update

On February 8, 2016, USEPA published an amendment to their Non-hazardous Secondary Materials (NHSM) Rule, adding three new categorical non-waste fuels.  These materials may be combusted in boilers without subjecting the boiler to the stringent waste incinerator rules.  The new categories are 1) combustion and demolition wood, 2) paper recycling residuals, and 3) creosote-treated railroad ties.  Each of these fuels has specific qualifications that must be met to allow for their use:

Construction and Demolition (C&D) Wood

C&D wood may be used as a fuel provided it is processed to remove contaminants according to best management practices.  The rule defines best management practices to include sorting by trained operators to remove non-wood materials (plastics, drywall, concrete, aggregates, dirt, and asbestos) and wood treated with creosote, pentachlorophenol, chromated copper arsenate, or other copper, chromium, or arsenical preservatives.  The rule contains specific training and procedural requirements for processors to follow.  Combustors of C&D wood must obtain a written certification from the processor for every new contract or purchase agreement.

Paper Recycling Residuals (PPR)

This exemption allows paper recycling mills whose boilers are designed to burn solid fuel to burn paper recycling residuals (PPR) generated on-site.  PPR consists of material, primarily wood fibers, that cannot be used to make paper and paperboard products.  It may contain small amounts of non-fiber material such as plastics, waxes, adhesives, dyes and inks, clays, starches, and other coating and filler material.

Creosote-treated Railroad Ties (CTRT)

CTRT material must be processed for metal removal and shredding or grinding and can only be fired in boilers that were designed to burn both biomass and fuel oil as part of normal operation, i.e., not just for startup purposes.  Boilers at major source pulp and paper mills or power producers that are subject to the Boiler MACT and that were originally designed to burn biomass and fuel oil, but have been modified to burn natural gas instead of fuel oil, may still burn CTRT provided that the boiler commenced construction prior to April 14, 2014 and the CTRT does not comprise more than 40 percent of the fuel on an annual heat input basis.

The published final rule is available here:

EPA’s summary page is available here:

Import or Manufacture a Chemical? TSCA Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Due This Summer…

EPA’s Toxic Substances Control ACT (TSCA) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) period is soon approaching. The CDR rule requires manufacturers (including importers) to provide information on the chemicals they manufacture domestically or import into the United States. EPA will use the information to determine the potential health and environmental risks of these chemicals. The report submission period is 06/01/2016 to 09/30/2016. This report covers the reporting period of calendar years 2012 to 2015.  Reports are submitted through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX).

A review of the total quantity of each manufactured or imported chemical, as well as the composition of each chemical, is needed to determine if the reporting threshold of 25,000 lbs/yr (or 2,500 lbs/yr for TSCA action chemicals) is met.  Note that exemptions may apply.


For more information, please contact your EPS consultant.

EPA Publishes Final Ozone NAAQS: 70 ppb

On 10/01/2015, EPA signed a final rule lowering the ozone NAAQS to 70 ppb (from the current standard of 75 ppb).

Anticipated schedule:

  • October 1, 2016:  States recommend nonattainment designations.
  • June 1, 2017:  EPA response to states’ recommendations.
  • October 1, 2017:  EPA issues final nonattainment designations.
  • 2020-2021:  States must submit SIPs.
  • 2020-2037:  Attainment due dates (vary by severity).

EPA is including grandfathering provisions for certain PSD permit applications that are still in process.  EPA will also be issuing several supplemental rules for implementation of the standard.

For more information, contact your EPS consultant.

EPA Proposes to Redesignate Ozone Nonattainment Areas

As published in the Federal Register on 08/27/2015, EPA is proposing to redesignate 36 Ozone Nonattainment Areas, including Atlanta.  Based on the 2012-2014 design value, EPA determined that Atlanta did not attain the 2008 ozone NAAQS by July 20, 2015, thereby triggering a “bump up” in nonattainment classification from marginal to moderate.  The new attainment date is July 20, 2018.  The proposed SIP submittal due date is January 1, 2017 or March 1, 2017 (comment solicited).  Several federal standards, including CSAPR, Tier 3 vehicle standards, and Boiler MACT, are expected to support attainment efforts.  However, state agencies could find that additional NOx or VOC control measures (RACT rules) are needed.  Georgia EPD has indicated that it intends to certify 2013-2015 ozone monitoring data in support of a request to redesignate to attainment.

Read More …

EPA Proposed Amendments to MSW Landfill Air Emissions Standards

On 08/14/2015, EPA proposed amendments to emissions standards for MSW landfills.

Fact Sheet for Existing Landfills:


  • The agency is proposing to update the emissions threshold that triggers a requirement to install landfill gas collection and control systems. That annual threshold, currently set at 50 metric tons (written as megagrams in the proposal) of nonmethane organic compounds, would change to 34 metric tons for active landfills under the proposed guidelines. This is the same threshold EPA is proposing for new landfills. Closed landfills would remain subject to the current threshold of 50 metric tons per year.
  • Landfills subject to the proposed guidelines would have 30 months after reaching the emissions threshold to install and begin operating a gas collection and control system.
  • Landfill owners/operators with a gas collection and control system would to be required to expand that system into new areas of the landfill within five years for active areas, and two years for areas that are closed or at final grade.

Fact Sheet for New, Modified, and Reconstructed Landfills:

EPA Site:

For more information, contact your EPS consultant.

Proposed Revisions to EPA’s Guideline on Air Quality Models

On 07/29/2015, EPA’s proposed revision to the air quality modeling guideline (Appendix W to 40 CFR Part 51) was published.

Appendix W Factsheet:


  • Proposed enhancements to the scientific formulation of the preferred nearfield dispersion model, AERMOD, including modeling techniques to address the secondary chemical formation of fine particle and ozone pollution from direct, single source emissions of pollutants that form them such as sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds. (See details below)
  • Proposed streamlining of resources necessary to conduct regulatory modeling with AERMOD by incorporating model algorithms from the Buoyant Line and Point Source (BLP) model and replacing the CALINE3 model used for mobile source applications including fine particle pollution (PM2.5, PM10), and carbon monoxide (CO) hot-spot analyses.
  • Remove CALPUFF as a preferred model for long range air quality assessments and recommending its use as a screening technique along with other Lagrangian models for addressing PSD increment beyond 50 km from a new or modifying source. This proposed change does not affect the EPA’s recommendation in the 2005 BART Guidelines to use CALPUFF in the BART determination process.

Read More …

AERMOD Dispersion Model Version 15181 Released

On 07/24/2015, EPA released an updated version of the AERMOD model. Key technical changes in the new version are as follows:

  • Includes option in AERMET to adjust the surface friction velocity (u*) to address issues with AERMOD model over prediction under stable, low wind speed conditions.
  • Includes a low wind option in AERMOD to address issues with model over prediction under low wind speed conditions. The low wind option will increase the minimum value of the lateral turbulence intensity (sigma-v) from 0.2 to 0.3 and adjusts the dispersion coefficient to account for the effects of horizontal plume meander on the plume centerline concentration.
  • Modifications to AERMOD formulation to address issues with over prediction for applications involving relatively tall stacks located near relatively small urban areas.
  • Includes regulatory default options to address plume rise for horizontal and capped stacks.
  • Includes buoyant line source option based on the BLP model.
  • Updates to the NO2 Tier 2 and Tier 3 screening techniques coded within AERMOD for assessments related to 1 hour NO2 standards. Tier 2 technique will be ARM2 which is based on hourly measurements of the NO2 to NOx ratios and provides more detailed estimates of this ratio based on the total NOx present. For Tier 3 technique, the existing detailed screening options of the Ozone Limiting Method (OLM) and PVMRM which have been  available as non-regulatory, non-default options in AERMOD for many years is formally incorporated as regulatory options.

Please contact your EPS consultant for more information.

Reconsideration and Proposed Amendments to Boiler Rules Published

On 01/21/2015, the reconsideration and proposed amendments to the Boiler MACT and the Boiler Area Source NESHAP were published in the Federal Register:

Boiler MACT:

Proposed Rule:

Fact Sheet:

Redline/Strikeout Version:

Boiler Area Source NESHAP:

Proposed Rule:

Fact Sheet:

Redline/Strikeout Version:

Comments will be accepted until March 9, 2015.

EPA Proposes to Tighten Ozone Standards

On 11/25/14, EPA proposed to tighten the ground-level ozone standards to within a range of 65 to 70 ppb or possibly as low as 60 ppb, as compared to the current NAAQS of 75 ppb.  Public comments will be accepted for 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.  And, EPA plans to issue the final revised ozone NAAQS by 10/01/15.

Proposed Rule:

More information: