February 2012 – NESHAPs for Major Sources Industrial, Commercial, Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters

NESHAPs for Major Sources Industrial, Commercial, Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters

EPA Requests Comments on December 2011 Proposed Rules and D.C. District Court Vacates EPA’s Stay of Industrial Boiler MACT Rule
In December 2011, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed revisions to 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 63, subpart DDDDD, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters, also known as the Boiler MACT rule.  The Boiler MACT rule sets maximum achievable control technology (MACT) requirements for emissions of toxic air pollutants from industrial boilers located at major sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).  A major source emits, or has the potential to emit, 10 tons per year (tpy) of any single HAP or 25 tpy or more of any combination of HAPs.  EPA established MACT based on the level of emissions control achieved by the best performing similar sources.

A brief outline of the progress of the Boiler MACT rule is listed below:

  • Due to an order issued by United States District Court for the District of Columbia (D.C. District Court), on March 21, 2011, EPA promulgated the Industrial Boiler MACT (76 Federal Register [FR] 15608) to become effective on May 20, 2011.  SeeSierra Club v. Jackson, Civil Action No. 01-1537, 2011 WL 181097 (D.C. Cir. January 20, 2011).
    • On the same day, EPA published a notice announcing its intent to reconsider certain provisions in the final rule.  76 FR 15249.
    • On May 18, 2011, EPA subsequently issued a delay of effective date of the final rule until judicial review was complete, or the agency finalized its reconsideration of the rule, whichever is earlier.  76 FR 28662.
  • On December 23, 2011, EPA published a proposed rule to reconsider and request comment on several provisions of the final rule, and propose amendments and technical corrections to the final rule. Comments must be received on or before February 21, 2012.  76 FR 80598.
  • On January 9, 2012, in response to Sierra Club’s lawsuit, D.C. District Court vacated EPA’s May 18, 2011, stay of the Industrial Boiler MACT rule, which reinstates the original deadlines and requirements defined in the Industrial Boiler MACT rule promulgated on March 21, 2011.  For example, facilities will need to come into compliance with emissions limitations by March 2014.

The status of this complex rulemaking will be discussed in further detail below, but first, we will summarize the December 2011 proposed rules.

What is included in the December 2011 proposed rules?

  • Major Source Boilers:
    • Subcategories for major source boilers.
    • Fuel specifications for gas-fired boilers other than natural gas units for major source boilers.
    • Work Practices for limited use major source boilers.
    • Carbon Monoxide monitoring requirements for major source boilers.
    • Dioxin emission limits and testing requirements for major source boilers.
  • Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerator limits and definitions.

Are significant changes proposed for major sources?

The December 2011 proposed rule included the development of 17 subcategories of boilers, 14 of which are subject to new emissions limits.  The remaining three subcategories are subject to work practice requirements instead of numerical emission limits.  Other highlights of the rule, such as modifications to the compliance demonstration requirements, are listed below:

  • Changes to emissions limits for particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen chloride (HCL), and mercury (Hg).
  • Emission limits for dioxin and furan are replaced by work practices in the proposed rule due to inconsistencies in the EPA data.
  • Several types of industrial boilers remain exempt from proposed emission limits, including natural gas fired boilers, boilers with a heat input capacity of less than 10 million British Thermal Units per hour (mmBtu/hr) and units that operate less than 876 hours per year.
  • Incinerators, which burn “secondary solid waste” as defined in the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials (NHSM) rule, are covered under a separate rule that has also been re-proposed as the Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incinerator (CISWI) rule.
  • Of the 14 new combustion technology classifications for which emissions limits are set, 3 are for coal fired boilers, 2 are for liquid fuel boilers, and the remaining 7 classifications are for a variety of biomass units:
    • There is the option to meet CO limits based on either stack test results or continuous emissions monitoring (CEM) data.
    • EPA determined that HCL and Hg are “fuel-based” pollutants and thus, emissions are dependent of the type of fuel used in the boiler.
    • EPA established that PM and CO are combustion based fuels and thus, are dependent on the process used to combust the fuel.
    • As with previous versions of the rule, existing units are subject to different limits than new or reconstructed units.
  • EPA also revised the definitions for “startup” and “shutdown” to include only those times during which the boiler is operating from 0 to 25 percent of its full load.  This is significant because it means that when the unit is operating between 25 percent and 100 percent, it must meet the numerical emission limits for that boiler, rather than the more flexible startup and shutdown work practices.

Should my company implement the requirements of the December 2011 proposed rule?

As indicated above, on January 9, 2012, D.C. District Court reinstated the original deadlines and requirements defined in the Industrial Boiler MACT rule.  This will likely reignite the Congressional debate on the so-called “EPA Regulatory Relief Act” being considered by the House and Senate (H.R. 2250 and S.B. 1392) that if passed would extend the implementation of the Industrial Boiler MACT rule by at least another fifteen months.  Industrial Boiler MACT compliance is a moving target and industry will need to stay informed on the progress of this rulemaking.

As for the December 2011 proposed rules, it is important to remember that EPA’s limits and practices in the December 2011 proposed rules are not final, and comments being accepted until February 21, 2012.  Depending on information that the EPA receives during the comment period, the requirements, and possibly emissions limits, of the final rule may be different than what is currently proposed.  Currently, EPA plans to have the final rule published in April 2012; however, depending on the number of comments received and the scope of any revisions to the rule, the timeline may change.

Where can we find more information?

EPA announcements relating to Industrial, Commercial, Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters can be found at https://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/boiler/boilerpg.html.
For more information, please contact Rebecca Day at 412-439-9045 and rebecca.day@ehs-support.com or Amy Bauer at 251-533-6949 at amy.bauer@ehs-support.com for more information.

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