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Are You Affected by the New EPA Boiler MACT Rule?

When EPA published the latest Boiler MACT regulations on March 21, 2011, it put in place wide-reaching changBoiler MACTes that will have an impact on facilities across all industries. For some facilities these impacts could be quite substantial.

Virtually every type of boiler will be affected by rules proposed by the EPA, so that means that the chances that the boiler at your site will be somehow subject to them.

This short article provides a brief summary of the latest Boiler MACT rule in order to help you get current with the MACT regulations, so you will be up to speed when it comes time for you to demonstrate your compliance.

If your facility uses any of the following boilers or incinerators, you need to make yourself aware of upcoming compliance dates and the changes you will have to make in your EH&S management:

  • New area source boilers
  • Existing area source boilers
  • Reconstructed area source boilers
  • New major source boilers
  • Existing major source boilers
  • Limited use boilers
  • Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWIs)
  • Sewage Sludge Incinerators (SSIs)

How the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Categorizes Boilers

EPA defines an area source as any stationary source, or group of stationary
sources, that annually emits in aggregate less than 10 tons of any single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) or less than 25 tons of multiple HAPs.

A major source is defined as any stationary source, or group of stationary sources, that annually emits in aggregate at least 10 tons of any single HAP or at least 25 tons of multiple HAPs.

A limited use source is defined by EPA as being in operation less than 10% of the year, for emergency or backup purposes.

Any source is considered new if it was built or underwent fuel switching after June 4, 2010. Similarly, a source is reconstructed if it was refurbished or reconstructed after June 4, 2010. Any source that was built or refurbished before June 4, 2010 is considered an existing source.

What Has Changed?

The new Boiler MACT rules from the EPA are wide-reaching, and will have an impact on many boilers through all sectors of industry. Some of these changes include:

  • The establishment of new emission limits for HAPs and Particulate Matter (PM) for all boilers with a heat input capacity greater or equal to 10 million Btu per hour
  • Now a one-time energy assessment must be performed on all large area source boilers to identify energy efficient improvements that could be made
  • A new work practice regulation that requires a biennual (every two years) tune-up for all biomass, oil-fired, and small coal-fired area source boilers, limited use boilers, and major source boilers with a heat input capacity less than 10 million Btu/hr
  • Annual tune-ups for all major natural gas- and refinery gas-fired boilers

In addition, EPA has finalized its definition of non-hazardous solid waste. There has been some controversy over this new definition, as it has the capacity to re-categorize some boilers if they burn solid waste. 

Are These Changes Set in Stone?

The EPA has officially announced that many of the March 21, 2011 regulations are being reconsidered. They have said that this was largely due to the flood of over 4800 comments they received from the public on the proposed final rule.

In October 2011, the EPA will release a new set of changes to the proposed Boiler MACT regulations, to be finalized by April 2012. Among the March 2011 regulations under reconsideration are:

  • Revisions to the dioxin and carbon monoxide emission limits and monitoring
  • Revisions to the definition of homogeneous waste in the CISWI rule
  • The applicability of Title V permitting requirements for area source boilers

When Do You Have to Comply?

The timeframe that's been set for your compliance depends on what categories of boiler your site uses. Currently, the EPA has issued a temporary delay on its ruling on major source boilers.

However, new and reconstructed area source boilers are required to be in compliance now. Existing area source boilers have until March 21, 2012 to demonstrate their compliance.

Because the final compliance dates for major source boilers are not yet set in stone, and the final regulations are still uncertain, if you use major source boilers you are advised to be patient and get prepared. It is unclear exactly how you will be required to demonstrate your compliance, but it is certain that the way you manage your site is about to change. 

ERA has created a complimentary whitepaper outlining the complete regulation changes for each category of boilers, a comprehensive list of rule reconsiderations, compliance deadlines, and background information about the EPA's delay.

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This post was written by Alex Chamberlain

Alex Chamberlain is a writer for ERA Environmental Management Solutions.

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