The History and Future of the EPA’s Boiler MACT Regulations

Lately, there has been a bit of action regarding The Environmental Protection Agency’s Boiler MACT (maximum achievable control technology) regulation under Clean Air Act § 112(d). This regulation sets emission standards that govern the release of certain pollutants such as mercury, hydrogen chloride, particulate matter (as a surrogate for non-mercury metals), and carbon monoxide (as a surrogate for organic hazardous emissions) from coal-fired, biomass-fired, and liquid-fired major source boilers.

The law covers:

  • Hazardous waste incinerators
  • Hazardous waste cement kilns
  • Hazardous waste lightweight aggregate kilns
  • Hazardous waste solid fuel boilers
  • Hazardous waste liquid fuel boilers
  • Hazardous waste hydrochloric acid production furnaces.

Rule History

 

11/20/2015 – Final Rule; Notice of Final Action on Reconsideration

01/21/2015 – Proposed Rule

01/31/2013 – Final Rule

12/23/2011 – Proposed Rule; Reconsideration of Final Rule

05/18/2011 – Final Rules; Delay of Effective Dates

03/21/2011 – Final Rule

03/21/2011 – Notice of Reconsideration of Final Rules

06/04/2010 – Proposed Rule

12/06/2006 – Final Rule; Notice of Final Action on Reconsideration

12/28/2005 – Final Rule, Amendments; Notice of Final Action on Reconsideration

10/31/2005 – Proposed Rule; Notice of Reconsideration of Final Rule; Proposed Amendments

06/27/2005 – Proposed Rule; Notice of Reconsideration of Final Rule

09/13/2004 – Final Rule

01/13/2003 – Proposed Rule

 

Because some in the industry consider the regulations to be onerous and expensive, it was challenged in March of last year by American Municipal Power Inc. The electricity wholesaler did so by presenting the high court with a writ of certiorari. In response to this action by the company, the Supreme Court ruled that it will not review the EPA’s controversial and imperfect Boiler and incineration rule. As of now, many businesses still contend that Boiler MACT sets emission standards that require impossible perfect performance at all times, outlawing even accidental releases

The point to all this is that these regulations though controversial still must be followed until the uncertainty surrounding them is cleared up. The future of these regulations under this relatively new administration is uncertain. However, as CEMS Experts, we guarantee that we can help companies come and stay into compliance with these regulations through the use of our technology. The penalties for noncompliance are too great for your company to risk.

Top Environmentally Friendly Technologies

By some estimates nearly an additional 2.9 billion people will inhabit our planet by the mid century. This means that our tightening water and food stores supplies will be further strained in a way they have never been strained before. It also means that the world’s energy needs will rise as well. Indeed, a United Nations study says that the world’s energy needs will increase by 60 percent by 2030. At CEMS Experts, we strive to make sure that your company stays in compliance with changing EPA regulations. We do CEMS consulting and CEMS engineering to help your company remain viable and at the same time not add to this potentially calamitous situation. Technology plays a huge role in alleviating these stresses. Here are a few technologies that, in addition to our own boiler MACT CEMS rentals – are or will be game changers in the near future.

  • Waste/Energy Conversion: Carbon-based waste can be converted into energy by submitting it to sufficient amounts of heat and pressure. This technology is promising since the source of this kind of waste is everywhere in nature.
  • Solar Energy: Speaking of something that is around us all the time – solar energy production is well underway all over the world. So promising is this technology that many local and state governments already offer incentives for people who use it.
  • Desalinization: By the middle of the 21st century water shortages will affect nearly a billion people worldwide. This is according to another UN study. One potential solution to this impending crisis is to develop technologies that remove salt from seawater.
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells: This technology is highly debated among some experts. Hydrogen fuel cell production requires other technologies to be added to it. However, cars that run with hydrogen cells not only run on hydrogen they emit only water.
  • Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: The ocean is the biggest natural solar collector in the world. OTEC works by taking advantage in the temperature variation between water that is on the bottom of the ocean (cold) and the ocean’s surface (hot).

Finally, we believe that the key to avoiding energy, food and climate emergencies of the future rest in technological innovation. Government rules for compliance require that companies utilize technology to help them stay in compliance as well. As a responsible world citizen we know that you will want to stay in compliance by using our services and products.

Surprising Facts about Air Pollution

In addition to helping your company avoid incurring fines for not coming into compliance with the EPA regarding emissions standards, we are also proud of how our services and equipment protect the environment. Our continuous emissions monitoring systems guarantee both by being reliable and by using state-of-the-art technology to make sure that your stay in compliance with 40 CFR part 98 regarding the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases. Here is some food for thought about the damage that pollution can and has caused to the environment.

  • Fact: Air pollution shortens the average person’s life by as much as 1 – 2 years.
  • Fact: Air pollution is more toxic to children due to their smaller lungs, weaker immune systems and lesser lung capacity.
  • Fact: 65% of the deaths in Asia and as much as 25% deaths in India are caused by air pollution.
  • Fact: The number of deaths caused by air pollution is comparable to diseases like malaria and HIV.
  • Fact: Deforestation for animal grazing is estimated to emit as much as 2.4 billion tons of CO2 every year.
  • Fact: Huge industrial plants are not the only sources of harmful emissions. Factory farms contribute to air pollution by releasing compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and methane.
  • Fact: One third of the air pollution in San Francisco comes from air that travels from China to the Central Valley in the United States.
  • Fact: According to The American Lung Association, 40% of the American population is exposed to unhealthy air.
  • Fact: Los Angeles is one of the most polluted American cities in terms of ozone pollution. Bismarck, North Dakota is among the least polluted in terms of ozone.
  • Fact: Air pollution is so great in Beijing China that breathing the air in that city is comparable to smoking 40 cigarettes per day. Moreover, particulate levels there are five times greater than the national average

In short, our equipment not only keeps you from incurring the wrath of the EPA and accumulating penalties, it also helps you to become a good corporate citizen. Doing so requires equipment that is reliable and a commitment by businesses to protect the earth from greenhouse gases and other kinds of pollution. That is why we are here.

1121Boiler MACT: Some Background and how it affects your Business

Most owners of industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers understand the basics of the EPA standards – known Boiler MACT (maximum-achievable control technology) – regarding the emissions emanating from boilers. However, the rules are not necessarily as straight forward as they would appear to be. And of course only by having a detailed understanding of the standards can companies hope to come into compliance with said rules. With that in mind, we would like to refresh you on some history and information about Boiler MACT.

What is Boiler MACT?

 

Boiler MACT is the EPA’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants as they relate to industrial, commercial and institutional boilers. They do not apply to residential boilers and hot water heaters. The “Boiler MACT Rule” was issued in January 2013 and since then many facilities have sought to come into compliance with the regulations. (Facilities affected by the rules were required to come into full compliance with the rules by January 31, 2016. However, the EPA can grant a one-year extension to facilities requiring additional time to comply.) Because our business is helping you to come into compliance regarding industrial emissions, we are well aware of the regulations.

Background/History of Boiler MACT

 

Back in February of 2004 NESHAP, also known as the “Industrial Boiler MACT Rule” – was finalized by the EPA. However, due to a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in 2007, the EPA was required to rewrite the rule. During the back and forth process of designing the regulations the EPA received nearly 5,000 comments on the proposed rules and was asked to extend the final promulgation deadline until 2012. This request was denied.

 

Cems-experts can help you remain in compliance with the Boiler MACT rule by renting you reliable equipment that can monitor for CO2, etc. We carry CEMS rentals such as NOx/O2 systems for turbines and boilers. These test for exotic gases such as NH3 (Ammonia), HCl, H2S, THCs, etc. as well as Opacity Monitors (COMS) ensuring that you remain in compliance with the EPA.

What You Should Know About the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal and Settlement

Just as several companies including Subaru have committed to taking steps to fight pollution and aid in the reduction of C02 to the environment, one company has chosen to add a black mark to its name. The company is Volkswagen and the black mark is on this car company’s name when it was revealed last year that they were cheating in order to make their cars appear as if they had lower emissions of harmful gases. Specifically, the company admitted that it used software that could detect when the emissions of its diesel engine cars was being tested and could change the performance in order to improve the results. This scheme affected more than a half-million diesel cars in the U.S. and roughly 10.5 million more worldwide. As a result of the scheme, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer approved the final $14.7 billion settlement on October 25, 2016.

 

The case is an example of what can happen when short cuts and deception are used to achieve a specific result. Such incidences besmirch the reputation of long established businesses who otherwise have good standing in the public. The Volkswagen Scandal and subsequent settlement also illustrate that when it comes to analyzing emissions, honesty is the best policy. Science is what must be used to reduce our negative impact on the environment and to come in compliance with the EPA.

 

At Cems-Experts we use Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) technology and CEMS engineering to ensure that our clients can accurately and thoroughly test their emissions and not run afoul of the EPA resulting in costly fines and penalties. (FTIR spectrometer simultaneously collects high-spectral-resolution data over a wide spectral range by using an infrared spectrum of absorption or emission of a solid, liquid or gas.) We don’t take shortcuts where our clients are concerned since the costs can be too great to their name and to the environment.

 

We conduct real-time reporting of air quality for pollutants of concern including ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and volatile/toxic organic compounds and use state of the art equipment to do so. That is why you will never find us using short-cuts. That is also why our clients rely on us.