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The AQMD's annual emissions reporting system is changing again. The new web-based system is now equipment-based. In other words, the criteria and toxic emissions from each piece of equipment at a facility will be reported separately from all other sources of emissions. However, the AQMD is allowing companies to still use the old system for 2013 AER, giving companies the choice for this report only.

The rest of the requirements are expected to remain almost the same as in the previous year.

Who is required to file?

  • Facilities in the Annual Operating Permit Emission Fee Program. Those are companies who pay annual emissions for permitted equipment. Such facilities are subject to AQMD Rule 301(e) and are required to file when exceeding the corresponding reporting thresholds.
  • Facilities whose permitted plus un-permitted emissions equal 4 tons or more per year of criteria pollutants (VOCs, NOx, SOx, PM, Specific Organics); or 100 tons or more per year of CO.
  • Facilities which had emissions [thresholds specified in Rule 301(e)] of specific Toxic Air Contaminants or ozone depleting compounds, listed in form TAC.
  • Facilities that receive an Annual Emissions Report Package. However, it is the operator's responsibility to file a report if necessary, even if the facility does not receive a notification from SCAQMD.
  • Facilities which prior to July 1, 2000 had equipment listed as exempt. There is no fee associated with these exempt emissions but they must be reported.

What if I miss the deadline?
The SCAQMD 2013 Annual Emissions Report (AER) is due by 5:00 p.m. on March 4, 2014. The Report applies to the Calendar Year 2013 reporting period (January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013). If a facility misses the deadline and owes an emission fee, late payment penalties in the form of a percentage of the emission fees will apply. The penalties are set forth in AQMD Rule 301(e)(10)(B) and are as follows:

Payment received Penalties
Less than 30 days late 5% of reported amount
30 to 90 days late 15% of reported amount
91 days to 1 year late 25% of reported amount
More than 1 year late 50% of reported amount

After submitting my report I found out I estimated emissions incorrectly

Companies that pay their emissions fees on time but underestimated their emissions, which resulted in underpayment to SCAQMD, can resubmit the report subject to underpayment penalties. If the underpayment is corrected within one year from the filing deadline and more than 90% of the amount due was paid, there are no penalties. However, if payment was less than 90% of the amount due, the penalty is 15% of the underpayment amount. When the underpayment is determined more than one year and sixty days from the official due date, fee rates and penalties will be assessed based on 301(e)(10)(D). Fees are determined based on rates in effect for the year when the emissions are actually reported, not the year wherein the emissions occurred.
A facility can file a refund request when overestimating of the emissions resulted in overpayment to AQMD. The refund request must be submitted in writing as set forth in Rule 301. Form "A" can also be used to request refunds associated with the current reporting period.

Special circumstances

The AQMD has a Fee Review Committee to handle issues regarding fees and penalties. The agency requires records related to the AER to be kept for a minimum of five years.

What is new this year?

  • New emission fee rates are in effect for the 2013 Annual Emission Reporting Program for criteria pollutants, toxic air contaminants and ozone depleting compounds in accordance with AQMD Rule 301(e).
  • For 2013 AER, facilities in Phase 2 are required to file their 2588 Quadrennial Report.
  • Updated default emission factors: Default VOC emission factor for cellars serving oil wells are updated from 7.50 lbs/ft2 to 1.77 lbs/ft2 for heavy crude and 2.59 lbs/ft2 for light crude.
  • Updated Guidelines for Calculating Emissions from Paint, Resin, and Ink Manufacturing Operations.
  • Added Guidelines for Calculating Emissions from Greenwaste Composting and Co-Composting Operations.



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has admonished the South Coast Air Quality Management District that it's rules 1146 (Emissions of Oxides of Nitrogen from Industrial, Institutional, and Commercial Boilers, Steam Generators, and Process Heaters) and 1146.1 (Emissions of Oxides of Nitrogen from Small Industrial, Institutional, and Commercial Boilers, Steam Generators, and Process Heaters) need corrections in order for the agency to approve them. In response, the SCAQMD adopted changes to the rules at its November 2013 board meeting. The rules now clarify that source test results showing emissions in excess of rule limits are considered a rule violation. Diagnostic emission checks for boiler maintenance purposes are allowed. These rules do not apply to electric utility boilers, refinery boilers and process heaters with a rated heat input greater than 40 million BTU per hour, sulfur plant reaction boilers, or waste heat recovery boilers serving combustion turbines.

Rule 1146

Rule 1146 restricts oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from existing boilers, steam generators, and process heaters with maximum rated heat input capacities greater than or equal to five million British Thermal Units (BTU) per hour. Definitions for Adsorption Chiller Unit and Open Heated Tank now acknowledge that this equipment is not included under the definition of a Boiler or Steam Generator. Changes also clarify that CO emissions must be measured as part of the source test and diagnostic emission check.

Rule 1146.1

Rule 1146.1 limits NOx and CO emissions from existing boilers, steam generators, and process heaters with maximum rated heat input capacities greater than two million BTU per hour and less than five million BTU per hour. Definitions for Adsorption Chiller Unit and Open Heated Tank now acknowledge that this equipment is not included under the definition of a Boiler or Steam Generator. The amendment specifies that low fuel usage equipment are required to only conduct periodic tune-ups no matter if there is a NOx or CO limit in the rule. Also, the owner or operator must measure CO emissions as part of the source test and diagnostic emission check.



The California Air Resources Board (ARB) held a public workshop in November 2013 during which it presented changes to the Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) to reduce formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. The proposed regulation includes an alternate regulatory approach for laminated products, definition changes, timeline changes for application approval and adds requirements for third party certifiers.

ARB staff discussed an "Alternate Regulatory Approach for Laminated Products" which would establish a 0.11 ppm formaldehyde emission performance standard for laminated products (finished and unfinished). The standard would apply to all laminated products (synthetic laminates and wood veneers affixed to certified, compliant platforms). Other requirements for laminated products, i.e. labeling and use of certified platform material, would continue. Routine quality control testing and third party certification of laminated products would not be required. Fabricators would determine the best way to ensure finished goods meet the standard. Under the approach laminated products are treated as a subset of hardwood plywood. The agency states that the regulation "Establishes an emission ceiling and achieves additional emission reductions beyond the current ATCM by ensuring that a finished laminated product does not result in emissions any greater than an MDF certified platform."

The definition of "Hardboard" has been expanded to include products made by wet or semi-dry forming, cellulosic fiber insulating boards and cross-laminated timber. Changes to the definitions of Medium density fiberboard, molded product and veneer were included. "Lumber core" now means a core material used in making hardwood plywood that consists of strips of solid wood which have a thickness greater than 6.4 millimeters (previously greater than one quarter of an inch).

Platforms consisting of a composite wood product must now comply with the applicable emission standards. Application approval by the Executive Officer has been changed from three years to two years and a provision for amendment of an issued Executive Order has been added. The labeling provision now allows for labels to be applied as a stamp, edge printed, or as a removable label. Additionally, the requirements for third party certifiers have been augmented.



The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is proposing changes to Rule 1168 (Adhesives).  The rule applies to “any person who sells, stores, supplies, offers for sale or manufactures for sale any adhesives, adhesive primers, sealants, or sealant primers, unless otherwise specifically exempted.” It also applies to adhesives, adhesive primers, caulks, sealants or sealant primers used for manufacturing purposes at stationary sources, and to consumer uses where the product is greater than one pound or 16 ounces or where there is no applicable VOC limit in the California Air Resources Board Consumer Products Regulation (Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 94507, et. seq.).

Adhesive, as defined in the rule, is a substance that is used to bond one surface to another by attachment.  It is a substance that is sticky in nature and can span a broad range of chemistries from products produced from plants and animals, to contact, pressure sensitive and reactive adhesives. Attachment may occur mechanically by infusing into the substrate, or chemically, through chemical or electrostatic bonding. Using this definition, paints and coatings could be characterized as having adhesive properties.  However, an adhesive must bond one surface to another surface, excluding the application of subsequent coatings. Sealants are very similar to adhesives except that they must also fill, seal or waterproof gaps or joints between two surfaces. As defined in this proposed rule, sealants are limited to products that are not continuous coatings. Products that are continuous coatings and are used to seal or waterproof gaps are sealers or mastic products and subject to Rule 1113 – Architectural Coatings. Similarly, staff has reviewed liquid membrane products used as air barriers and considers these products to be subject to Rule 1113 because they are continuous films used as a barrier in architectural applications. Table 1 summarizes the proposed changes to the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) limits.

Table 1 - Regulated Products Proposed VOC Content Limits

Category Current VOC Limit (G/L) New VOC Limit (G/L)
Effective 1/1/16 unless otherwise noted
Carpet Pad Adhesive 50 20
Ceramic Tile Adhesive 65 20
Cove Base Adhesive 50 20
Dry Wall and Panel Adhesive 50 20
Indoor Flooring Adhesive 50 20
Multipurpose Construction Adhesive 70 20
Other Roof Adhesive 250 100
Outdoor Floor Covering Adhesive 150 20
Rubber Floor Adhesive 60 20
Single Ply Roof Membrane Adhesive 250 100
Structural Glazing Adhesive 100 40
Structural Wood Member Adhesive 140 50
Subfloor Adhesive 50 20
VCT and Asphalt Tile Adhesive 50 20
Wood Flooring Adhesive 100 20
Rubber Vulcanization Adhesive 850 250 (Effective 1/1/19)
Top and Trim Adhesive 250 540
Waterproof Resorcinol Glue None 170
Plastic Foams 50 20
Reinforced Plastic Composite None 200
Foam Sealant None 200 (Effective 1/1/15)
All Other Roof S/C* 300 50
Single-Ply Roof Membrane 450 100
All Other Architectural S/C 250 50
Roadway S/C 250 50
Architectural, Porous S/P 775 250

*S/C = Sealant/Caulk; S/P = Sealant/Primer

Additionally, some noteworthy rule changes are:

  • Clarification that the rule applies to consumer product adhesives, adhesive primers, caulks, sealants and sealant primers not regulated by the California Air Resources Board.
  • Addition of limited exemptions for tertiary-butyl acetate and dimethyl carbonate used in exterior, roofing product formulations.
  • Added requirements for labeling regulated product containers.
  • Added test methods for VOC content analysis.
  • Annual reporting requirements for sales of regulated products.
  • Expansion of the applicability of the rule to include aerosol adhesives.
  • Exemptions for "super-compliant" (less than 20 grams/liter of VOC) products.
  • Exemption for aerosol adhesives is now limited to a usage of 16 ounces per day.



A study conducted by the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine has found that mothers who live in areas with high levels of air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and ozone were twice as likely to have a child with autism.

Autism is a developmental disorder which causes deficits in communication and social abilities. The Centers for Disease Control reported a 57 percent increase in autism between 2002 and 2006. This study suggests that in addition to genetic factors, environmental factors may be contributing to the rise in autism cases.

Researchers found that living within 309 meters (approximately 1,000 feet) of a freeway at birth was associated with a two-fold increase in autism risk.


IARC Deems Air Pollution a Carcinogen

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (an agency of the World Health Organization) has announced that it has classified outdoor air pollution as "carcinogenic to humans." The IARC concluded that there is "sufficient evidence that exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer." The agency also noted a link between risk of bladder cancer and air pollution exposure. Particulate matter, a major component of outdoor air pollution, was evaluated separately and was also classified as carcinogenic to humans.

According to IARC, the predominant sources of outdoor air pollution are transportation, stationary power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions, and residential heating and cooking. The agency will add air pollution and particulate matter to its list of "Group 1" human carcinogens in the encyclopedia of carcinogens it publishes.


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