An Environmental Newsletter for the Industry
2nd Quarter 1999
As in every year, the South Coast AQMD Annual Emissions Reports should now be prepared for the fiscal year 1998-99. The AQMD is expected to send the forms/software packages to the companies on its mailing list, in the latter part of June 1999. The completed reports are due back at the AQMD by the end of August 1999. Facilities that generate more than four tons of criteria pollutants (Volatile Organic Compounds, Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur Oxides, Particulate matter) emissions and/or any amounts toxic emissions (see AQMD Form TAC for list of toxics) during the year, are expected to file the report.
Companies that are not certain about the exact amount of their annual emissions, should calculate the emissions to determine if filing is necessary. Even if some companies do not receive the package from the AQMD, the responsibility for filing is still theirs. Apparently, some companies have received reporting exemption letters from the AQMD in error. Once again, the companies are responsible for recognizing the error and filing the report.
The annual emissions fees are directly proportional to the amount of emissions. The larger the amount of emissions and the more serious the type of pollutants, the more fees shall be paid.
A substance that is reported under the AQMD Emissions Report, may be reportable on EPA Form "R" as well. In such a case, it is very important that both reports be filed and that the numbers match. Environmental regulatory agencies exchange information regularly. In addition, emission information at the agencies is available to the general public, which could be examined and compared.
The EPA Form R for the calendar year 1998 is due by July 1, 1999. Reporting to the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) is required by section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA, or Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986).
The Pollution Prevention Act, passed into law in October, 1990, added reporting requirements to Form R. These requirements affect all facilities required to submit Form R under section 313 of EPCRA. The data were required beginning with reports for calendar year 1991.
Reporting is required to provide the public with information on the releases of listed toxic chemicals in their communities and to provide EPA with release information to assist the Agency in determining the need for future regulations. Facilities must report the quantities of both routine and accidental releases of listed toxic chemicals, as well as the maximum amount of the listed toxic chemical on-site during the calendar year and the amount contained in wastes managed on-site or transferred off-site.
A completed Form R must be submitted for each toxic chemical manufactured, processed, or otherwise used at each covered facility.
Section 313 of EPCRA requires that reports be filed by owners and operators of facilities that meet all of the following criteria:
The facility has 10 or more full-time employees; and.
The facility is included in Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes 20 through 39; and.
The facility manufactures, processes, or otherwise uses any listed toxic chemical in quantities greater than the established threshold in the course of a calendar year.
EPA Form A was established in 1994 as a simplified form of reporting based on an alternate threshold for facilities with low amounts of a listed toxic chemical in waste. The Form A serves as an alternate to Form R, such that completion of the Form A is in leu of Form R.
Form R (or Form A) must be submitted to the State EPA as well as the Federal EPA.
In an effort to reduce ozone and particulate matter, the EPA is proposing that automakers sell cleaner cars and that refiners produce gasoline with a lower sulfur content. The proposal is based on the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act (CAA) which required a Phase I emission standard for light vehicles and light duty trucks. The standards apply to sport utility vehicles (SUVs), minivans and pick-up trucks. The amendments also added subsection 202(i) which called for a Phase II (or Tier 2) study to investigate the possibility of further reductions and function as the basis for potential revisions to the Phase I standards. The EPA considered elements such as air quality needs, technology availability and cost effectiveness in the study.
Back in July 1998, the agency submitted Tier 2 report to the Congress. The report concluded that more stringent vehicle emission standards are needed to meet the ozone and particulate matter air quality standards and that cost-effective technology is available to meet such standards. The proposal will basically require light duty vehicles and trucks to meet the same emission standards as passenger cars. Car manufacturers and oil refiners must begin achieving the standards for the 2004 vehicle model years. The EPA has proposed these standards now, to give the affected industry sufficient time to comply. The agency has held public workshops and received public comments from the auto industry, the oil industry, the state regulators and the environmental community.
Under this proposal, in 2004, passenger cars will be 77% cleaner than todays cars. Light duty trucks would be 95% cleaner. Unlike in the past, the same emission standards would apply to cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks. The same emission standards would apply to all vehicles, regardless of the type of fuel used. Vehicles fueled by gasoline, diesel, methanol or natural gas must meet the same standards.
Since Sulfur in gasoline reduces the effectiveness of a vehicles emission control system, low Sulfur gasoline is needed to reduce pollution. Thus, the EPA will require refineries to lower the sulfur level in gasoline from the current average of 300 parts per million (ppm) down to 30 ppm by the year 2004. The smaller refineries will be allowed to comply by 2008 and possibly get an extension if economic hardship can be demonstrated. The measure is expected to cost $100 per car and less than $200 per light truck.
Companies are looking into portable analyzers as a compromise between occasional testing by independent laboratories and Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS). Programs such as SCAQMDs RECLAIM for NOx pioneered the concept of equipment verification thus necessitating emission-monitoring devices. Several states, including California, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Louisiana have approved or are in the process of approving portable analyzers for compliance verification.
The Gas Research Institute developed Conditional Test Method CTM-30. In 1998, the U.S. EPA approved the use of portable electrochemical (EC) analyzers for determinations of NOx, CO and O2, utilizing the test method. Companies in many states are using this procedure to meet their air quality needs. Monitoring requirements may vary under local, state or federal regulations. EPA is currently working on guidelines to establish testing frequency. EPA will consider location, permit level, compliance history and process variability.
Battelle in Columbus, Ohio has performed a testing program to verify the operational accuracy of analyzers as approved by EPA procedures. The performance results will be published by EPA in June 1999.
SCAQMD Rule 1401 (New Source Review of Toxic Air Contaminants) applies to new, modified or relocated facilities with toxic emissions. The Rule establishes health risk limits for the facilities. The AQMD Board added Nickel to the Rule, thus making Nickel plating facilities subject to 1401 requirements.
The Board heard testimony on February 12, 1999 regarding the addition of Nickel compounds to Rule 1401. During the public hearing, speakers from the Metal Finishers Association of Southern California (MFASC) commented that there is uncertainty in the scientific community as to whether or not soluble Nickel is a carcinogen. The MFASC stated that inclusion of Nickel in the Rule would have negative economic impacts on the plating industry, especially small businesses. The MFASC pointed out that purchasing control equipment would be an economic burden to the plating industry. The Toxicology Excellence in Risk Assessment (TERA) presented information on their study, which concluded that "the carcinogenicity of soluble Nickel cannot be determined." The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have taken similar positions. The California Air Resources Board and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment were of the view that all forms of Nickel are potential human carcinogens. The Board continued its deliberations to March 12, 1999.
After receiving input from physicians, researchers and environmental groups, the AQMD staff recommended to the Board that soluble Nickel be treated as a carcinogen. The staff believed that the costs expected of the Nickel plating industry were comparable to toxic reduction costs required from other industries. Following the staffs recommendation, Nickel was included in the Rule.
PageNet, Metrocall and SCAQMD have teamed up for a pilot program to alert people of unhealthful air quality. Thus far, over 70 Southland residents participate in what SCAQMD refers to as "the nations first fully automated and personalized system for alerting people to unhealthful air."
The AQMD expects the new paging system to provide timely notice of smog alerts to everybody concerned about air pollution. During the test phase, program volunteers (which include parents with asthmatic children, coaches, school officials and physicians) will receive the service free of charge. If the program succeeds, the service will be made available to individuals for purchase.
The South Coast AQMD is proposing a 2.0 percent increase for some of their fees. The proposal was prompted by an equal increase in the state Consumer Price Index (CPI). Other changes to the fees Rule involve portable equipment covered under the state program, spray booth fees, asbestos and lead demolition fees and fees for interpollutant trades. There are also changes resulting from the modifications to Rule 219 (equipment exempt from permitting). The staff also pointed out that the AQMD is required to update the fees Rule to implement the AB2588 program (Toxics), but there will be no fee increases for that program this year.
Dozens of speakers addressed the SCAQMD Board during the public hearing of May 14, 1999 for Rule 1113, which specifies emission limits for architectural coatings. Proposed rule amendments will require coating VOC contents to be reduced to 100 grams per liter by the year 2006, allowing small businesses an extension to 2008 to comply.
Coating manufacturers testified that compliant coatings have a lot more problems in the field than their higher VOC counterparts. A representative of the Society for Protective Coatings commented that coating suppliers are concerned the proposed amendments will result in a burdensome cost to suppliers and ultimately to the public. The speaker went on to say that currently there are no suitable materials, which comply with the proposed Rule. A speaker from EL RAP (a paint industry association) called the proposal the most drastic and most burdensome amendment ever to be proposed for Rule 1113. During his comments, he stated that the cost of compliance with the Rule is more than the whole affected industry is worth. Other EL RAP representatives called the proposed Rule amendments "cruel" and said that the projected cost of reformulation would be "massive" and 25,000 jobs would be at risk. A provider of low VOC coatings commented that sometimes they feel intimidated to speak out in support of lowering VOC limits because it has been a "hostile environment."
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Coalition for Clean Air took the position that the proposed Rule amendments "do not go far enough to reduce emissions" and allow for extended compliance dates, which should be accelerated. The proposed amendments allow seven years for companies to come into compliance with the new limits. Both entities feel that the compliance period is too long, given the serious air pollution problem in the South Coast Basin and the current availability of compliant coatings.
In a comment letter to SCAQMD, the Air Resources Board supported the proposed amendments, since the overall VOC reductions from architectural coatings would be about 52%.
After taking public comments, the Board approved the new stricter limits. Barry Wallerstein, SCAQMD Executive Officer, said "This is truly a historic moment in the long-term battle for clean air."
As regulations get more stringent, manufacturers of end-of-pipe controls offer more options to their customers. Companies in the chemical process industries will face requirements for Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control VOCs and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). Some MACTs have already been promulgated while others will be in the very near future. Monsanto Enviro-Chem reports that last year they received a wave of orders from companies subject to the MACTs. Monsanto Enviro-Chem projects that demand for air pollution control equipment will peak between 2001 and 2005. The projection is based on the fact that various MACTs will be promulgated in 2002. Regulations are driving the industry to come up with more diverse control options that can accommodate the needs of the end users. Various end-of-pipe control technologies have emerged as a result.
Single Canister Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer
Gas Turbine Oxidizer
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