Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Final Boiler MACT - Air Emission Standards

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued final Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators in response to federal court orders requiring the issuance of final standards. In response to a September 2009 court order, EPA issued the proposed rules in April 2010, prompting significant public input. Based on the public input received following the April 2010 proposal, EPA made extensive revisions, and in December 2010 requested additional time for review to ensure the public’s input was fully addressed. The court granted EPA an additional 30 days.

Because the final standards significantly differ from the proposals, EPA believes further public review is required. Therefore, EPA will reconsider the final standards under a Clean Air Act process that allows the agency to seek additional public review and comment to ensure full transparency. EPA’s reconsideration will cover the emissions standards for large and small boilers and for solid waste incinerators.

The final standards require many types of boilers to follow specific work practice standards to reduce emissions. To ensure smooth implementation, EPA is working with the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide facilities impacted by the standards with technical assistance that will help boilers burn cleaner and more efficiently.

The types of boilers and incinerators covered by these updated standards include:

Boilers at large sources of air toxics emissions: It is estimated that the final rules will effect about 13,800 boilers located at large sources of air pollutants, including refineries, chemical plants, and other industrial facilities. These standards will limit emissions of pollutants including mercury, organic air toxics and dioxins at some of these sources.

Boilers located at small sources of air toxics emissions: It is estimated that the final rules will effect about about 187,000 boilers located at small sources of air pollutants, including universities, hospitals, hotels and commercial buildings. The original standards for these have been refined and updated to ensure maximum flexibility for these sources, including for some sources, revising the requirement from maximum achievable control technology to generally available control technology.

Solid waste incinerators: There are estimated to be 88 solid waste incinerators that burn waste at a commercial or an industrial facility, including cement manufacturing facilities. These standards, which facilities will need to meet by 2016 at the latest, will limit emissions of mercury, lead, cadmium, nitrogen dioxide and particles.

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