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California Environmental News

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USEPA Proposes Reclassification of SJVAPCD from Moderate to Serious Nonattainment for the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS

Friday, January 23, 2015

USEPA has proposed to reclassify the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) Moderate nonattainment area to a Serious nonattainment area for both the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), based on USEPA’s determination that these standards will not be met by the applicable attainment dates. If finalized, reclassification would trigger additional nonattainment planning requirements. USEPA is currently accepting comments from the public on these proposals.

The proposal to reclassify SJV as a Serious nonattainment area for 1997 PM2.5 standards was issued January 12, 2015 (80 FR 1482), and the proposal regarding reclassification of 2006 PM2.5 standard to Serious nonattainment was issued January 13, 2015 (80 FR 1816). SJV is currently classified as a Moderate nonattainment area for the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard (15.0 µg/m3), the 1997 24-hour PM2.5 standard (65 µg/m3), and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard (35 µg/m3). The applicable attainment date for SJV to meet the standards is currently April 5, 2015 for the 1997 standards, and December 31, 2015 for the 2006 standard. However, USEPA has determined that the area cannot attain the 1997 annual or 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standards by the applicable dates. Therefore, USEPA proposed to reclassify SJV as a Serious nonattainment area.

If these proposals are finalized, California will be required to submit State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions to demonstrate that the plan provides for attainment of the 1997 standards by December 31, 2015, and attainment of the 2006 standard by December 31, 2019. However, the state may apply for an extension of these dates by up to 5 years. The Serious nonattainment area SIP submittal will include several changes, including revision of SJVAPCD’s New Source Review (NSR) Rule to lower the applicable major stationary source threshold for PM2.5 from 100 tpy to 70 tpy. Additionally, the revised SIP will include provisions to assure that best available control measures (BACM) are implemented for PM2.5 and its precursors. Therefore, PM2.5 control requirements within the District may become more stringent.

Comments regarding the proposal to reclassify the 1997 standard must be received by February 11, 2015, and by February 27, 2015 for the 2006 standard. More information can be found here.

ARB’s 2013 Consumer and Commercial Products Survey

Friday, January 23, 2015

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is conducting a mandatory 2013 Consumer and Commercial Products Survey to gather data regarding consumer and commercial products that were supplied or sold for use in California during calendar year 2013. The main objective of the survey is to establish the scientific foundation for new State Implementation Plans (SIPs) that address additional reduction of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions necessary to meet the new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).

Surveys must be submitted by March 2, 2015 and can be completed via the new electronic Consumer Products Reporting Tool (CPRT). The CPRT, survey instructions regarding data entry, and more information on the Survey can be found here.

For more information or assistance regarding this survey, contact Trinity at (949) 567-9880.

USEPA proposes to Approve SJVAPCD SIP Revisions for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS

Friday, January 23, 2015

On January 13, 2015, USEPA proposed to approve San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s (SJVAPCD) revisions to California’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) addressing Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements for the PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), with exception of interpollutant trading ratios identified in these SIP submittals. SJV is currently classified as a Moderate nonattainment area for the PM2.5 NAAQS standards though USEPA has proposed to reclassify it as a Serious nonattainment area. Moderate nonattainment areas must have a SIP containing a Moderate nonattainment plan for the SJV area to provide for attainment of the standards. The SIP revisions discussed in USEPA’s proposal are the 2012 PM2.5 plan, submitted March 4, 2013, and the Supplement, submitted November 6, 2014.

Additionally, finalization of this proposal would mean that the PM2.5 interpollutant trading ratios for nonattainment new source review (NNSR) would be disapproved. The CAA NNSR program requires that emissions from new or modified major stationary sources in nonattainment areas be offset by providing emissions reductions from the same or other sources in the area. USEPA may allow for interpollutant offsets, meaning that emissions of PM2.5 may be offset by reductions in a precursor, or emissions of a PM2.5 precursor may be offset by reductions in PM2.5 or a different PM2.5 precursor. The proposed ratios in the 2012 PM2.5 plan are 5.3 tpd of NOX emission reductions or 4.1 tpd of SOX emissions to offset 1 tpd of direct PM2.5 emission increase. However, USEPA is proposing to disapprove these proposed interpollutant offset ratios due to inadequacies in the technical demonstration and related documentation of the ratios. Therefore, upon finalization of USEPA’s proposal, these interpollutant offset ratios will not be allowed for the purposes of offsetting PM2.5 emissions from stationary sources within SJV.

Comments regarding this proposal must be received by February 27, 2015. More information can be found here.

Ventura County APCD Proposed Revisions to Rule 74.15.1- Boilers, Steam Generators, and Process Heaters

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (VCAPCD) is proposing revisions to Rule 74.15.1 Boilers, Steam Generators, and Process Heaters, in order to reduce Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) emissions to help attain the state ambient ozone air quality standards. This rule applies to boilers, steam generators, and process heaters with a rated heat input capacity below 5 million BTUs per hour and greater than or equal to 1 million BTUs per hour.

The proposed changes to this rule include more strict NOx emission limits of 12 ppm for natural gas fired units using atmospheric combustion and 9 ppm for all other natural gas fired units. Atmospheric combustion includes units using a non-sealed combustion chamber where natural draft is used to exhaust gases. These lower limits will only apply to new or replaced boilers, steam generators and process heaters with ratings between 2 and 5 million BTUs per hour and the limitations will become effective January 1, 2016. The lower NOx limit has the potential to affect approximately 44 existing emission units within VCAPCD jurisdiction upon replacement.

The rule revision includes new emission screening deadlines and additional methods for submitting notifications to VCAPCD. An alternative test method has also been added, which allows the use of South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Compliance Protocol, found here. Additional exemptions have been updated to include units fired by landfill gas, biogas, or liquefied petroleum gas, and certain portable combustion equipment. Staff is also proposing to update the definition of process heater to exclude certain combustion equipment. Click here to see the list of potential exempt equipment.

VCAPCD will be holding a public consultation meeting regarding the proposed revisions to this rule on February 12, 2015 at 10 am. For more information regarding future compliance with this rule and the public consultation meeting, please contact our office at (949) 567-9880 or click here for more information.

ARB Consumer and Commercial Products Survey

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is conducting a Consumer and Commercial Products Survey to update the state’s consumer products inventory and help determine emission inventories. The main objective of the survey is establish the scientific foundation for new State Implementation Plans (SIPs) that address additional reduction of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) necessary to meet the new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). This survey is mandatory for all entities listed on any consumer and commercial products sold or supplied for use in California during calendar years 2013 through 2015 and on the List of Survey Categories. Information regarding the types of products, formulations, ingredients, and packaging is required for the survey. Surveys must be submitted by March 2, 2015 and can be completed via an online reporting tool created by ARB. The survey can be completed manually or using an excel import template.

Since the public workshop notice in May 2014, ARB has been updating its progress and activities on its website. As of November 18, 2014, ARB has posted a compilation of the most frequently asked questions regarding the survey requirements, in addition to an example of the completed Consumer Product Reporting Tool (CPRT) Import Template. ARB plans to conduct a webinar to review the CPRT data upload for the subject reporting entities on December 15, 2014. To register for the webinar, click here.

For more information or assistance regarding this survey, contact Trinity at (949) 567-9880.

SJVAPCD Launches Permit Administration System

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) is improving its ability to allow permittees access to their own records as maintained by SJVAPCD. SJVAPCD is currently undergoing a soft launch of the Permit Administration System (PAS) web portal to the permitted population. The PAS web portal allows permittees and those designated by the permittee access to historical documents such as applications for construction or Title V permits, district engineering evaluations for historical permitting actions, issued permits, inspection documents, breakdown and deviation reports, reported source test documents, and other compliance related submissions and correspondence. The PAS web portal is also designed to allow facilities to immediately generate and submit breakdown and deviation reports. The ability to submit breakdown and deviation reports via the web portal will be especially advantageous to permittees required to report within one hour of breakdown discovery. Using this system, permittees may print out the deviation/breakdown report, complete the certification of truth and accuracy, and mail to SJVAPCD to meet the 10 day notification compliance requirement.

Historical documents and breakdown/deviation reports are all currently available, with granted access, through the PAS web portal. SJVAPCD hopes to add other features for report submission in the future. Such features may include the capability to submit annual compliance certifications, reports of required monitoring (RRM), and possibly provide signature on submitted reports as well. The system is currently in its initial stages and SJVAPCD is working through any issues as they arise.

If you are interested in having access to the PAS web portal, and/or interested in giving your contact at Trinity access for your facility, contact Nick Peirce, Permit Services Manager-Northern Region, at (209) 557-6447 or Nick.Peirce@valleyair.org. Mr. Peirce requires the facility identification number, and a list of names, phone numbers, and emails of people for whom the permittee would like to designate access. Those designated by the facility will receive an email with a link and temporary password to gain access to the PAS web portal.