Environmental Compliance - Preparing for Success in 2014



The New Year brings a host of challenges for environmental staff at a typical industrial facility, from routine reporting requirements, to regulatory development tracking, to occasional permitting requirements. To position the facility for a productive and compliant year, the following sections address significant tasks that may require attention and resources in 2014.

Annual Reports

Common annual reporting requirements for a typical industrial facility include the following:

  • Annual or Biennial Waste Reports
  • Tier II
  • Air Emissions Inventory
  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Mandatory Reporting Rule Annual Report
  • Stormwater Permit Reports (e.g., Discharge Monitoring Report, Benchmark Monitoring Report, etc.)
  • Toxic Release Inventory
  • Title V Permit Reports (e.g., Deviation, Annual Compliance Certification, etc.)

Make sure that you have determined and planned for federal and state deadlines for these reports and that you have identified any other requirements that may apply for your facility.  In order to minimize the time and effort spent each year in gathering data, performing calculations, and filling out annual reports, it may be time to consider implementing or upgrading your Environmental Management Information System (EMIS).  While the functionality and platforms of EMIS solutions are varied, most provide several common advantages such as:

  • Streamlining data collection
  • Improving the visibility and documentation of ongoing regulatory tasks
  • Tracking the status of compliance activities
  • Reducing overall compliance costs
Important Regulatory Developments

Among the most widely applicable recent regulatory developments are those affecting oil and gas operations, electric generating units, solid waste incineration units, cement manufacturing operations, and sites with boilers.  Various notification and compliance deadlines occur early and throughout 2014, as summarized below

Oil and Gas Operations
The deadlines for sites subject to New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) Subpart OOOO are imminent:

  • 1/13/2014 – First annual report due date (include Group 1 storage tanks)
  • 4/15/2014 – Potential to Emit (PTE) and compliance due date for Group 2 storage tanks
  • 4/15/2015 – Compliance due date for Group 1 storage tanks

Prior to the Group 2 storage tanks PTE due date (4/15/2014), put into place federally enforceable emission limits for tanks with volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions less than six tons per year (tpy).  Make sure you know how to properly calculate your PTE and establish federally enforceable emission limits.

Electric Generating Units
Are you considering constructing a new electric generating unit (EGU)?  New EGU GHG emission limits have been proposed in NSPS Subpart TTTT.  GHG limits have been proposed for natural gas and coal fired EGU and may apply to some simple cycle combustion turbines depending on the potential electric output. See accompanying article.)

Solid Waste Incineration Units
The Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration (CISWI) NSPSs (Subpart CCCC for new units and Subpart DDDD for existing units) were updated in 2013 and apply to combustion units burning non-hazardous secondary materials (NHSM).  Figure 1 below summarizes federal rule applicability for combustion units burning non-traditional fuels.

EQW14_Success chart

Make sure you know which federal rules apply to your combustion units and if new CISWI emission limits take effect for your units.

Cement Manufacturing Operations
The final amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) Subpart LLL were published in 2013.  By February 2014, cement manufacturing operations will need to implement operation and maintenance (O&M) plans for any open clinker piles at their facilities. The updated O&M plan should then be submitted in their next Title V application/renewal.

Boilers
Facilities that are an area source of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) with a boiler subject to NESHAP Subpart JJJJJJ are subject to the following deadlines:

  • 1/21/2014 – Initial notification due date
  • 3/21/2014 – Existing boilers subject to requirements, comply with work practice or management standards (e.g., complete energy assessment)
  • 7/19/2014 – Submit notification of compliance status 
  • 9/17/2014 – Complete testing for existing units

To meet these various compliance deadlines, the following steps are recommended:

  1. Evaluate emissions relative to limits
    • Identify emissions testing that may be needed
    • Identify emissions reductions and control alternatives
  2. Evaluate monitoring requirements
    • Select continuous monitoring systems
    • Update monitoring plans and recordkeeping
  3. Plan for performance testing, tune-ups, and energy assessments
  4. Plan for notifications
  5. Evaluate permitting requirements
    • New Source Review (NSR) permits
    • Title V permits
Potential GHG Permitting Implications

On 10/15/2013, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear challenges raised by states and industry groups to the GHG Tailoring Rule.  The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether regulating GHG emissions from vehicles necessarily triggers requirement for stationary sources to obtain permits.  A decision should be forthcoming in 2014.

On 7/21/2011, the U.S. EPA issued a 3-year deferral from the Tailoring Rule for biogenic GHG emissions.  The deferral had the two-part effect of: 1) delaying Title V requirements for biogenic GHG emissions, and 2) exempting sources from PSD permitting requirements for biogenic GHG emissions.  On 7/12/2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC Circuit) vacated the biogenic GHG deferral from permitting requirements.  The DC Circuit ruled that EPA did not have authority to treat biogenic GHG emissions differently than other NSR regulated pollutants.  The court has yet to issue the mandate; thus, the ruling is not yet in effect.

EQW14_Success image

If the vacatur of the biogenic GHG deferral stands, facilities that used the exemption to avoid major NSR permitting will likely be required to obtain retroactive major NSR permits.  Facilities that used the exemption to avoid Title V permitting will need to determine if a Title V permit is required.  All facilities will need to include biogenic GHG in major source determinations.

Planning New Construction in 2014?

If you have new projects planned for this year, there are new permitting requirements that may impact your permitting timeline and cost.  New projects involving increases in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5) are subject to new, more stringent National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) that are challenging to meet for many facilities.  New, lower NAAQS also mean new attainment designations have been or will be made for each state.

In addition to the new, lower NAAQS, the DC Circuit court vacated the U.S. EPA significant impact level (SIL) and significant monitoring concentration (SMC) for PM2.5.  The SIL is used to determine the scope of an air quality analysis and the SMC is used to exempt sources from collecting pre-construction ambient monitoring data.  The Court ruled that permitting authorities should not allow automatic exemptions for projects with PM2.5 impacts. A screening modeling analysis during project planning can be useful to determine the estimated scope and timeline necessary for demonstrating compliance with the new NAAQS.

Compliance Concerns?  Consider an Audit

An audit can be beneficial for number of reasons but can be especially pertinent in these scenarios:

  • Newly acquired asset
  • Prior to sale of an asset
  • New management team in place
  • Found one problem; are there others?
  • Transaction where affirmative statements must be made
  • Reducing insurance costs

The issues highlighted herein are, of course, just a sample of the regulatory issues that you may be facing in 2014.  For assistance with these or other environmental regulatory requirements, contact your local Trinity office or call (800) 229-6655.