New York City DEP Implements Smoke Testing or Stack Testing Requirements for Generators

Earlier this year, New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) amended Title 15 of the Rules of the City of New York to add Chapter 44 titled "Standard Test Procedures to Determine Smoke Emissions from Generators with an Output of 40 kw or More".  This new chapter specifies the method in which newly-installed generators1 (emergency and non-emergency) with a rating of 40 kW or greater (portable and stationary) must meet the equivalent of U.S. EPA Tier 4 particulate matter (PM) standards.  Engines certified as Tier 4 engines per 40 CFR 1039.101 are exempt from conducting the tests upon initial installation.

To demonstrate compliance with the limits for units not certified to the Tier 4 standards, the owner/operator must have either conduct a stack test per US EPA Method 5 PM or, a "smoke test" per US EPA Method 9 (i.e. Opacity Test).  The tests must illustrate that the engine meets the Tier 4 PM limits or has less than 20% opacity for any two consecutive minutes in a 60-minute period.  If a source elects to conduct a stack test, a professional engineer (PE) must certify the test results while opacity testing must be conducted by a "qualified visible emissions evaluator" (i.e. Method 9 Certified).

Although not included in the Chapter 44 explicitly, the NYCDEP online Generator Registration form requires that owners/operators certify that newly installed units which are not certified to meet Tier 4 standards will undergo either a Method 9 or Method 5 PM test within 30 days of filing an initial registration.  Furthermore, any engine (including Tier 4 certified) undergoing a registration renewal requires a Method 9 or Method 5 PM test within 3 months of filing a renewal.

Proof that the generator passed either Method 9 or Method 5 must be submitted to the department upon request.  Generators that require a Certificate of Operation (generators greater than 450 kW) must submit proof that the generator passed either Method 9 or Method 5 with the inspection request application.  All records must be made available for at least five years.

More information can be found on NYCDEP's website announcing the Notice of Adoption of the Final Rule.

Trinity Consultants, Inc. has been providing support to owners and operators of generators in New York City for over ten years and has been tracking the development of Chapter 44 since its proposal, including participating in NYCDEP's public meetings.  We also recently opened an office in Albany, NY and have both a NY registered PE and a Method 9 reader available to support required stack testing or opacity observations at your site within days of your requested service.  For assistance in complying with this regulation and other environmental compliance needs, contact Brian Noel, Trinity's Albany Office Manager.

1  The NYCDEP regulation defines "generator" to mean "any internal combustion engine that operates as a mechanical or electrical power source", effectively combining an engine (which is subject to Tier 4 standards) and the attached generator into a single unit (the "generator") for the purposes of regulating PM and opacity emissions in New York City.