Effects on Ethanol: Change in Chemical Process Plant Definition



On July 22nd, 2015, the WDNR posted guidance relating to changing the definition of "chemical process plants" in the Wisconsin Administrative Code to exclude ethanol production facilities. This change follows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2007 update to the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), Nonattainment New Source Review (NSR), and Title V regulations to exclude ethanol production facilities from the definition of "chemical process plants" in the PSD source categories. The immediate impact for ethanol production facilities is that PSD permitting thresholds increase from 100 tons per year of a criteria pollutant to 250 tons per year. Additionally, fugitive emissions from ethanol production facilities don't need to be included when determining emission thresholds for PSD or Title V.

As it currently stands, existing permit limits and requirements remain in effect and are enforceable until they are removed through a permit modification or revision. Additionally, emission limits established after August 1, 2008, which were taken to avoid PSD may be moved through appropriate construction permit actions. However, any emissions increases must still be shown not to cause or exacerbate a violation of the national ambient air quality standards and meet all applicable requirements under New Source Performance Standards, National Emissions Standards of Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), and state codes.

The comment period is closed for this proposed program guidance, and the final guidance is being drafted. If you have any questions about the proposed guidance or need help revising your facility permit with this definition change, please contact Jon Frost at jfrost@trinityconsultants.com or at (651) 275-9900 x6.