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CAERS Update for Georgia: Bulk Upload Templates

Posted: May 14th, 2020

Authors: Andrew K. 
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Facilities in Georgia subject to annual air emission inventory reporting requirements are working through the challenges of a new reporting system.  The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) is participating as a pilot state for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).  Facilities are required to utilize the “Combined Air Emissions Reporting System” (CAERS) within U.S. EPA Central Data Exchange (CDX) to report 2019 annual air emissions.  Check out Caleb Fetner’s blog post, “Combined Air Emissions Reporting: Coming to a State Near You!” for more details on CAERS.   As ALL4 continues to utilize CAERS, we will provide updates, tips, and tricks regarding the system.

CAERS has two methods of reporting emissions data, bulk upload via spreadsheet template or manual entry in the CAERS portal.  It is anticipated that spreadsheet templates will be created using 2018 facility information and made available to each facility in early May.  However, these templates will require some additional information before they will be ready for bulk upload.  A new feature of CAERS is mapping the control pathway [i.e., mapping emissions from an emissions source through a control device(s) and out a release point(s)].  This can either be completed in the spreadsheet template or manual entry in the CAERS portal.  Based on ALL4’s experience in CAERS so far, mapping the control pathway is one of the more time-consuming tasks in using the new system.  Using the CAERS portal for this task appears to be more efficient than utilizing the bulk upload feature.  Once the control pathway has been created for future reporting cycles, the bulk upload feature may be the route to go. It is noted that using the bulk upload feature will override any report or edits have been started in the CAERS portal, as the system will default to what is in the spreadsheet template.  Based on ALL4’s experience, it is best to use one method all the way through to prevent any data loss.

CAERS will also have a bulk download feature available in future reporting periods to gather facility and emissions information from the previous reporting year and compiling it into a spreadsheet template as announced in a recent U.S. EPA training webinar.  This will allow for efficient and simplistic updating of facility and emissions information within a CAERS-friendly format.  After the spreadsheet template is updated by the facility, the preparer can easily begin a new emissions inventory report by utilizing the bulk upload feature.  After the spreadsheet template is uploaded, CAERS has a series of quality control checks.  An initial checkpoint will review the spreadsheet to ensure the proper cells are completed and the system provides details regarding the tab and cell that needs editing.  A second quality checkpoint will review the data before it is ready for submittal.  The quality checkpoint can give you two notifications, warnings and errors.  A warning notification will direct you to check data but will not prevent you from submitting the report.  An example of a warning can be the emissions for NOx for an emissions unit is the same as last year, suggesting it may not have been updated.  An error notification will not allow you to submit until each error has been addressed.  An example of an error notification can be the unit of measurement for throughput and the emissions factor do not match, so emissions could not be calculated.

Please be sure to check out ALL4’s CAERS webcast to learn more about the system and big picture watch outs as more of your Facility’s data exist on the CDX.  If you would like more information on how to get started in CAERS or questions as you use the system, please reach out to me at akelley@all4inc.com or at 678-460-0324 ext. 217.

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