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CAERS Update for Georgia: Fuel Materials and Best Practices

Posted: April 20th, 2021

Authors: Stacy A. 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) opened the Combined Air Emissions Reporting System (CAERS) for reporting of calendar year (CY) 2020 emissions in Georgia on Monday, March 8th, 2021.  If you are not familiar with CAERS, please check out our other blogs that explain the system, new features for CY2020 reporting, and what U.S. EPA and GEPD have been working on behind the scenes.  If you are already familiar with CAERS, keep on reading to learn what’s new for CY2020 and some of ALL4’s recommended best practices for annual or triennial reporting!

 

New for CY2020: Reporting of Fuel Materials

A new feature for reporting of fuels this year is the incorporation of Fuel Material, Fuel Value (i.e., fuel usage), Heat Content, and unit of measure fields for combustion sources in addition to the existing throughput fields.  Starting in CY2020, combustion sources are required to enter all fuel information, in addition to the emissions unit’s throughput.  However, if your unit’s only throughput is fuel, CAERS has the ability to automatically copy/paste the fuel data as the throughput information and auto-calculate annual emissions.  Two examples of how this feature could or could not be used in your annual reporting are detailed below:

  • If you operate a natural gas-fired package boiler that uses AP-42 emissions factors in terms of million standard cubic feet (MMSCF), you can enter natural gas usage as MMSCF into the fuel fields. Select the “Copy Fuel Data to Throughput Data Fields” button to automatically copy/paste fuel information into the throughput fields and watch as CAERS automatically recalculates your annual emissions based on the new data.
  • If you operate a natural gas-fired wood dryer that uses emissions factors based on the amount of wood dried (i.e., tons of wood), you will enter the natural gas information and usage into the fuel fields. However, you will also enter the annual amount of wood dried into the throughput fields and will not use the “Copy Fuel Data to Throughput Data Fields” button to automatically copy/paste any data.  CAERS will automatically recalculate your annual emissions when you have entered the wood dried throughput into the throughput fields.

Top 3 Best Practices for CAERS Reporting

  1. Immediately perform the CAERS quality assurance check when you start your CY2020 annual emissions reporting.  The errors and warnings displayed by the quality assurance check will be the quickest way to track and make any corrections that are required.
  2. For any errors received during the CAERS quality assurance check, fix errors using the CAERS user interface prior to downloading your facility’s bulk upload template for bulk data entry (i.e., throughputs, emissions factors, annual emissions, etc.).  The CAERS user interface is easier to use for fixing errors because it is better equipped to guide users through fixing errors than the bulk upload template.  Once errors are fixed, the bulk upload template will automatically update to match the current information in CAERS (i.e., errors are corrected) when you generate a bulk upload template for your facility.
  3. You should update the year and operating status in the unit/process description for any new or decommissioned emissions units or processes from CY2020.  If there were no changes from CY2019 reporting, then no updates will be necessary to emissions unit or process status and years.
    • Please note that if an emissions unit or process was decommissioned in CY2020, you must mark the unit as “Permanently Shutdown” for CY2020 and the unit/process can be permanently deleted from CAERS during CY2021 reporting.

As a reminder, annual emissions reports in Georgia are due on June 30th.  However, if you intend to upload your reported air emissions into the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) via CAERS, you should allow yourself ample time to submit the annual emissions report before uploading into TRI, which is due July 1st.

If you have any questions about CAERS or need assistance completing your annual emissions report in CAERS, please reach out to Stacy Arner at sarner@all4inc.com or Andrew Kelley at akelley@all4inc.com.

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