4 The record articles

Final Risk and Technology Review Rule for Organic Liquids Distribution is Better than Proposal

Posted: March 25th, 2020

Authors: Amy M. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) signed several final Risk and Technology Review (RTR) rules on March 11-12, 2020, including the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for organic liquids distribution (OLD) (non-gasoline) operations (40 CFR Part 63, Subpart EEEE).  The U.S. EPA determined that risks are acceptable for the source category and that the current standards provide an ample margin of safety.  No changes were made to the standards based on the results of the risk review and only one change was made as a result of the technology review.  However, additional changes were made to address rule deficiencies identified by U.S. EPA, including the removal of the startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) provisions, and updates to flare monitoring requirements to address a concern that current flare monitoring requirements may not ensure the level of destruction efficiency needed to conform with the standards (98% destruction).   The compliance date for the final revisions is 3 years from the publication date of the final rule in the Federal Register.

What Wasn’t Finalized?

Multiple industry groups submitted comments on the proposal, which included several changes that would have been costly and onerous to implement.  The final RTR Rule does not include several of the proposed changes, such as leak detection and repair (LDAR) for uncontrolled fixed roof storage tanks, LDAR for connectors, ongoing vapor pressure testing, and ongoing hazardous air pollutant (HAP) content testing.  Because U.S. EPA chose not to finalize these proposed requirements, the proposed option to conduct a fenceline monitoring program in lieu of implementing the proposed more stringent control and LDAR requirements was also not finalized.  As a result, the cost of implementing the final rule was greatly reduced.

Storage Tanks

U.S. EPA finalized only one change to the standards based on the results of the technology portion of the RTR:  revising the average true vapor pressure thresholds requiring control for existing storage tanks to align with those in the Refinery RTR and hazardous organic NESHAP (HON) where the thresholds are lower.  A new Table 2a is included in the rule, which lays out the more stringent thresholds for control.

Start-up Shutdown and Malfunction

U.S. EPA has eliminated the SSM exemptions in the OLD NESHAP and referenced subparts and the standards will apply at all times.  As a result of the removal of the SSM provisions, a standard was added for storage tank degassing, which is currently considered a shutdown activity and covered under facility SSM plans.  The tank degassing standard applies to both fixed and floating roof tanks subject to control requirements: route degassing vapors from the storage tank to a control device or back to the process or fuel gas system until the VOC concentration of the vapor is less than 10 percent of the lower explosive limit (LEL).  U.S. EPA added general duty text to the OLD NESHAP and modified the reporting requirements for failures to meet a standard.  U.S. EPA removed the safety device opening allowance at 40 CFR 63.2346(i) beginning 3 years after promulgation of the final rule.  The 240-hour control device maintenance/bypass allowance was removed for transfer racks and storage tank working losses the allowance was retained for tank breathing losses.


The most significant regulatory revisions are for flares used as control devices.  OLD NESHAP flares will no longer be subject to the Part 60 or 63 general provisions, but will be subject to many of the flare requirements included in the Refinery RTR rule (40 CFR Part 63, Subpart CC).  Flares must operate with a flame at all times and be continuously monitored.  Each 15-minute block where there is at least 1 minute where no flare flame or pilot flame is present when regulated material is routed to the flare will be a deviation from the standard.  Flares must operate with visible emissions no more than 5 minutes in a 2-hour period.  Daily visible emissions monitoring is the continuous compliance method (minimum observation period of 5 minutes using Method 22 or camera), and additional observation periods are required if visible emissions are observed.

U.S. EPA incorporated the 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart CC requirements for maximum flare tip velocity into the OLD NESHAP as a single equation, irrespective of flare type.   The final OLD RTR rule also includes a cross reference to Subpart CC with a single minimum operating limit for the net heating value in the combustion zone gas of 270 Btu/scf during any 15-minute period.  The work practices for emergency flaring that are currently allowed for refinery flares were not incorporated because U.S. EPA does not believe those situations occur at OLD facilities.  Finally, U.S. EPA added regulatory language to clarify overlap of Subpart EEEE with other regulations for flares.

Other Changes

Other changes in the final rule include addition of electronic reporting requirements, clarification that condensate and crude oil are considered to be the same material with respect to OLD applicability, changes to test methods, and changes to address various typographic, grammar, and reference errors.  However, as mentioned above, the final RTR rule is much less burdensome than the proposed rule.

What Should Facilities Subject to the OLD NESHAP do Now?

ALL4 recommends the following:

  • Read the final rule and preamble and understand the impacts on your business.
  • Identify what additional internal and external resources you need to implement the rule.
  • Identify any capital projects that will required for compliance, including upgrades to data acquisition and handling systems and continuous monitoring systems. Develop a timeline and schedule.  Can you accommodate these projects into an already planned outage such that the compliance deadline (3 years from publication of the final rule in the Federal Register) can be met?
  • Identify what air permitting, if any, will need to be completed to support possible capital projects.
  • Determine what additional information must be monitored and recorded to comply with the revised monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.
  • Determine what internal procedures and plans need to be updated as a result of the rule changes.

ALL4 gained valuable learnings when implementing the Refinery RTR flare requirements and can assist OLD facilities with the new flare requirements as needed.  We can also help navigate the new electronic reporting requirements or assist with compliance planning and understanding the new requirements.  Contact Amy Marshall at 984-777-3073 or your ALL4 project manager with questions.


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