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Five Things to Consider Before the January 31, 2016 Major Source Boiler MACT Compliance Date

Posted: August 19th, 2015

Author: All4 Staff 

You’ve determined whether your boilers or process heaters are subject to emissions limits, and if so, whether your affected sources can meet those limits.  If not, you’ve evaluated options for reducing emissions so that they can meet those limits.  You’ve received approval from your local air permitting authority to make the necessary changes.  Your project is moving along and you’re getting closer and closer to the finish line.  January 31, 2016 is right around the corner now, but there is still much to be done.  Here are five things to consider before the compliance date.

1.  There is still time to receive a 1-year extension to the compliance date.

Is your emissions reduction project taking a little longer than expected?  As long as you are installing air pollution controls or replacing your boilers, you are eligible for a 1-year extension to the January 31, 2016 compliance date.1  Although it’s not a guarantee, most permitting authorities will grant a valid extension request without question.  To request the extension, submit a written request to your local air permitting authority with your justification for the extension no later than 120 days prior to the January 31, 2016 compliance date (i.e., by October 3, 2015).  Remember, the justification for the extension should be “nonfrivolous” and for purposes of installing air pollution controls or replacing your boilers – it cannot be simply due to rule uncertainty (more on that later).2  Doesn’t January 31, 2017 sound nice?

1 See 78 FR 7143 and §63.6(i)(4)(i)(A).
2 See §63.6(i)(4)(i)(B).

2.  Compliance plans must be in place 60 days prior to conducting your performance test, fuel sampling, and/or performance evaluation(s).

If your boilers or process heaters are subject to emissions limits, you will need to develop at least two types of compliance plans, and potentially more depending on your selected method(s) for demonstrating compliance.  If you will be demonstrating compliance by conducting a performance test, you will need a Performance Test Plan, and if your compliance program requires fuel sampling (either as part of a performance test or if you are using fuel sampling in lieu of performance testing), you will need a Fuel Monitoring Plan.  Ongoing monitoring (e.g., via CEMS, COMS, CPMS1) will require a performance evaluation and an associated Monitoring Plan.

These plans need to be submitted only upon request (at least 60 days prior to conducting the given compliance demonstration; unless using an alternative analytical method for fuel sampling, in which case it must be submitted for approval).  Therefore, these plans must be prepared and “at the ready” to be submitted sooner than at least 60 days prior to conducting the initial compliance demonstration.

If you will be utilizing emissions averaging or efficiency credits to demonstrate compliance, you will need an Emissions Averaging Plan and an Energy Efficiency Implementation Plan, respectively.  Last but not least, the proposed reconsiderations to the rule contain a requirement to develop a Startup and Shutdown Plan.  Check out our Boiler MACT Compliance Plan Worksheet, and head on over to Susie’s 4 The Record article for more information.

1 CEMS = Continuous Emissions Monitoring System; COMS = Continuous Opacity Monitoring System; CPMS = Continuous Parametric Monitoring System.

3.  Performance test results must be submitted to U.S. EPA electronically.

Once you’ve conducted your performance test and/or fuel sampling, you will need to use U.S. EPA’s Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface (CEDRI), accessed through their Central Data Exchange (CDX), to submit your results to their WebFIRE database in a file format generated by using their Electronic Reporting Tool (ERT).  Sounds simple enough, right?  We didn’t think so, either.  Results must be submitted within 60 days after the completion of performance tests, so give yourself as much time as possible to complete this step, and contact us for support.  This information just scratches the surface of submitting electronic data to U.S. EPA, so check out Sean’s blog post for more details.  Looking for more on the performance test itself?  Chuck’s head is spinning, too.

4.  The Notification of Compliance Status is due no more than 60 days after all affected sources have demonstrated compliance.

Here is some potentially good news.  Let’s say you have two affected sources with the 1-year extension and three affected sources that do not.  U.S. EPA has confirmed that the Notification of Compliance Status (NOCS) must be submitted no more than 60 days after the completion of the compliance demonstrations for the last affected source, even those with a 1-year extension, based on the following language from the rule (emphasis added):

§63.7545(e) If you are required to conduct an initial compliance demonstration as specified in §63.7530, you must submit a Notification of Compliance Status according to §63.9(h)(2)(ii). For the initial compliance demonstration for each boiler or process heater, you must submit the Notification of Compliance Status, including all performance test results and fuel analyses, before the close of business on the 60th day following the completion of all performance test and/or other initial compliance demonstrations for all boiler or process heaters at the facility according to §63.10(d)(2). The Notification of Compliance Status report must contain all the information specified in paragraphs (e)(1) through (8), as applicable. If you are not required to conduct an initial compliance demonstration as specified in §63.7530(a), the Notification of Compliance Status must only contain the information specified in paragraphs (e)(1) and (8).

Sources without a 1-year extension must still demonstrate compliance by the original applicable deadlines; however, the NOCS for all affected sources need not be submitted until 60 days after the final initial compliance demonstration is complete.

5.  The rule may change right before or even after the compliance date.

As I alluded to earlier, there are still proposed reconsiderations out there for Major Source Boiler MACT (as well as Area Source Boiler MACT and the CISWI1 rule for that matter).  Due to U.S. EPA’s focus on the Clean Power Plan, we have learned that the proposed reconsiderations may not be finalized until close to, or even after, the January 31, 2016 Major Source compliance date.  The proposed reconsiderations could impact startup and shutdown provisions, excursions when utilizing a particulate matter (PM) CPMS, and the carbon monoxide (CO) emissions limit for certain boilers.  Learn more by reading Mark’s blog post on the subject.

Given the uncertainty around the potential changes, facilities may be forced to prepare for these proposed changes, even though they may not be finalized as proposed.  We’ll keep you posted on updates to the timeline as they are available.

1 CISWI = Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incinerator

These are just five of the many things to consider as we get closer and closer to the Major Source Boiler MACT compliance date.  Have you conducted your energy assessments and initial tune-ups?  Will you be testing before January 31, 2016 or within the allowable 180 days after that date (i.e., by July 29, 2016)?  What else have you learned during your Boiler MACT journey?  Let me know in the comments, and don’t hesitate to give me a call with any questions about the information presented here.

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