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New Particulate Matter Emissions Requirements in New York State: Could They Affect Your Facility?

Posted: March 25th, 2021

Authors: John H. 

Effective February 25, 2021, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) finalized proposed revisions to the particulate matter (PM) emissions limits in Title 6, Part 227-1 of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (6 NYCRR 227-1) for stationary combustion installations.  The revisions are intended to help maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM.  However, the rule’s requirements could trigger significant operating, and potentially, capital costs.

KEY CHANGES TO THE RULE

  1. Reduced PM Emissions Limit. The PM limits in the prior version of the rule varied by the heat input of the stationary combustion installation.  For example, the PM limit for a biomass boiler with a rated heat input of 30 million British Thermal Units of heat input per hour (MMBtu/hr) is 0.42 pounds of PM per MMBtu of heat input (lb/MMBtu) and the PM limit for a biomass boiler rated at 10 MMBtu/hr was 0.60 lb/MMBtu of heat input.  The new rule revised these heat input-based emissions limits downward to 0.10 lb/MMBtu of heat input for stationary combustion installations with a maximum heat input capacity equal to or greater than:
    • 1 MMBtu/hr firing any amount of solid fuel (such as biomass); or
    • 50 MMBtu/hr firing oil or oil in combination with other liquid or gaseous fuels.
  1. There is an Exemption. The rule does not apply if a more stringent Federal emissions limit applies.  This is regardless of whether the stationary combustion installation is located at a Major Source or Area Source of Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) emissions.  Consider a new biomass boiler having a heat input equal to or greater than 10 MMBtu/hr and less than 30 MMBtu/hr, located at an Area Source of HAP emissions, and subject to the requirements for a new boiler 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart JJJJJJ (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers Area Sources).  The new boiler would be required by Subpart JJJJJJ to meet a filterable PM limit of 0.07 lb/MMBtu and would therefore have to meet the lower and more stringent, Federal limit instead of the state limit.
  1. Performance Testing. Facilities must perform an initial compliance test to measure filterable PM via U.S. EPA Test Method 5 within six months of commencing operation of a new affected stationary combustion installation and within four years of the promulgation date of the rule change (February 25, 2021) for an existing affected stationary combustion installation.
  1. Monitor Visible Emissions. Facilities must demonstrate compliance with opacity standards using a Continuous Opacity Monitoring System (COMS), U.S. EPA Test Method 9 visible emissions observations, or “testing with any other credible evidence.”  The rule does not further define “testing with any other credible evidence,” but according to personal communication between ALL4 and NYSDEC, it can be addressed with NYSDEC on a case-by-case basis.
  1. Annual Tune-Up. All Facilities must perform a tune-up annually per manufacturer’s recommended procedure or per an approved specialist on their affected stationary combustion installations. 
  1. Aggregation of Combustion Sources. Facilities must aggregate the heat input of stationary combustion installations that share the same stack unless there is an air permit requirement prohibiting simultaneous operation of the stationary combustion installations.  For example, the PM limit of 0.10 lb/MMBtu would apply if a facility was currently operating or planning to install and operate two identical biomass boilers rated at 0.5 MMBtu/hour (heat input) each that operated simultaneously and shared the same stack.

 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

While the proposed revisions will presumably reduce PM emissions released into the atmosphere, they could trigger significant additional compliance costs for existing and proposed stationary combustion installations.  For example, existing biomass boilers equipped with cyclone technology for PM control may have to install more effective PM control equipment such as an Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP) to meet the proposed emissions limit of 0.10 lb/MMBtu.  ESP capital costs could range from $150,000 to $350,000 for the institutional and commercial facilities in New York, and the rule does not include provisions for evaluating the economic feasibility of pollution control equipment.  In addition, facilities will incur the cost of performance testing which could range from $5,000 to $10,000 for a Method 5 test for one stationary combustion installation.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

There is no better time than the present to start planning!  Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Determine if your stationary combustion installation is exempt from the rule.
  2. If your existing or planned stationary combustion installation is not exempt, evaluate whether it will meet the PM emissions limit without additional pollution control such as an ESP.
  3. If your existing or planned stationary combustion installation will not meet the emissions limit without a pollution control device, obtain quotes from pollution control equipment vendors and begin evaluating the cost and technical feasibility of installing pollution control equipment.
  4. Obtain vendor quotes for PM emissions testing, emissions monitoring, and tune-ups. Consider sponsoring in-house training for monitoring and tune-ups (oftentimes, this work does not need to be outsourced).

 

If you have any questions about Part 227-1 changes, please reach out to John Hinckley at jhinckley@all4inc.com or by phone at (802) 359-7294.

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