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New York State Proposed Particulate Matter Emission Limits – Could they Affect your Facility?

Posted: September 1st, 2020

Authors: John H. 

In October 2019, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) proposed to revise 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.  If promulgated as proposed, the revisions could trigger the installation of advanced emissions control equipment for fuel burning equipment such as biomass-fired boilers (biomass boilers).  6 NYCRR 227-1 was last changed in 1971 and the proposed revisions are likely to be finalized near the end of September 2020.  The revisions are intended to help maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM and to meet regional haze requirements that will be incorporated into New York’s State Implementation Plan (SIP).

KEY CHANGES TO THE RULE

1. Revised PM Emissions Limit. The PM limits in the current rule vary 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 is 0.60 lb/MMBtu of heat input. The proposed rule revises these and other PM 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:

a. 1 MMBtu/hr firing any amount of solid fuel (such as biomass); or
b. 50 MMBtu/hr firing oil or oil in combination with other liquid or gaseous fuels.

The emissions limit 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, to be located at an Area Source of HAP emissions, and Subject to 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 to meet a filterable PM limit of 0.07 lb/MMBtu and would therefore have to meet the lower and more stringent, Federal limit.

2. Aggregation of Combustion Sources. The proposed rule requires facilities to 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 each that operated simultaneously and shared the same stack.

3. Performance Testing. The proposed rule requires facilities to 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 two years of the promulgation date of the rule change for an existing affected stationary combustion installation.

4. Monitor Visible Emissions. The proposed rule requires facilities to 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.”

5. Fuel Sulfur Requirements. There are some affected stationary combustion installations that have fuel sulfur requirements under the rule. Depending on the heat input capacity, stationary combustion installations firing oil or oil in combination (with other liquid or gaseous fuels) must keep vendor certified fuel receipts with the sulfur content complying with 6 NYCRR Subpart 225-1.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

While the proposed revisions will presumably help reduce PM emissions released into the atmosphere, they could trigger additional compliance costs for existing and proposed facilities.  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. According to the NYSDEC regulatory impact summary, adding an ESP to a 10 MMBtu/hr biomass boiler could initially cost $60,000 to $175,000 and have operating costs of $1,000 to $3,000 per year.  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.  However, the proposed rule does not include provisions for evaluating the economic feasibility of pollution control equipment.

If you have any questions about Part 227-1 changes, please reach out to John Hinckley at jhinckley@all4inc.com or by phone at (610) 422-1178.

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