4 The record articles

PC MACT Carousel

Posted: July 25th, 2017

Author: All4 Staff 

This article is available as a podcast episode on ALL4’s Air Quality Insider

Today (July 25th) is National Carousel Day.  Ironically, it is also the expiration date of the original 1-year additional compliance alternative for sources required to use a hydrogen chloride (HCl) continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) to demonstrate compliance with the Portland Cement MACT (i.e., PC MACT or 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart LLL) HCl emission limit.  What is the correlation you ask?  Let me explain…

If you have been following the PC MACT since its promulgation, it has been quite the “ride” and it is not quite done yet.  To fully illustrate my point, here is a historical timeline for PC MACT:

  • Promulgation (original rule) – June 14, 1999

  • New rule issued – September 9, 2010

  • Decision on PCA vs. EPA – December 9, 2011

    • Invalidated and delayed the implementation of the new rule
  • Final rule amendments effective – February 12, 2013

    • Set a new compliance date of September 9, 2015
    • General provisions allowed for up to one additional year to comply with the standard (September 9, 2016) upon request
  • Final Amendments – July 27, 2015

    • Upheld the compliance date of September 9, 2015/September 9, 2016
  • Direct Final Amendment – July 14, 2016

    • Allowed for an alternative compliance demonstration for HCl CEMS until July 25, 2017
  • Final Rule – June 23, 2017

    • Extended alternative compliance demonstration for HCl CEMS until the calibration gases become “readily available”

Round and Round

The compliance date for HCl CEMS has been revised over the last seven years mostly because of litigation.  Earthjustice, in its June 29, 2017 comments has already voiced its opinion that the “absence of explanation and record support renders EPA’s decision to further postpone the use of CEMS to monitor compliance arbitrary and capricious.  Further, even assuming that some further extension is necessary, EPA provides no support or explanation for its decision to provide an indefinite extension rather than a time-limited extension, as it did in 2016.”  Therefore, it likely that another litigation may be imminent, thus continuing the circle (or carousel) for a finite PC MACT compliance date.

Up and Down

In addition to litigation, the compliance date has also been extended twice because of the lack of availability of HCl CEMS calibration gases.  As of the date of this Blog, it is my understanding that only low-range calibration gases are available for HCl CEMS, thus, the indeterminant date in the latest final rulemaking.  Maybe this is more of the horse before the cart, but for now I’ll consider it the ups and downs of the PC MACT carousel.

Grab the Brass Ring

So now is the time to grab the brass ring and be ahead of the curve.  Given the uncertainty of when calibration gases will become “readily available”, it is encouraged that cement plants stay informed on the rule and gas availability as well as have compliance plans ready.   My ALL4 colleagues and I have been following PC MACT since its promulgation and know how to keep you in compliance.  If you have any questions on PC MACT or any air quality regulation, please contact us at 610.933.5246.


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