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Proposed Amendments to the Massachusetts RACT Regulations

Posted: May 11th, 2017

Authors: Christine C. 

In August 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) proposed amendments to 310 CMR §7.00 – Air Pollution Control, including amendments to the Massachusetts Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) regulations for sources of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and sources of volatile organic compounds (VOC).  The proposed amendments can be viewed here. The Massachusetts NOX RACT regulations are codified at 310 CMR §7.19 and the RACT requirements for specific sources of VOC are codified at 310 CMR §7.18.

310 CMR §7.19 –RACT for Sources of NOX

The regulations codified at 310 CMR §7.19 apply to major facilities, meaning facility-wide potential NOX emissions are 50 tons per year (tpy) or more.  In order to comply with obligations to meet the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA’s) 2008 and 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, MassDEP has proposed amendments to the NOX RACT emissions limits for large boilers, stationary combustion turbines (CTs), and stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) that meet the following criteria:

  • Large boilers [i.e., greater than or equal to 100 million British thermal units per hour (MMBtu/hr)] that operate with a capacity factor greater than or equal to 10%, averaged over the most recent three years of operation.
  • Stationary CTs that operate with a capacity factor greater than or equal to 10%, averaged over the most recent three years of operation.
  • Stationary RICE that operate greater than or equal to 1,000 hours per year.

If NOX emissions control needs to be installed to meet the applicable NOX RACT emissions limit, an Emissions Control Plan must be submitted to MassDEP within 180 days of the promulgation date of the amended NOX RACT regulations.  The proposed rule includes an option to apply for an alternative source-specific NOX RACT emissions limit if a facility cannot meet the emissions limit specified in 310 CMR §7.19.  Sixteen NOX control technologies or techniques are identified at 310 CMR §7.19(2)(b) that must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for both technical and economic feasibility if a source-specific RACT evaluation is conducted.  The source-specific RACT evaluation must be included in the facility’s Emissions Control Plan.

Affected facilities must be in compliance with the amended NOX RACT requirements two years after the date of promulgation.  If a previously exempted large boiler or stationary CT exceeds the 10% annual capacity factor or if a previously exempted stationary RICE exceeds 1,000 hours per year of operation, an Emissions Control Plan is due to MassDEP within 180 days of promulgation and the source must comply with the applicable RACT regulations by the date two years after such an occurrence.

310 CMR §7.18 – Volatile and Halogenated Organic Compounds

MassDEP has proposed amendments to the Massachusetts VOC RACT regulations consistent with the more stringent emissions limits and work practice requirements identified in several U.S. EPA Control Technique Guidelines (CTGs) published in 2006, 2007, and 2008.  Applicability to the amended VOC RACT regulations is triggered when the source emits the greater of 15 pounds of VOC per day or 3 tons of VOC per rolling 12-month period.

Consistent with the revised U.S. EPA CTGs, MassDEP is proposing revisions to the existing RACT regulations for the following source categories,

  • Metal Furniture Surface Coating – 310 CMR §7.18(3)
  • Large Appliance Surface Coating – 310 CMR §7.18(5)
  • Surface Coating of Miscellaneous Metal Parts and Products – 310 CMR §7.18(11)
  • Packaging Rotogravure and Packaging Flexographic Printing – 310 CMR §7.18(12)
  • Paper, Film, and Foil Surface Coating – 310 CMR §7.18(14)
  • Surface Coating of Plastic Parts – 310 CMR §7.18(21)
  • Flat Wood Paneling Surface Coating – 310 CMR §7.18(24)
  • Offset Lithographic Printing and Letterpress Printing – 310 CMR §7.18(25)

In addition, MassDEP has developed new regulations for two VOC source categories that will become subject to VOC RACT:

  • Industrial Cleaning Solvents – 310 CMR §7.18(31)
  • Fiberglass Boat Manufacturing – 310 CMR §7.18(32)

Finally, MassDEP is proposing to delete the following regulations because there are no longer any facilities in Massachusetts that are affected facilities under the regulation.  For any new facilities that would potentially fall under the following source categories, Best Available Control Technology (BACT) would be required and therefore, the RACT regulations will not be applicable.

  • Automobile Surface Coating – 310 CMR §7.18(7)
  • Portions of 310 CMR §7.18(21) that are applicable to plastic parts coating operations with the potential to emit (PTE) 50 tpy or more of VOC

Rather than meeting the applicable VOC emissions limit, owners and operators may choose to install a VOC control device that achieves a VOC control efficiency of 90% by weight as an alternate pathway for compliance.  If choosing this option, an Emissions Control Plan is required to be submitted within 180 days of the promulgation date of the amended VOC RACT regulations.  Affected facilities must be in compliance with the amended VOC RACT emissions limits two years after the date of promulgation (with the option to request an extension of up to one year).  Compliance with the VOC RACT work practice standards is required immediately upon the date of promulgation of the amended VOC RACT regulations.

The proposed revisions to the Massachusetts NOX and VOC RACT regulations are anticipated to be finalized in the near future and will affect a broad range of existing facilities.  Affected facilities should immediately begin to develop an understanding regarding how the amended RACT regulations will impact their operations and begin planning to meet the aggressive compliance schedule.  ALL4 can help you evaluate rule applicability, develop Emissions Control Plans, and evaluate alternative RACT approaches on a case-by-case basis.  If you have questions about how these amendments will affect you and what the next steps towards compliance will be for your facility, please contact me at (610) 933-5246, extension 155, or at cchinofsky@all4inc.com.


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