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RACT III – Status Update and Compliance Considerations

Posted: June 2nd, 2021

Authors: Megan S. 

On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, PADEP’s Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) rule (referred to herein the RACT III Rule) went to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) for review and approval.  The proposed draft version of the rule as well as the executive summary, preamble, regulatory analysis form, and technical support document are all posted on the EQB’s website.  The proposed rulemaking was adopted by EQB on May 19, 2021.

The best way to impact change or request clarification to the RACT III Rule is to go through the official public commenting process.  We encourage our clients to start evaluating the impacts of the new proposed RACT III Rule on their facility and consider preparing comments for submittal during the upcoming public comment period.  Note that the proposed schedule included a recommended 60-day public comment period, an expected date of the final-form regulation of 1st Quarter 2022, and a compliance date of January 1, 2023.

ALL4’s Continuous Monitoring System (CMS) Tech Team has reviewed the draft version of the proposed RACT III Rule and is currently evaluating the impacts as it relates to our Pennsylvania clients.  As a member of the CMS Tech Team, I am personally interested in changes related to compliance using continuous monitoring.  As such, I wanted to share one of the main monitoring considerations noted in the latest version of the proposed RACT III Rule:

  • There are new daily averages proposed for specific combustion units and process heaters with continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS). The daily average would replace the current 30-operating day rolling average specified in the RACT II Rule for this set of units.  If you have a unit that would be subject to a daily average, would you be able to maintain continuous compliance under this shorter averaging period?  To answer that question, you’d first have to determine how to calculate and validate the new daily average.
    • Definition?
      • Unlike the 30-operating day rolling average, the daily average is not currently defined in the proposed rule. Is it a calendar day or 24-hour rolling average?
    • Calculation?
      • Since no definition has been proposed at this point, will it be a daily arithmetic average of emissions rates (lb/MMBtu) or will it be the daily sum of NOx mass divided by the daily sum of heat input similar to the current 30-operating day rolling average calculation methodology?
    • Validation?
      • If it is a daily average of emissions rates, is there a certain number of valid hours needed in the day to be able to calculate a valid daily average (e.g., Continuous Source Monitoring Manual (CSMM) Revision 8 currently requires 18 valid hourly averages to calculate a valid daily average)?    OR-
      • If it is a daily sum of NOx mass divided by a daily sum of heat input, would a day that had only one hour of unit operation (likely containing startup or shutdown emissions) be used for compliance with the daily average limit. This could provide a challenge for facilities to demonstrate compliance.

Based on the above example alone, there are uncertainties that could have impacts on facility compliance using CEMS for RACT III compliance.  The good news is that you already have historical CEMS data.  Our recommendation is to start looking at your data now.  If you anticipate emissions units at your facility are subject to this new daily average, do any considerations listed above have an impact on whether or not you’d be able to demonstrate compliance?  Not only today, but in the future if your facility’s operation changes.  If you’re not sure how to evaluate your data through these various lenses, let us help you!  The goal is to understand the impact on your facility, provide input through the public commenting process, and ultimately gain clarity in the final rule.

Stay tuned for additional updates on the official public comment period as the RACT III rulemaking process moves forward.  Please reach out for assistance with CMS data evaluation needs, applicability analysis, and/or comment preparation.  If you have any questions or want to discuss what RACT III means for your facility, please reach out to me at mstroup@all4inc.com or 610-422-1140.

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