4 The record articles

The Pennsylvania RACT III Rule Is Almost Here

Posted: April 25th, 2022

Authors: Christine C. 

Pennsylvania’s draft rule known as “RACT III” [25 Pa. Code §§ 129.111-129.115, Additional RACT Requirements for Major Sources of NOX and VOCs for the 2015 Ozone NAAQS] has been slowly making its way towards finalization but it’s not there quite yet.  Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) recently released the “Draft Final” version of the rule, which they hope to move through the various levels of approval and finalize the rule some time in 2Q2022.

We previewed the proposed RACT III provisions in a previous article.  Based on the “Draft Final” version of the rule, it has not been completely overhauled but changes have been made based on the public comments on the August 2021 version of the draft rule.  Outlined below are some of the changes made since the previous draft version:

  • All submittals will be due December 31, 2022, and submittals may be made electronically.
  • Submissions must include notification of being an affected facility and the facility’s RACT Plan including which sources are exempt, those that will meet presumptive requirements, and any case-by-case sources along with proposed compliance plans where controls are needed. Facilities that will comply with presumptive RACT limits must still provide notification to PADEP.
  • Several clerical/administrative corrections were made.
  • PADEP added a definition for “combustion source,” but have verbally noted that they need to make a distinction as yet for combustion turbines for applicability purposes.
  • New or updated presumptive limits/requirements for the following sources:
    • Flares used for air pollution control
    • Process heaters between 20-50 MMBtu/hr
    • Municipal solid waste landfills
    • Municipal solid waste combustors
    • Combustion turbines < 4,100 BHP
    • Rich burn internal combustion engines > 100 BHP
    • “Other combustion sources” > 20 MMBtu/hr
  • Case-by-case RACT determinations made for RACT II may be used for RACT III. However, facilities need to submit an analysis, certified by the responsible official, that the previous case-by-case determination still stands.  The analysis must include:
    • A determination that no new control technologies have become available since RACT II
    • A determination that the technical and economic feasibility analyses still stand, which shows that the control cost is equal or greater than $7,500/ton of NOX controlled and/or $12,000/ton of VOCs controlled. PADEP has verbally stated that these cost effectiveness values do not define a control cost threshold for new case-by-case submittals.

Unfortunately, PADEP did not provide any relief to the daily average continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) requirements that were in the draft rule for certain sources (e.g., boilers).  In addition, there was no language added to clarify how the daily average should be calculated, although verbally they have indicated it will be based on the total pounds emitted and total BTUs burned in a day.  PADEP has also verbally indicated at this month’s AQTAC meeting that they will not provide an exclusion for startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) events.  We have not yet seen a response document to the public comments on the draft rule, but PADEP is expected to provide further clarifications on how to comply with the daily average requirement.

The January 1, 2023 compliance deadline cannot change since it is driven by U.S. EPA.  Therefore, the submittal and implementation deadlines will be a tight turnaround similar to RACT II implementation (i.e., given an estimated end of 2Q2022 finalization, facilities will only have approximately 6 months to get everything in).  We are strongly recommending that affected facilities start looking at rule applicability now, which will put you in a better position to respond to the rule within the short turnaround expected later this year.  Give us a call or drop me an email to discuss the specifics on how this rule will impact your facility.




    Sign up to receive 4 THE RECORD articles here. You'll get timely articles on current environmental, health, and safety regulatory topics as well as updates on webinars and training events.
    First Name: *
    Last Name: *
    Location: *
    Email: *

    Skip to content