4 The record articles

What’s new in CAERS?

Posted: February 1st, 2021

Authors: Andrew K. 

This week is an important week for Georgia facilities as they start the registration process for annual and triennial reporting in the Combined Air Emissions Reporting System (CAERS).  For more information on what important steps you need to take for your facility to be ready for reporting within CAERS, be sure to check out our first article – Getting Ready for CAERS 2.0.  Facilities that were included in the CAERS 2020 pilot reporting year will notice some upgrades and new features as they begin reporting for 2021.  Continue reading to learn more about the latest upgrades to CAERS!

TRI-MEweb Data Sharing

While this may not be a new feature, CAERS will include a more robust hazardous air pollutants (HAP) data sharing program from your facility’s annual emissions inventory (EI) with TRI-MEweb.  While this is optional, Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) is highly recommending all facilities include HAP emissions data with their annual emissions report. Otherwise, GEPD will use HAP augmentation to estimate HAP emissions from your facility, which may not be accurate for your facility’s operations.  This can be beneficial to your facility for several reasons:

  • Less manual data entry across reports for faster reporting;
  • Increased reporting accuracy be removing additional data entry; and
  • Emissions data will receive State, Local, and Tribal (SLT) review and facilities will be allowed to correct any errors before the data is copied to your Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) report.

It is important to be aware that data will not be available to transfer to TRI-MEweb until the EI has been certified.  However, certifying the EI does not also certify the TRI report and does not mean you are required to use the reported EI data in your TRI report.  The TRI report will still be available for editing and will have to be reviewed and certified in TRI-MEweb.  Remember, EI reports are due June 30th and TRI reports are due on July 1st, so if you would like to take advantage of the TRI data transfer feature, you will need to submit your EI early to leave plenty of time for TRI reporting!

Bulk Upload

CAERS has expanded options available for entering emissions data into the system.  Facilities will be able to submit their EI in one of three ways: manual data entry into the CAERS webform, bulk data entry in the user interface (useful if your facility has submitted in CAERS before and/or if your facility has no control devices), or by using the bulk upload spreadsheet.  All facilities will have access to a bulk upload template to download from their CAERS facility homepage.  This template will be pre-populated with facility and emissions source information from their most recent EI submittal.

A new required feature of EI reporting will include the mapping of emissions through any control devices before exiting through the release point.  For facilities reporting in CAERS for the first time, the control paths will not be pre-populated and will need to be developed in either the webform or the bulk upload spreadsheet.  For returning facilities who reported as part of the pilot program and developed control paths last year, control paths will only need to be reviewed and updated as necessary.

Multiple Throughput Measurements

Alternative throughput measurements have been added to allow calculation of different pollutant emissions using emissions factors with different base units of measure for the same process.  For example, this is useful for boilers that use two sets of emissions factors, one on a heat input (MMBtu) basis and another on a natural gas throughput (MMscf) basis, to calculate total emissions.  Under the pilot program, only emissions factors for one of these throughput measurements could be applied and emissions under the alternate throughput measurement had to be manually entered.  Under the new build of CAERS, a duplicate process can be made under that unit using the same source code with the alternate throughput measurement.

Communication

In order to streamline communication, GEPD has set up email addresses for specific questions and inquiries concerning CAERS reporting:

  • For all questions concerning the EI within Georgia Environmental Connections Online (GECO) or within CAERS, please send them to Inventory@dnr.ga.gov
  • If you want to use the JSON bulk upload feature or have suggestions on how to make CAERS better, please send them to caer@epa.gov

If you have any questions concerning CAERS or would like assistance reporting in CAERS, please reach out to me at 678.460.0324 x217 or akelley@all4inc.com or Stacy Arner at 678.460.0324 x213 or sarner@all4inc.com. Thanks for reading!

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