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On September 25, 2009, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) set more stringent emissions standards for coal preparation and processing facilities. The final rule, according to USEPA, reflects improvements in air emission control technologies that have been developed since the new source performance standards (NSPS) for these sources were first issued in 1976.
The final rule amends the NSPS for coal preparation and processing plants, establishing new emissions standards for particulate matter (PM), opacity, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX), and carbon monoxide (CO). The rule does not establish NSPS for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitric oxide (N2O), black carbon (a component of PM) or other greenhouse gases from these sources. The revised performance standards are intended to reduce emissions at all new, modified and reconstructed coal preparation and processing facilities at coal mines, power plants, cement plants, coke manufacturing facilities and other industrial sites that process more than 200 tons of coal per day.
This rule takes the following actions:
- It establishes more stringent standards for PM emissions and opacity included in the existing NSPS for thermal dryers, pneumatic coal-cleaning equipment and coal-handling equipment.
- It expands the applicability of the thermal dryer standards so that they will apply to both direct contact and indirect contact thermal dryers drying all coal ranks, and to pneumatic coal-cleaning equipment cleaning all coal ranks.
- It establishes an SO2 emission limit and a combined NOX and CO emissions limit for thermal dryers. USEPA opines the combined standard is appropriate because a decrease in emissions of one of the two pollutants often leads to in increase in emissions of the other.
- Coal processing and conveying equipment, coal storage systems, and transfer system operations and fugitive emissions from those facilities will be subject to new opacity limits.
- Mechanically vented coal handling and coal processing equipment constructed, reconstructed or modified after April 28, 2008 also will have to meet new PM emissions standards.
- The rule does not establish opacity or PM limits for open storage piles (which include the equipment used in the loading, unloading and conveying operations at the facility) or roadways. However, the rule requires owners or operators of these facilities to develop and comply with a fugitive coal dust emissions control plan. This plan must require implementation of one or more control measures to minimize fugitive emissions of coal dust that are appropriate for the particular site.
For a detailed explanation of the action taken, specific limits and applicability, USEPA's final rule is available at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/new.html. The rule is effective as of October 8, 2009.
74 Fed. Reg. 194.
New, modified and reconstructed coal preparation and processing plants will need to install controls or utilize work practices to meet the revised limits. USEPA estimates that this final rule will reduce 7,600 tons per year of PM emissions from new coal handling equipment.
For more information, please contact us.
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