The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized clean air standards for major and area source boilers and Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration (CISWI).
In a December 20, 2012 announcement, the EPA said the new standards under the Clean Air Act regulate emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from industrial boilers, incinerators, and cement kilns.
There are approximately 106 solid waste incinerators that burn waste at commercial or industrial facilities in the US, the EPA says. The new standards will reduce emissions of harmful pollutants including mercury, lead, cadmium, nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution.
With all units complying, the EPA estimates that the final standards will reduce emissions of metals and dioxins by about five tonnes per year, emissions of acid gases (HCl and SO2) by 7,000 tonnes per year, emissions 2 of PM by 2,400 tonnes per year, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 5,400 tonnes per year and emissions of CO by 20,000 tonnes per year.
The EPA says that if all 106 units currently in operation use add-on controls to adjust to the new standards, the total nationwide cost for complying is approximately $275 million per year.
The estimated benefits associated with reduced exposure to fine particles are into the hundreds of millions by 2015.
The EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce these pollutants, the public will see $13 to $29 in health benefits, including fewer instances of asthma, heart attacks and premature deaths.
According to the EPA, 99 per cent of the approximately 1.5 million boilers operating in the US will not be affected by the changes, or will be able to meet the new standards by conducting periodic maintenance or regular tune-ups.
The new rules set numerical emission limits for less than one per cent of boilers — those that emit the majority of pollution from the sector.
The EPA established or revised standards for four subcategories of CISWI units in the 2011 CISWI rule: incinerators; small remote incinerators; ERUs; and waste-burning kilns.
The 2011 CISWI rule also included two subcategories of ERUs. In 2012, the EPA further subcategorized ERUs and subcategorized waste-burning kilns based on design type differences. The final rule includes three subcategories of ERUs and separate CO limits for two subcategories of wasteburning kilns.
The final standards include adjusted monitoring provisions, particularly for carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM).
- EPA is removing the oxygen correction requirements for CO emission limits during periods of startup and shutdown and retaining full-load stack test requirements for CO coupled with continuous oxygen monitoring.
- EPA is requiring PM continuous parametric monitoring systems (CPMS) for all waste-burning kilns and for large energy recovery units (ERUs) (those with an annual heat input greater than 250 MMBtu).
The 2012 final rule makes certain revisions to the final “Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units,” 76 FR 15704 (March 21, 2011),
In general, the final rule establishes revised numeric emission limits for some new and existing CISWI units for certain of the nine pollutants listed in section 129(a)(4) of the CAA.
The nine pollutants under section 129 are: PM, SO2, HCl, NOX, CO, Pb, Cd, Hg, D/F. CAA section 129(a)(4).
The EPA says existing CISWI units will need to comply with the CISWI standards no later than three years after EPA approves a state plan or five years after the publication date of these final amendments, whichever is earlier.