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New Compliance Guide from EPA for Small Oil and Gas Operations

A new Small Entity Compliance Guide has been released to help small oil and gas operations comply with the latest federal air quality emission standards. Published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this guide aims to simplify adherence to the 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart OOOOb regulations, which cover new, reconstructed, and modified sources within the oil and natural gas sector.

Overview

The guide, developed under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), addresses essential environmental and human health issues by setting standards to control greenhouse gas (GHG) and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from affected facilities. It provides a structured approach for small entities to navigate the complex regulatory landscape and ensure compliance with federal standards.

Key Features

  1. Applicability:
    • The guide outlines which entities and facilities are subject to the new standards, including specific criteria for well completions, liquids unloading, and associated gas management.
  2. Compliance Timetable:
    • A detailed timetable is provided to help small businesses understand the compliance deadlines for different types of facilities. For example, new or modified sources that commenced construction after December 6, 2022, must adhere to the regulations starting May 7, 2024.
  3. Super-Emitter Events:
    • It introduces the Super-Emitter Program, which mandates reporting and corrective actions for significant methane emissions events (100 kg/hr or more).
  4. Detailed Requirements:
    • Sections in the compliance guide cover specific environmental compliance requirements, such as testing, monitoring, reporting, and record-keeping for various types of equipment and operations.
  5. Support and Resources:
    • The compliance guide includes contact information for further assistance and references to additional resources and documents to help small entities stay compliant.

Compliance Support

Small oil and gas operators in Pennsylvania are encouraged to review the guide thoroughly and reach out for assistance in implementing these new standards. For more detailed information, the full compliance guide can be accessed or downloaded here.

Speak Up for Your Small Business: DEP Invites Public Comments on Crematory Incinerator Permits

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is inviting public comments on the proposed General Plan Approval (GPA) and General Operating Permit (GP) for Human or Animal Crematory Incinerators (BAQ-GPA/GP-14 or GP-14). This opportunity is particularly relevant for small businesses, including small animal and human crematories, as well as veterinary clinics, who may have an existing air quality permit.

Key Details:

The permit type is a proposed General Plan Approval (GPA) and General Operating Permit (GP), applicable to human or animal crematory incinerators with rated capacities less than 500 pounds per hour. The authority for this permit was developed under section 6.1(f) of the Air Pollution Control Act (35 P.S. § 4006.1(f)) and 25 Pa. Code Chapter 127, Subchapter H. The proposed GP-14 includes visible and odor emissions monitoring.

Facilities must maintain records of maintenance performed, municipal notifications, malfunction reporting, and annual facility inventory reporting. These records must be kept onsite or at the nearest local field office for 5 years.

The fees associated with the permit include a General Plan Approval application fee of $1,600, a General Operating Permit application/renewal fee of $750, an Annual Operating Permit maintenance fee of $500, a Transfer of ownership fee of $500, and an Administrative amendment fee of $500. The permit term is 5 years, and approved authorizations can be renewed before the expiration date.

Work Practice Standards:

  • Temperature Requirements:
    • Before charging the unit, the temperature at the exit of the secondary (or last) chamber shall achieve and be maintained at or above 1600°F throughout the cremation cycle.
    • For units that are charged when both chambers are cold, the temperature at the exit of the secondary (or last) chamber shall achieve and be maintained at or above 1600°F before firing of the primary chamber burner.
  • Interlock System:
    • The crematory incinerator shall provide an interlock system that precludes charging of the primary chamber until the secondary (or last) chamber exit temperature is established and holding at 1600°F.
    • In units charged when both chambers are cold:
      • The crematory incinerator shall also provide an interlock system that precludes firing the primary chamber burner until the secondary chamber exit temperature is established and holding at 1600°F.
      • The unit shall not be charged until the primary chamber is cooled to less than 150°F after the previous cremation cycle.
  • Operator Guidelines:
    • Operators may open the charge door during the cremation cycle for short periods of time to inspect or reposition the remains. If the owner or operator opens the charge door, they must follow the manufacturer’s recommended written specifications for operating the unit during inspection.

How to Participate:

To participate, you can review the full proposal on the Pennsylvania Bulletin. You can submit comments using the Department’s eComment system at www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment or by email to ecomment@pa.gov. The Department must receive comments no later than June 17, 2024.

Pennsylvania DEP Releases Updated Technical Guidance Documents for Aboveground and Underground Storage Tanks

Small businesses across Pennsylvania have access to newly updated technical guidance documents (TGDs) recently released by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). These TGDs serve to provide clear standards and guidance on various environmental regulations pertinent to small business operations.

Among the updated TGDs are those addressing closure requirements for both aboveground and underground storage tank systems. These documents establish minimum standards that businesses must adhere to in order to comply with regulatory mandates. The guidance covers a spectrum of procedures including closure notification, tank system closure, waste management, site assessment, sampling, release reporting, and recordkeeping.

Noteworthy revisions to these documents include updates to sampling requirements to ensure alignment with current regulatory standards. Additionally, both the Aboveground Storage Tank System Closure Report Form and the Underground Storage Tank System Closure Report Form have undergone modifications to enhance the completeness of reported information.

Small business owners are encouraged to thoroughly review these updated documents to stay abreast of their environmental obligations and ensure compliance with state regulations. Public participation in the review process is highly valued by the DEP, and comments on the draft TGDs and associated report forms are actively solicited.

Comments on the draft TGDs will be accepted until May 6, 2024. Business owners can provide their feedback using the Department’s online eComment tool.

Access to the revised TGDs and related report forms is available on the DEP’s website. To access these resources and stay informed about environmental regulations impacting small businesses in Pennsylvania, visit the DEP’s eLibrary at www.depgreenport.state.pa.us/elibrary/.

The Impact of Ethylene Oxide Regulation on Small Businesses

The recent regulatory developments by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have far-reaching implications, particularly for small businesses in the sterilization industry. The EPA has finalized the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants concerning Ethylene Oxide Commercial Sterilization and Fumigation Operations. This rule aims to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants from facilities using ethylene oxide (EtO) for sterilization purposes. While the regulation targets environmental protection, it also raises concerns about its potential impact on small businesses and entities operating in the sterilization industry.

Small businesses play a vital role in the commercial EtO sterilization sector, providing essential services for medical device manufacturers and healthcare facilities. However, the new regulatory requirements may pose challenges for these enterprises. Compliance costs, changes in market dynamics, and potential adjustments needed to meet the stringent standards could strain the resources of small entities.

The Regulatory Impact Analysis highlights the significance of the rule on small businesses, emphasizing the potential for significant cost impacts on a substantial share of affected entities. Small businesses may face difficulties in navigating the compliance landscape, which could lead to increased operational expenses and impact their competitiveness in the market.

In Chapter 5 “Economic Impacts” of EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis, EPA found the following:

  • The EPA identified 88 EtO sterilization facilities currently operating in the U.S. that will be impacted by this final rule and incur costs.
  • Two additional facilities are expected to start operating before the compliance deadline, bringing the total number of affected facilities to 90.
  • There are 50 ultimate parent companies that own these 90 facilities. About 44 percent (22) of these companies are small entities.
  • Out of the 90 facilities expected to incur costs to comply with the rule, 28 facilities, or about 31 percent, are owned by small entities.

One important caveat to note is that the regulation may trigger shifts in prices and supply of sterilization services, affecting small entities both within the sterilization industry and those reliant on sterilization services for their operations. Transitional effects, such as job losses in declining industries or regions with high unemployment rates, could further compound the challenges faced by small businesses.

As small businesses and their stakeholders assess the implications of the Ethylene Oxide regulation, it is crucial for small businesses to proactively address the potential impacts. Strategies to mitigate compliance costs, adapting to changing market conditions, and exploring collaboration opportunities with larger entities or industry stakeholders may help small businesses navigate the regulatory landscape effectively.

While the Ethylene Oxide regulation sets important environmental standards, its impact on small businesses cannot be overlooked. By understanding the challenges and opportunities presented by the rule, small entities can position themselves for resilience and sustainable growth in the evolving regulatory environment.

Learn more about the Final Air Toxics Rule for EtO Sterilization Facilities.

Air Emission Statement (AES) Reporting Deadline Extended to March 29, 2024

Each year, the Pennsylvania DEP Bureau of Air Quality (BAQ) processes approximately 1,800 Annual Emission Statement (AES) reports. The AES contains operating schedules, throughputs, and emission estimates to calculate air emissions from industrial sources. The reports are due March 1 of each year.

As of today (2/29/24), the deadline has been extended to March 29, 2024 due to technical difficulties with the AES*Online and AES*XML systems through GreenPort.

Understanding Annual Reporting Obligations for VOC Rules in Oil & Natural Gas Sources

On December 10, 2022, Pennsylvania introduced regulations regarding the control of VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions from both unconventional and conventional oil and natural gas sources. These regulations, detailed in 25 Pa. Code §§ 129.121-130 and 25 Pa. Code §§ 129.131-140, require businesses to submit annual reports containing specific compliance information.

When is the Report Due?

The initial annual report submission was due on December 10, 2023; however, DEP suspended enforcement of the initial annual report submission until June 1, 2024.  Thus, the deadline for the first annual report is now June 1, 2024. Learn more about the enforcement suspension in Volume 54 Number 4 of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

How to Report:

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has created Excel spreadsheet templates to make reporting easier for owners and operators. These templates are available for Unconventional Oil & Gas and Conventional Oil & Gas sources. They break down reporting requirements into manageable sections. While using the template is optional, it is designed to help your small business comply with the regulations. If you prefer not to use the template, DEP is requesting that you still submit your report in Excel format.

How to Submit:

When you’re ready to submit your annual report, use DEP’s Public Upload System. Ensure your report is in spreadsheet format, preferably Excel. Choose “Air Quality Report or Miscellaneous Submission (No Payment)” as your submission type and “Other” as the request type. Specify the County and Municipality for each site covered by the Annual Report. Lastly, include either “129.130 Annual Report” or “129.140 Annual Report” in the Submission Notes Section.

Additional Resources:

For additional guidance on the submission process, refer to the public upload guide (PDF) provided by DEP.

Remember, these reports help in tracking and managing emissions, ensuring environmental compliance for your small business. If you are a small business and have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact EMAP.

EPA Issues Final Reconsideration of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter (PM)

On February 7, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced a final rule that tightens the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particle pollution, also known as PM2.5 or soot.

EPA is setting a new benchmark for the annual PM2.5 standard at 9.0 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) based on the latest scientific findings regarding the health effects associated with particle pollution.

In simple terms, fine particles (PM2.5), measuring 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, can come from various sources such as vehicles, smokestacks, fires, and reactions in the atmosphere from power plants and engines. Additionally, there are larger particles (PM10), with diameters ranging from 2.5 to 10 micrometers, originating from road dust, construction, industrial processes, and more.

EPA’s analysis of particle pollution involves research on air pollution controls, considering the cost, emissions changes, and other impacts. However, it’s important to note that the EPA recognizes certain limitations and uncertainties in their findings.

For instance, EPA faces challenges in accounting for regional or local variations in capital and annual cost components like energy, labor, or materials. Control efficiency estimates assume perfect installation and maintenance, not accounting for potential discrepancies in individual applications. The use of a uniform value for each control may lead to operational disparities, and reflecting the scale of control application variability for small area sources of emissions proves difficult.

As air quality standards evolve, there may be changes that impact your small operations. We recommend staying tuned for updates and, if needed, consider reaching out to the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) for guidance on navigating these changes.

At EMAP, we are committed to supporting small businesses in Pennsylvania through changes in environmental regulations and air quality issues. Please feel free to contact EMAP if you have any questions or need assistance in adapting to these evolving standards.

EPA’s Final Rule for Oil and Natural Gas Operations: Webinar Training for Small Business & Industry

On December 2, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final rule that will sharply reduce methane and other harmful air pollutants from the oil and natural gas industry, including from hundreds of thousands of existing sources nationwide. EPA is hosting several webinars on different aspects of the final rule.

All webinars are free and open to the public; however, they will be focused providing information for specific audiences including communities/environmental justice stakeholders, Tribes, and small businesses. These events will be held using Zoom, and a toll-free call-in number will be available.

To learn more about this rule and the training, please visit this link:  https://www.epa.gov/controlling-air-pollution-oil-and-natural-gas-operations/epas-final-rule-oil-and-natural-gas.

Overview Training Webinars – February 27-29, 2024

These webinars will provide overviews of the final rule. Note: all times are listed in Eastern time. Please adjust for your time zone as needed. Registration is required.:
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024: 2:30 to 5 p.m. for small business and industryRegister here 
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024: 2:30 to 5 p.m. for Tribes and Tribal environmental professionals. Register here
  • Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024: 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. for communities. Register here

DEP Suspends Enforcement of Initial Annual Reports for Oil and Gas Operators in PA

In a recent announcement in the Pennsylvania Bulletin posted on January 27, 2024, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) declared the suspension of enforcement for the initial annual reports under 25 Pa. Code §§ 129.130(k)(1) and 129.140(k)(1), which pertain to recordkeeping and reporting for conventional and unconventional oil and natural gas sources.

The initial annual report submissions for owners and operators of conventional oil and natural gas sources, due on December 2, 2023, covered the time period from December 2, 2022, through December 31, 2022. Similarly, for owners and operators of unconventional oil and natural gas sources, the deadline was December 10, 2023, addressing the time period from December 10, 2022, through December 31, 2022.

DEP has decided to suspend enforcement of the initial annual report submissions until June 1, 2024, the deadline for the second report, which will encompass the entire 2023 calendar year.

It is crucial for oil and gas operators in Pennsylvania to note that while the Department is exercising enforcement discretion, this does not exempt them from the potential of legal challenges by third parties under 25 Pa. Code §§ 129.130(k)(1) and 129.140(k)(1). DEP aims to provide flexibility to operators during this period, but compliance with regulations remains important.

This notice is intended to be a helpful outreach to small oil and gas operators in Pennsylvania, facilitating awareness and understanding of the adjusted reporting timelines. Operators are encouraged to stay informed and prepared for the upcoming reporting obligations and are advised to check DEP’s official resources or EMAP’s Oil & Gas page for any further updates or changes.

Important Reminders for Pennsylvania Small Businesses: March 1st, 2024 Deadline for Environmental Compliance Reports

As we embark on the new year, small businesses in Pennsylvania are faced with a myriad of tasks to ensure smooth operations and growth. Amidst these responsibilities, it’s crucial not to overlook certain administrative duties, especially if your business is subject to environmental regulations. With the March 1st, 2024 deadline approaching, this news post serves as a friendly reminder for small businesses to submit their Air Emission Reports, State-Only Operating Permit annual reports, and Hazardous Waste Biennial Reports.  Let’s dive into why these reports matter and find ways to make the process easier with some helpful assistance.

Air Emission Statement (AES) Reports

Small businesses that are considered synthetic minors of air pollutant emissions must submit annual Air Emission Statement Reports, a requirement that helps regulatory agencies monitor and manage air quality standards. Timely submission by March 1st is vital for compliance and good operating practices. For assistance in navigating this process, consider reaching out to the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP).

State-Only Operating Permit Annual Reports

If your business holds a State-Only Operating Permit issued by the Pennsylvania DEP Bureau of Air Quality, annual reports are due by March 1st, 2024. These reports detail your facility’s compliance with permit conditions and are instrumental in demonstrating environmental compliance. To make this process more manageable, don’t hesitate to contact EMAP for guidance and support.

Hazardous Waste Biennial Reports

Small businesses who generate hazardous waste over certain thresholds must submit the Hazardous Waste Biennial Reports every two years. These reports provide a comprehensive overview of waste generation and management practices. Submitting by March 1st, 2024 not only fulfills regulatory requirements but also helps maintain good operating practices and ensures environmental compliance. For additional assistance, EMAP is available to answer your queries.

Avoiding Costs of Noncompliance: A Small Business Imperative

Timely submission of these reports is not just about compliance; it’s about avoiding the costs associated with noncompliance. Penalties, fines, and legal repercussions can be significant deterrents to a business’s growth. By prioritizing compliance, small businesses can safeguard their financial interests and reputation.

EMAP Assistance: Navigating the Regulatory Landscape

Small businesses can benefit from the expertise and guidance provided by the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP). This free and confidential technical assistance program offers valuable assistance in understanding and fulfilling environmental reporting obligations. By reaching out to EMAP, small businesses can enhance their compliance efforts and navigate the regulatory landscape with confidence.

Proactive Measures for Pennsylvania Small Businesses

As March 1st, 2024 approaches, Pennsylvania small businesses are encouraged to prioritize the submission of Air Emission Reports, State-Only Operating Permit annual reports, and Hazardous Waste Biennial Reports. By emphasizing good operating practices and seeking assistance from EMAP, small businesses not only meet regulatory obligations but also mitigate the risks and costs associated with noncompliance. Stay proactive, engage with available resources, and demonstrate your commitment to responsible and compliant business practices.

EPA Issues Final Rule on Oil and Gas Operations to Reduce Methane Emissions

On December 2nd, EPA issued a final rule to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations nationwide. This action includes New Source Performance Standards for new, modified, & reconstructed sources and includes Emission Guidelines for states to develop plans to limit methane from existing sources.

Rule Features Worth Noting

The rule allows for third-parties, who will be certified by EPA, to report “super emitter” events, or methane release events. Once the reports are received, EPA will perform QA/QC on the data.

In addition, the rule recognizes and encourages innovation in methane detection technologies including satellite monitoring, aerial surveys, and continuous monitors to find leaks. EPA noted that many of these technologies are often developed and deployed by small businesses.

This rule give states, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, two years to develop and submit plans to reduce methane from existing sources. The final emission guidelines will give existing sources 3 years to come into compliance.

Rule Benefits

The final rule targets methane, considered a climate “super pollutant”, and will reportedly avoid an estimated 58 million tons of methane emissions from 2024 to 2038 which will yield an estimated financial benefit of $97 to $98 billion dollars during the same time frame. These financial estimates will result from net climate and ozone health benefits due to costs of compliance and savings from recovered natural gas. Many oil and gas operations are located near high population communities.

Additional Information

EPA did a Regulatory Impact Analysis of this final rule which identifies the estimated number of small entities, or small businesses, that may be affected by the rule requirements and bear some costs to come into environmental compliance.

For more information on this final rule, please see the “Key Things to Know” fact sheet and the “Overview” fact sheet”.

2024 Dry Cleaner Compliance Calendar Now Available

The 2024 Dry Cleaner Compliance Calendar is now available for Pennsylvania dry cleaners. You can access a digital copy here or by visiting EMAP’s page for dry cleaners.

Hard copy versions are now available – simply contact EMAP for a print version of the calendar.

These environmental compliance calendars contain important record-keeping elements designed to assist Pennsylvania dry cleaners comply with state and federal regulations. It is important for dry cleaners to understand that the calendar, once properly filled out and completed, is an annual record of compliance and should be kept for a period of five (5) years.

In June 2023, EPA proposed to ban most uses of perc. Included in this ban, EPA plans to establish a 10-year phaseout for the use of perc in dry cleaning.  EMAP previously covered this proposed ban and the implications for small businesses.

EPA Proposes Ban on TCE: How it May Affect Small Businesses

In a significant move aimed at safeguarding public health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a ban on the use of trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical solvent with known serious health risks, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). While this proposal has wide-reaching implications, it particularly resonates with the small business community, given the various industries that use TCE in their operations.

Where TCE is Often Used:

Small businesses may use TCE in cleaning and degreasing (including spot cleaning, vapor degreasing, cold cleaning, and aerosol degreasing) substances, and if they manufacture refrigerants or use refrigerants. TCE is also used in paint and coat manufacturing, plastics material manufacturing, wood window and door manufacturing, pharmaceutical preparation, and printing machinery. Additionally, TCE is also found in consumer products such as typewriter correction fluids, paint removers, paint strippers, adhesives, spot removers, cleaning fluids for rugs, and metal cleaners.

The proposed ban on trichloroethylene (TCE), while primarily aimed at protecting public health and the environment, will have several potential effects on small businesses.

Transition to Safer Alternatives:

Small businesses that currently use TCE in their products or processes will need to transition to safer alternatives. While this transition may involve some initial costs, it is likely to lead to long-term benefits, as safer alternatives are generally associated with lower health and environmental risks. Small businesses should consider exploring these alternatives and assess their feasibility in their operations.

Compliance Costs:

Small businesses will need to ensure compliance with the proposed rule, which may require changes in their manufacturing processes, product formulations, or supply chains. These adjustments may come with associated costs, including investing in new equipment or materials, revising safety protocols, and retraining employees.

Worker Protections:

The proposed rule includes stringent worker protections for limited remaining commercial and industrial uses of TCE. Small businesses will need to invest in safety measures to protect their employees from potential TCE exposure. This may involve additional training, personal protective equipment, and equipment upgrades.

Phased Transition for Some Uses:

The proposal acknowledges that for certain limited uses of TCE, there will be a longer transition period. Thus, small businesses may have more time to adapt to alternative chemicals or processes. However, they will still need to comply with the worker protections outlined in the proposal.

Reduced Legal and Financial Risks:

By proactively adopting the ban and transitioning to safer alternatives, small businesses can reduce the risk of legal and financial liabilities associated with TCE exposure. This can protect them from potential lawsuits, fines, and reputational damage.

Environmental and Health Benefits:

The proposed ban aims to reduce the adverse health effects and environmental contamination caused by TCE. Small businesses located in areas with historical TCE contamination can benefit from a cleaner and healthier environment, potentially improving the quality of life for their employees and the surrounding community.

Awareness of Health Risks:

The proposed ban raises awareness about the health risks associated with TCE, which can benefit small businesses by encouraging them to prioritize the safety of their employees and customers. Implementing safer practices can enhance the reputation of a business and improve relationships with stakeholders and the local community.

Public Comments and Engagement:

Small businesses have the opportunity to provide feedback during the public comment period, enabling them to express concerns or suggest adjustments to the proposed rule. This engagement can help shape the final regulations and ensure that the unique challenges faced by small businesses are considered.

Topics of interest to small businesses, in which EPA is requesting comments on as noted in the federal register notice, are the following:

  • EPA requests public comment on reasonable compliance timeframes for small businesses, specifically on whether and how to provide longer compliance timeframes for transitioning to alternatives for uses requiring reformulation and cleaning processes for cleaning parts for national defense or cleaning medical devices.
  • EPA requests public comment on differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that account for the resources available to small entities.
  • EPA requests public comment on the feasibility of use of alternatives to TCE and their availability for conditions of use that drive the unreasonable risk.
  • EPA requests public comment on how the rulemaking should consider TCE alternatives in light of ongoing regulatory scrutiny.
For those small businesses interested in voicing their opinions on this proposal, the EPA will accept public comments on or before November 30, 2023.

EMAP Newsletter – Fall 2023 Edition

The Fall 2023 edition of the EMAP Newsletter, the First Stop, is now available for print, download, and sharing.  Included is information on funding programs, opportunities for public comment, a small business success story, and a Q&A guide to submitting electronic RFDs.
   

How EPA’s MM2A Proposed Rule Could Impact Small Businesses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is constantly working to safeguard public health and promote transparency and accountability in environmental regulations. In a recent proposed rule, the EPA aims to amend Clean Air Act rules, a change that may significantly affect small businesses across the nation.

Proposed Rule Overview

On September 27, 2023, the EPA introduced a proposed rule, known as the Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (MM2A). The primary goal of this proposal is to enhance public health protections by setting new requirements for major sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that choose to reclassify themselves as area sources under the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) program.

Major sources are those that emit or have the potential to emit 10 tons per year (tpy) or more of a single HAP or 25 tpy or more of a combination of HAP. In contrast, area sources emit HAP below these specified thresholds.

Key Provisions of the Proposed Rule

  1. Federally Enforceable Permit Conditions: One of the central provisions of the proposed rule is that it would require sources reclassifying from major to area sources to establish federally enforceable permit conditions. These conditions would serve as safeguards to prevent emission increases above the levels allowed by the major source NESHAP that the source was subject to before reclassification.
  2. Applicability: The proposed rule would apply to all sources choosing to reclassify, including those that have reclassified since January 25, 2018.
  3. Effective Date: Reclassification would only become effective after a permit containing the federally enforceable conditions has been issued and the EPA has been notified. Additionally, the proposed rule clarifies reporting requirements and updates information regarding the submission of confidential business information.

Background and Context

To better understand the significance of this proposed rule, it’s important to consider its background and context:
  • Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs): These are pollutants known or suspected to cause serious health effects, including cancer and reproductive issues. The EPA, in collaboration with state, local, and tribal governments, seeks to reduce emissions of 188 identified toxic air pollutants.
  • Clean Air Act (CAA): Section 112 of the Clean Air Act establishes the regulatory framework for controlling HAP emissions. Major sources are generally subject to stringent NESHAP regulations, while area sources may have less stringent standards.
  • Once in Always In Policy: Historically, a policy known as “Once in Always In” required facilities that were major sources of HAP on the first significant compliance date of a major source NESHAP to comply permanently with that standard. This created disincentives for major sources to reduce emissions.
  • Policy Changes: In response to Executive Orders and public feedback, the EPA withdrew the “Once in Always In” Policy and issued guidance on reclassification of major sources as area sources in January 2018.

Impact on Small Businesses

So, how does this proposed rule affect small businesses? Here are some potential implications:
  1. Compliance Costs: Small businesses that choose to reclassify may face additional costs associated with establishing federally enforceable permit conditions. These compliance costs could potentially strain the resources of smaller enterprises.
  2. Environmental Benefits: On the positive side, the proposed rule may encourage major sources, including some small businesses, to evaluate their operations and consider changes to reduce HAP emissions. This could lead to improved environmental outcomes.
  3. Regulatory Clarity: The proposed rule aims to clarify regulatory requirements, which could benefit small businesses by providing clearer guidelines and reducing regulatory uncertainty.

Conclusion

The EPA’s proposed rule for reclassifying major sources as area sources under the Clean Air Act has the potential to impact small businesses in various ways. While it introduces new compliance requirements, it also encourages emission reduction efforts, which can contribute to a cleaner environment. Small businesses should closely monitor this proposal and provide feedback during the public comment period to ensure their concerns and perspectives are considered as the rule moves forward.

Comments must be received on or before November 13, 2023.

Implications of the AERR Proposed Rule for Small Businesses

Running a small business comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities, particularly when it comes to regulatory compliance. One such regulation that could potentially impact small businesses is the Air Emissions Reporting Requirements (AERR) proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While it might sound like a distant concern, it’s important for small business owners to grasp the potential complexities and implications of this rule.

The AERR Proposed Rule: What You Need to Know

The AERR proposed rule aims to tighten reporting requirements for businesses concerning their emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). While the rule might seem complex, its essence can be understood quite simply. The EPA is looking to mandate that businesses, with a few possible exceptions, report each individual HAP emission that surpasses a specific threshold unique to that particular HAP. To illustrate this, let’s consider a couple of examples. For a substance like styrene, businesses would need to report any emissions exceeding 10 tons per year. On the other hand, substances like Chromium (VI) and Chromium Trioxide have a much lower reporting threshold – only emissions surpassing 0.24 lbs per year would need to be reported.

Varied Reporting Thresholds and Impacts

For common HAPs like toluene, the reporting threshold might align closely with that of styrene – meaning that emissions need to be substantial before reporting is required. However, this is not the case across the board. The disparity between reporting levels for substances like styrene and chromium highlights a significant aspect of the rule – certain businesses might now need to report emissions at extremely low levels. This represents a major shift for some small businesses that have never encountered such stringent requirements.

Challenges for Small Businesses

The implications for small businesses could be considerable. Many small businesses may find themselves in the position of having to report emissions for the first time. This could be due to the fact that their emission levels, which were previously considered negligible, now require reporting. This shift poses potential challenges, as some of these businesses might not have the necessary recordkeeping systems in place to facilitate the reporting process. It’s important to note that, in many cases, permits for these businesses might already require a certain level of recordkeeping, especially if they are subject to National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). However, the enhanced reporting requirements of the AERR rule could demand a higher level of precision and documentation than what these businesses are accustomed to.

Navigating the Way Forward

Thankfully, the EPA is aware of the complexities these changes might introduce, especially for small businesses. In response, they are offering support through a series of webinars designed to provide businesses with a clear understanding of the AERR proposal and its potential impacts. These webinars could prove invaluable for small business owners seeking clarity on the new reporting requirements and how best to adapt to them.

In Summary

The AERR proposed rule might appear complex and distant, but its potential impact on small businesses should not be underestimated. As reporting thresholds for Hazardous Air Pollutant emissions tighten, businesses – both large and small – need to be prepared for the changes ahead. The EPA’s efforts to provide resources through webinars is a step in the right direction, offering businesses the guidance they need to navigate the shifting regulatory landscape. Small businesses should take advantage of these resources to ensure that they can adapt effectively to the new reporting requirements and continue to thrive in a compliant manner. To find out more about the AERR proposal and the upcoming webinars, visit the official EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/air-emissions-inventories/air-emissions-reporting-requirements-aerr. Comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before November 17, 2023.

EPA Proposes Rule to Lead-Based Paint Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put forward a proposal to enhance requirements for dealing with lead-based paint hazards in buildings constructed before 1978 and child-care facilities. This proposed rule aims to safeguard children and communities from the harmful effects of lead paint dust exposure.

Approximately 39,000 small businesses, including landlords, owners and operators of child-occupied facilities, residential remodelers, abatement firms, real estate agents, and brokers, would be directly affected by this rule.

The proposed rule seeks to strengthen EPA regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by revising two key standards:

  1. Dust-Lead Hazard Standards (DLHS): These standards identify hazardous lead levels in dust found on floors and windowsills.
      • The proposal intends to lower the DLHS from the current 10 micrograms per square foot (µg/ft2) for floors and 100 µg/ft2 for windowsills to any reportable level greater than zero. This change acknowledges that no level of lead in dust has been deemed safe for children.
  2. Dust-Lead Clearance Levels (DLCL): These levels indicate the maximum amount of lead allowed in dust on floors, window sills, and window troughs after lead removal activities.
    • The proposal aims to reduce the DLCL from 10 µg/ft2 to 3 µg/ft2 for floors, from 100 µg/ft2 to 20 µg/ft2 for windowsills, and from 400 µg/ft2 to 25 µg/ft2 for window troughs. These are considered the lowest dust-lead levels that the EPA believes can be reliably and effectively achieved after abatement activities.

To comply with this proposed rule, property owners, lead-based paint professionals, and government agencies will use DLHS to identify dust-lead hazards in residential and childcare facilities built before 1978. If any lead-based paint activities, like abatement, are carried out, individuals and firms must be certified and follow specific work practices set by EPA’s Lead-Based Paint Activities Program. After abatement, testing is required to ensure dust lead levels are below the DLCL before considering the abatement complete.

The EPA is inviting public comments on this proposal for 60 days via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2023-0231 at www.regulations.gov.

Upcoming Lead-Based Paint Virtual Workshop

In October, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plan to conduct a virtual public workshop to gather stakeholder perspectives on specific topics related to low levels of lead in existing paint. This includes potential health effects, the relationship between lead-based paint and dust-lead, possible exposure pathways, and technologies for detecting, measuring, and characterizing low levels of lead in paint.

The EPA and HUD are also interested in any available information on lead-based paint characteristics and medical evidence related to low levels of lead in paint. The insights shared during the workshop will help inform their joint effort to revisit the federal definition of lead-based paint and revise it if needed.

For more information, check for updates on the Lead-Based Paint Virtual Workshop.

EPA Proposes Ban on Perchloroethylene: Implications for Small Businesses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced a significant action under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) with a proposed ban on perchloroethylene. The proposed ban on most uses of perchloroethylene (PCE), a chemical known to pose serious health risks, aims to protect individuals from neurotoxicity and cancer. While consumer uses of PCE would be banned, many industrial and commercial uses would continue under stringent workplace controls. In this post, we will explore the implications of this proposed ban for small businesses, particularly those in the dry cleaning industry.

Protecting Public Health:

The EPA’s proposal reflects the recognition of the dangers associated with PCE exposure. By banning consumer uses and implementing strict workplace controls, the EPA aims to minimize the health risks posed by this chemical. The proposed ban considers the health and safety of workers, occupational non-users, consumers, and communities near facilities utilizing PCE.

Impact on Small Businesses:

The proposed ban on PCE usage will have a significant impact on small businesses, particularly those operating in the dry cleaning industry. Dry cleaners, many of which are small businesses, have traditionally relied on PCE as a solvent in their operations. However, the 10-year phaseout period provided in the proposal allows these businesses some time to consider a transition to alternative processes.

Economic Analysis

EPA estimates that 6,000 dry cleaners still use PCE, a majority of which are small businesses. It is still unclear as to the impact of a prohibition of PCE for dry cleaning through a gradual phaseout. EPA has not been able to reliably estimate the number of dry cleaning facility closures that may be associated with this phaseout. However, after the results of an economic analysis, EPA expects some closures because EPA estimates that only about 60 PCE machines are expected to be in use at the end of the proposed phaseout period given the age of the machines and the declining trend of use.

EPA believes that almost no new PCE machines have been brought into service in recent years and therefore most existing dry cleaning machines using PCE are old and will no longer be in service by the proposed phaseout date. 

EPA requests comment on these estimated impacts to the dry cleaning industry, including regarding expected closures. In addition to dry cleaners, additional users of PCE (such as in vapor degreasing) could be strongly impacted because they may have no economical alternative to the use of PCE.

Transitioning to TSCA Compliant Practices:

Small businesses, including dry cleaners, may face economic challenges during the transition away from PCE. To mitigate these impacts, President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget request includes funding for pollution prevention grants. These grants aim to support small businesses in adopting TSCA compliant practices and facilitate the shift away from PCE usage. Dry cleaners can explore these grant opportunities to aid in their transition and ensure compliance with the proposed regulations.

Feasibility and Efficacy of Worker Protections:

The EPA encourages stakeholders to provide input on the proposed rule, especially regarding the feasibility and efficacy of the worker protection requirements. Small businesses and other entities affected by the proposed workplace chemical protection program can contribute their perspectives on the implementation process and the timeline for phasing out PCE usage in dry cleaning operations. The EPA will host a public webinar in the coming weeks, providing an opportunity for employers, workers, and interested parties to learn more about the proposed regulations and engage in discussions.

Providing Comments on the Proposal

EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for PCE for 60 days, or until August 15th, which can be done in the Federal Register via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-072.  Pennsylvania small businesses can also speak with a member of the EMAP team if so desired.

Public Comment Period for Ethylene Oxide Emission Standards

EPA is proposing amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for the Ethylene Oxide (EtO) Commercial Sterilization Facilities source category.  EPA’s proposed rule would regulate parts of a commercial sterilizer facility that have not been regulated previously. This includes more stringent controls for sources of EtO emissions that currently regulated and would require facilities to continuously monitor air pollution control equipment and conduct performance testing.

Commercial sterilization facilities play a vital role in maintaining an adequate supply of medical devices.  EPA has identified 86 facilities that are in current operation with 20 of these facilities being recognized as a small business.

Comments must be received on or before June 27, 2023.  In addition, EPA will hold virtual public hearings on May 2 and May 3, 2023.

Revised General Permit for Small Combustion Units

Pennsylvania DEP revised the General Plan Approval and/or General Operating Permit, commonly known as the GPA/GP-1, for Natural Gas and and No. 2 Oil Fired Small Combustion Units. The issuance of the new permit took effect upon publication of the January 28, 2023 version of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The primary change of the GPA/GP-1 was to increase the size or rated capacity of the combustion units covered by the general permit from 50 million Btu per hour to 100 million Btu per hour.  This new rated capacity of 100 million Btu/hr widens the size range of small combustion units allowed for GPA/GP-1 applications and helps modernize the emissions acceptable under the permitting process. Small business can find copies of the new GP-1 general permit applications, instructions, and additional information here.

Air Emission Inventory Reports due March 1, 2023

Small business facilities that are required to submit annual air emissions inventory reports, often referred to as AIMS, need to do so by March 1, 2023.  Those small business facilities that asked to report are often classified as Synthetic Minor facilities of air emissions.

How to Report

Paper reporting for Air Emission Statement (AES) reports has been discontinued.  Thus, reporting is done through AES Online which one needs to have an account with DEP’s GreenPort to access. Facilities in Allegheny County no longer report their annual emissions using GreenPort as these facilities should now use Allegheny County Health Department’s (ACHD) Regulated Entities Portal (REP).

Reporting Assistance

Pennsylvania DEP has created a booklet of Instructions for Submitting the Air Quality Emission Inventory Reports.  In addition, DEP has available an Introductory/Presentation and a Training/FAQ page to help answer questions. Small businesses in Pennsylvania can also contact EMAP for technical assistance.

Residual Waste Biennial Report due March 1, 2023

Any Pennsylvania small businesses that generated more than 13 tons of residual waste in calendar year 2022 is required to submit the residual waste biennial report by March 1, 2023.

What is “residual waste”?

In Pennsylvania, residual waste is considered any type of waste that is not otherwise considered hazardous or municipal waste.  Examples of residual waste include contaminated soil, rubber, glass, industrial equipment, filters, excess grindings and shavings, etc.  To help address further questions please see EMAP’s Residual Waste Brochure.

How to submit the Residual Waste Biennial Report

This year, it is being highly encouraged for those who need to submit the report to do so electronically through GreenPort. Small businesses who need to file the residual waste biennial report can access paper copies of the Generator’s Residual Waste Biennial Report for 2022 along with the Instructions Packet by visiting Pennsylvania DEP’s site for the Residual Waste Biennial Report.

Compliance Checklist for Radiation-Producing Machines

EMAP has created a Radiation-Producing Machines Compliance Checklist intended for small offices and small business owners in Pennsylvania who possess, provide services, or needs to register a radiation-producing machine.  The checklist is intended to help these small businesses to comply with registration requirements in the Pennsylvania Code Chapter 216.

Emergency Air Quality Regulation for Existing Conventional Oil & Gas Sources Adopted

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) adopted an emergency rule limiting volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and methane emissions from existing conventional oil and gas sources earlier today. The emergency rulemaking establishes the VOC emission limitations for existing conventional oil and gas sources based on Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) requirements consistent with EPA’s recommendations. These sources include natural gas-driven continuous bleed pneumatic controllers, natural gas-driven diaphragm pumps, reciprocating compressors, centrifugal compressors, fugitive emissions components and storage vessels installed at conventional well sites, gathering and boosting stations and natural gas processing plants, as well as storage vessels in the natural gas transmission and storage segment. The rulemaking is final and effective as of December 2, 2022.

2023 Dry Cleaner Compliance Calendar Available

The 2023 Dry Cleaner Compliance Calendar is now available for Pennsylvania dry cleaners.  You can access a digital copy here or by visiting EMAP’s page for dry cleaners.  Hard copy versions are now available – simply contact EMAP for a print version of the calendar. These environmental compliance calendars contain important record-keeping elements designed to assist Pennsylvania dry cleaners comply with state and federal regulations. It is important for dry cleaners to understand that the calendar, once properly filled out and completed, is an annual record of compliance and should be kept for a period of five (5) years.

Update on Control of VOC Emissions from Gasoline Dispensing Facilities (Stage I & Stage II)

UPDATE: Effective on August 20, 2022, Pennsylvania DEP is suspending the enforcement of a specific monitoring requirement – the inspection of the gasoline storage tank automatic tank gauge (ATG) cap.  The reason for the suspension is that after a review of the rule’s requirements it was determined that the likelihood of the ATG being compromised is very low and the verification of the ATG status after every gasoline truck delivery can be problematic and difficult to access.  Please note that the suspension of this specific monitoring requirement does not affect owners or operators of gasoline dispensing facilities relief from other Stage I & Stage II requirements.  Additional information can found in the August 20, 2022 issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin which can be found here.

About the Stage I & Stage II Rulemaking

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board finalized a final-form rulemaking that amends air quality regulations related to the control of VOC emissions at gasoline dispensing facilities. The rulemaking went into effect on March 26th, 2022 and targets Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions during the following situations:
  • Loading of underground gasoline storage tanks (or Stage I vapor recovery)
  • Filling of motor vehicles at the pump (or Stage II vapor recovery)
  • During and after decommissioning of Stage II vapor recovery equipment from gasoline dispensing pumps.
The final-form rulemaking also adds and amends definitions related to Stage I and Stage II vapor recovery systems. A copy of the final preamble and regulation can be accessed here.

What is Stage I Vapor Recovery Systems?

“Stage I” refers to a vapor recovery system that controls the emission of gasoline vapors into the atmosphere during the transfer of gas from a gasoline tank truck to a gasoline storage tank at a Gasoline Dispensing Facility (GDF). A properly operating Stage I vapor recovery system returns vapors to the gasoline tank truck.  The equipment and controls of a Stage I system also control the emission of gasoline vapors during the storage of gasoline vapors at a GDF.

What is Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems?

“Stage II” refers to the vapor recovery system that controls the emission of vapors during the transfer of gasoline from a gasoline storage tank at a GDF to a motor vehicle fuel tank.  A Stage II vapor recovery system also controls emissions into the the atmosphere of vapors during the storage of gasoline at a GDF. Stage II vapor recovery technology uses special refueling nozzles, dispensing hoses and a system that draws refueling vapors in the Underground Storage Tank (UST).  A properly operating Stage II system moves the gasoline vapors from the motor vehicle fuel tank druing the refueling of the vehicle into the UST at the GDF.

Who is Affected by This Rulemaking?

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has finalized regulatory requirements for GDF owners and operators to decommission their Stage II vapor recovery system in 12 counties in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas.  The compliance date for the decommissioning of Stage II systems is December 31, 2022.
  • The 12 Pennsylvania counties include: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington, and Westmoreland.
  • Owners and operators are those with gasoline throughputs that exceed at anytime >10,000 gallons per month (or 120,000 gallons per year) and independent small business marketers of gasoline that have a monthly throughput >50,000 gallons per month (or 600,000 gallons per year) in the above mentioned 12 Pennsylvania counties.
  • Persons performing decommissioning procedures, leak testing, and repairs at gasoline dispensing facilities.

What Happens After Decommissioning Takes Place?

For those entities that need to decommission their Stage II vapor recovery system by December 31, 2022, a notification form needs to be completed and submitted to the appropriate DEP regional office, Allegheny County Health Department, or Philadelphia Air Management Services.

Where Can I Learn More about this Rulemaking?

Pennsylvania DEP has put together a Frequently Asked Questions on their website for Decommissioning Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems at Gasoline Dispensing Facilities. In addition, Pennsylvania small businesses can always contact EMAP for further information and assistance if this rulemaking may affect your small business operation.  Simply call EMAP’s toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or email us at questions@askemap.org.

EPA Amends NESHAP for RICE and NSPS for ICE

On August 10, 2022, EPA published a final rule amending the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R) to reflect a 2015 court decision regarding the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Stationary Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) and the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Stationary Internal Combustion Engines (ICE). The court vacated provisions in the regulations specifying that emergency engines could operate for emergency demand response or during periods where there is a deviation of voltage or frequency. To learn more, see EPA’s Fact Sheet or the Final Rule.

Control of VOC Emissions from Gasoline Dispensing Facilities (Stage I & Stage II)

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board finalized a final-form rulemaking that amends air quality regulations related to the control of VOC emissions at gasoline dispensing facilities. The rulemaking went into effect on March 26th, 2022 and targets Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions during the following situations:
  • Loading of underground gasoline storage tanks (or Stage I vapor recovery)
  • Filling of motor vehicles at the pump (or Stage II vapor recovery)
  • During and after decommissioning of Stage II vapor recovery equipment from gasoline dispensing pumps.
The final-form rulemaking also adds and amends definitions related to Stage I and Stage II vapor recovery systems. A copy of the final preamble and regulation can be accessed here.

What is Stage I Vapor Recovery Systems?

“Stage I” refers to a vapor recovery system that controls the emission of gasoline vapors into the atmosphere during the transfer of gas from a gasoline tank truck to a gasoline storage tank at a Gasoline Dispensing Facility (GDF). A properly operating Stage I vapor recovery system returns vapors to the gasoline tank truck.  The equipment and controls of a Stage I system also control the emission of gasoline vapors during the storage of gasoline vapors at a GDF.

What is Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems?

“Stage II” refers to the vapor recovery system that controls the emission of vapors during the transfer of gasoline from a gasoline storage tank at a GDF to a motor vehicle fuel tank.  A Stage II vapor recovery system also controls emissions into the the atmosphere of vapors during the storage of gasoline at a GDF. Stage II vapor recovery technology uses special refueling nozzles, dispensing hoses and a system that draws refueling vapors in the Underground Storage Tank (UST).  A properly operating Stage II system moves the gasoline vapors from the motor vehicle fuel tank druing the refueling of the vehicle into the UST at the GDF.

Who is Affected by This Rulemaking?

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has finalized regulatory requirements for GDF owners and operators to decommission their Stage II vapor recovery system in 12 counties in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas.  The compliance date for the decommissioning of Stage II systems is December 31, 2022.
  • The 12 Pennsylvania counties include: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington, and Westmoreland.
  • Owners and operators are those with gasoline throughputs that exceed at anytime >10,000 gallons per month (or 120,000 gallons per year) and independent small business marketers of gasoline that have a monthly throughput >50,000 gallons per month (or 600,000 gallons per year) in the above mentioned 12 Pennsylvania counties.
  • Persons performing decommissioning procedures, leak testing, and repairs at gasoline dispensing facilities.

What Happens After Decommissioning Takes Place?

For those entities that need to decommission their Stage II vapor recovery system by December 31, 2022, a notification form needs to be completed and submitted to the appropriate DEP regional office, Allegheny County Health Department, or Philadelphia Air Management Services.

Where Can I Learn More about this Rulemaking?

Pennsylvania DEP has put together a Frequently Asked Questions on their website for Decommissioning Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems at Gasoline Dispensing Facilities. In addition, Pennsylvania small businesses can always contact EMAP for further information and assistance if this rulemaking may affect your small business operation.  Simply call EMAP’s toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or email us at questions@askemap.org.

1-BP Added to Hazardous Air Pollutants List

EPA has now added 1-BP to the Clean Air Act List of Hazardous Air Pollutants.  EPA Administrator Michael Regan signed the final rule on December 22, 2021 and this action was published in the Federal Register on January 5, 2022. The effective date of this final rule is February 4, 2022.
EMAP previously wrote about this topic which can be found here.
1-bromopropane (1-BP), also commonly known as nPB, is a chemical solvent often used in surface coating operations, dry cleaning, and in electronics and metal cleaning. 1-BP is also used an adhesive and is sometimes used in the manufacturing process in pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

What does this rule mean for Pennsylvania small businesses?

If you are a Pennsylvania small business and use 1-BP as part of your operations, you will now need to take into account the use of 1-BP as a regulated Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP). In Pennsylvania, an air quality permit is required if the actual emissions of a single HAP is greater than 1.0 ton per year or if emissions from multiple HAPs are greater than 2.5 tons per year. If you are an existing Pennsylvania small business that already uses 1-BP then you will now need to take into account the use of 1-BP in facility wide air quality permit limits, requirements, and reporting standards.

Are there any new special requirements that apply due to the 1-BP listing as a HAP?

Simply answered, no, there are no new requirements that will apply to a facility for simply using 1-BP in normal small business operations. The more complex narrative is that the use of 1-BP may affect a facility’s classification as an area source or air quality emissions into a major source, or Title V facility, due to the use of 1-BP and taking into account the facility’s Potential To Emit (PTE).  To help better explain this, EPA has put together a Question and Answers document on the Listing of 1-BP as a Clean Air Act Hazardous Air Pollutant.

Small Business Assistance with 1-BP

If any of this confuses you as a Pennsylvania small business owner or operator, EMAP’s highly skilled team of environmental assistance providers is available to talk one-on-one.  Simply call our toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or send us an email at questions@askemap.org.

Proposed Rulemaking for Dry Cleaning Facilities

EPA has proposed amendments to the National Perchloroethylene Air Emission Standards for Dry Cleaning Facilities. This proposal would add provisions which would require all dry-to-dry machines at new and existing facilities to have both refrigerated condensers and carbon adsorbers as secondary controls.
The request for comment period is currently open.  EPA seeks comments and information regarding the number of third generation and earlier model dry cleaning machines that potentially could still be in operation.  In addition, EPA seeks information on dry cleaning practices, processes, and control technologies that could reduce emissions from hazardous air pollutions, or HAPs, for fourth generation (or better) dry cleaning machines.
A copy of the rule summary, the new proposed rule, and fact sheets can be found here.
General speaking, most dry cleaning facilities and operations are small businesses.  Estimates from EPA report that there are approximately 10,000 to 15,000 perchloroethylene dry cleaning facilities in the United States.  Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is estimated that 10-15% of perc dry cleaners have closed.

DEP Enhanced Public Participation Policy

Pennsylvania DEP recently developed the Environmental Justice Enhanced Public Participation Policy.  This policy was created to ensure that environmental justice communities have the opportunity to participate and be involved in a meaningful manner throughout the permitting process when companies propose permitted facilities in their neighborhood or when existing facilities expand their operations.
For permit applicants, DEP is strongly encouraging applicants to perform community outreach, provide information to the public and local community, schedule pre-application meetings, and meet one-on-one or in a public setting with local & community stakeholders.

So what is Environmental Justice?

Environmental Justice, or EJ, is the idea or principle where communties and populations should not be disproportionally exposed to adverse environmental impacts.  EJ has historically occured in minority or low-income communities where these populations have beared a higher-than-usual proportion of adverse environmental impacts such as poor air quality, contaminated soil, or unhealthy drinking water.

Permit Applicant Checklist

For any small businesses that has a facility or operation within an EJ community, the following list of items are strongly being recommended by Pennsylvania DEP to undertake:
  • Become familiar with the Environmental Justice Enhanced Public Policy.
  • Contact the EJ coordinator in your particular region.
  • Engage the local community early in the process and schedule at least one public meeting.  The EJ coordinator will assist in planning an effective community meeting.
To determine if your small business might be located in an EJ area, Pennsylvania DEP has developed the EJ Areas Viewer at http://dep.pa.gov/EJViewer.

Contact EMAP to discuss EJ Issues for your Small Business

If your small business has additional questions related to environmental justice and how it may affect your environmental permit application in Pennsylvania, you can speak with one of EMAP’s environmental consultants by contacting our toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or email us at questions@askemap.org.

Updated General Information Form Now Available for DEP Permit Applications

Pennsylvania DEP has updated its General Information Form (GIF) which is a form used to facilitate coordination between different types of permit or authorization applications for the same project.  The updated GIF form can be accessed in DEP’s eLibrary found here.
Small business permit applicants should begin using the updated forms immediately as older versions of the GIF form will only be accepted through September 30, 2020.
The GIF form is typically used in situations when a small business submits a permit application to Pennsylvania DEP for the very first time for a particular project. This could be if a business decides to start a new type of operation in Pennsylvania and it is determined that an environmental permit application will be needed.  The form is thus used to determine whether additional environmental permit applications will be required for the project.
As an example, if a small business is required to submit an air quality permit application for a project, and the business has never submitted an environmental permit application to DEP in the past, then the GIF form is a tool used by DEP to determine if additional permit applications (e.g. waste, stormwater, etc.) will also be required.
If a small business is considering starting a new project in Pennsylvania, or is expanding or relocating an existing operation, then it is suggested to first use Pennsylvania DEP’s Permit Application Consultation Tool.
Small businesses in Pennsylvania can also reach out to EMAP staff to discuss your project and see if any environmental permit applications may be required by DEP.  All EMAP services are strictly confidential and are offered at no cost.
Jeremy Hancher is the EMAP Program Manager located at the Widener University SBDC.  He holds over 15 years of experience in environmental compliance, environmental policy, and program management.  He is proud to be the team lead of the award-winning EMAP program which provides free and confidential environmental assistance to the Pennsylvania small business community in fulfillment of the requirements of the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act and Section 507 of the federal Clean Air Act.
In 2015, Jeremy was part of the team effort when EMAP was recognized by US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for Outstanding Accomplishments by a State Small Business Environmental Assistance Provider in Providing Technical Environmental Assistance to the Small Business Community. Jeremy holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a certificate from the Wharton School.