Webinar addresses boiler MACT compliance for process heaters

By Lisa Gibson | March 28, 2011

Following the release of the U.S. EPA’s final Maximum Achievable Control Technology rules in February, a number of webinars and other helpful tools have been launched to help the biomass industry wade through the new regulations and achieve compliance, including a free webinar by trade publication Process Heating.

The one-hour webinar, EPA’s new boiler MACT Rules and How to Come Into Compliance, will be held April 5 and will address the hardware needed to revamp a boiler for compliance, as well as outline the compliance strategies to legally operate a boiler or process heater. While the webinar topics are not limited strictly to biomass, it will nevertheless touch on important topics for owners and operators of biomass boilers, addressing practical information on how to achieve compliance at the lowest cost. The webinar’s speakers will also touch on the development of a compliance strategy, including numerical emission limits, operation practices and frequency of report submission to the EPA. Last, speakers will address the reconsideration period for certain portions of the rule and how it could affect control technology decisions.

 The MACT rules include standards for four source categories—major source industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters; area source industrial, commercial and institutional boilers; commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI); and sewage sludge incinerators—as well as an updated definition of solid waste, crucial in determining which rules a technology will fall under. The proposed rules were first released in April 2010 and were less than friendly to the biomass industry. Stakeholders were concerned about whether the industry could survive the changes the proposed rules would require.

But they weren’t the only ones. Almost 5,000 comments were submitted during the public comment period on the proposal, outlining the concerns of many industries and calling for an overhaul before the final deadline of January 2011. The EPA wanted more time to wade through the comments, but after a disappointing extension denial by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the agency was forced to pull together a final rule by Feb. 21 of 2011, instead of its desired extension date of April 2012. The extension would have allowed the EPA to completely rewrite the rules, taking into account the useful comments, and hold another comment period.

Still, the final rules do allow more flexibility for biomass boilers in a number of areas, including the elimination of numeric emission limits for certain small units. Because the extension was denied and another formal comment period cannot be held, the EPA is allowing a reconsideration period on certain portions of the boiler and process heater portions, as well as for CISWI. For an explanation of the final rules and information on the reconsideration, go to www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion.

Speakers during the April 5 webinar will include Thomas McGowan, president and founder of TMTS Associates Inc.; Lori Pittman, client service and project manager for Sage Environmental Consulting; and moderator Linda Becker, associate publisher and editor of Process Heating. For more information or to register, visit http://www.process-heating.com.