New Source Permitting

NSR, PSD, BACT, LAER, MACT, RACT

 

Federal and state regulations are in place to ensure that new industrial projects do not adversely impact average ambient contaminant concentrations (NAAQS).  If a new major source or a new installation at an existing major source are proposed, a netting analysis would be required to determine if New Source Review (NSR) or Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) thresholds have been crossed. Each threshold triggers a level of emissions control.

 

PSD permits are required for new major facilities or major modifications at existing facilities in attainment areas. PSD permitting also requires extensive air dispersion modeling. Nonattainment NSR permits are required for the same in non-attainment areas. These are pre-construction permits that require the facility to offset proposed emissions increases with emissions reductions onsite through various control technologies or purchasing emissions allowances.

 

PSD lists requirements for major sources in attainment areas (40CFR52) and NSR lists requirements for major sources in non-attainment areas (6NYCRR Part 231). New Source Review triggers LAER at a new or existing Major Source, or major modification at a Major Source at predetermined offset ratios based on the attainment status of the given area. In such cases the facility must provide actual emissions reductions equal to or greater than any projected emissions increase associated with the proposed project.

 

The Best Available Control Technology (BACT) standard requires a facility to achieve the lowest possible emission rate for the contaminant in question as long as it is technologically and economically feasible. Most states define the economically feasible standard at less than $5000/ton of emission reduction. BACT is required on new or modified sources in attainment areas if the project exceeds published emission thresholds, through the PSD permitting process.

 

Reasonably Achievable Control Technology (RACT) also has the technological and economic exemptions that are available under BACT. RACT would generally be required on existing sources in non-attainment areas.

 

The Lowest Achievable Emission Reduction (LAER) standard does not have such exemptions and requires the use of expensive control technologies like SCR and FGR. LAER would be required on new sources in non-attainment areas. LAER can be achieved through: changes in material processed, changes to process, or through the addition of emission controls. BACT and LAER are determined on a case by case basis.

 

The Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards were established by the EPA along source specific category lines to establish a floor as to what should be expected from like emission sources.  Though not directly related to the NSR process, MACT standards should be guaranteed by the manufacturer before purchasing any new emission unit.

 

For each source type with more than thirty available sources, the standard is set by averaging the best 12% of responding source data.  For source types with less than thirty available sources, averaging the best 5% of responding source data sets the standard.

 

The MACT floor for new sources is equal to the standard set by the best operating similar sources in the field.  Essentially the idea is for similar model emission units at similar types of sites to be meeting the same emission standard. If the floor can achieve the standard your facility should be able to as well.

 

The EPA also has the power to tighten these standards when economically feasible in the face of environmental or public health needs.

 

Planning for such projects must begin months to years prior to anticipated first fire. The level of complexity will dictate the schedule. Contact CAP today so we can help you get started on your project.

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Randy Thompson

USEFUL TERMS

A New Source Review, (NSR) is a permitting process established by the US Congress in 1977 as part of a series of amendments to the Clean Air Act.  NSR permitting protects air quality when factories, industrial boilers and power plants are newly built or modified. 

A Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit requires a facility to install BACT devices, to run air quality analyses, additional impact analyses and to involve the public during the process.  Among other things it’s purpose is to protect public health and welfare.

BACT stands for Best Available Control Technology. Installing BACT control devices means the facility must be equipped with the latest and most advanced available control devices to reduce air emissions.

LAER, or Lowest Achievable Emission Rate, is required on major new or modified sources in non-attainment areas.

RACT, or Reasonably Available Control Technology, is required on existing sources in areas that are not meeting national ambient air quality standards (i.e., non-attainment areas).

MACT or Maximum Achievable Control Technology, was developed by the EPA to reduce the effects of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) generated by industry.  MACT standards affect both old and new by making them meet specific emissions limits based on the emissions levels already achieved by the best-performing similar facilities.