February 26, 2016
Pennsylvania is in the process of promulgating a new Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) regulation to address persistent ozone nonattainment status. The proposed regulation will impose more stringent emission limits on sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), both of which are classified as ozone “precursor” pollutants. It is referred to as “RACT 2” because Pennsylvania imposed a similar “RACT 1” regulation in 1995 that required major NOx/VOC sources to identify “case-by-case” RACT Plans according to this post from Liberty Environmental, Inc..
The proposed RACT 2 Regulations (25 PA Code Section 129.96-129-100) are applicable to existing (existing before July 20, 2012) major sources of NOx and VOC, therefore if a facility has a potential to emit (PTE) in excess of 100 tpy NOx or 50 tpy VOC, it is subject to the RACT 2 requirements. Facilities that became major after July 20, 2012 are also potentially subject to the regulation.
The regulation does allow facilities that are currently major sources to cap emissions below major source thresholds and opt out of RACT 2. The caps must be in place within one year of the effective date of the regulation. The regulation also exempts facilities for which a requirement or emission standard has already been established.
Major facilities having sources of NOx or VOC with a PTE >1.0 tpy of NOx or VOC that are not regulated by existing regulations are subject to RACT 2. Note that these exemptions do not include the RACT 1 case-by-case RACT Plan limits imposed in 25 PA Code 129.92-96. This means that some sources will need to re-evaluate case-by-case RACT determinations made in the 1990’s. RACT 2 was expected to be finalized by the end of 2015, but is now expected to be finalized by March or April 2016.
The proposed RACT 2 regulations include presumptive RACT requirements (emission limits, work practice standards, recordkeeping, reporting, etc.) for the following source categories:
- Combustion units
- Combustion turbines
- Incinerator/thermal oxidizer/catalytic oxidizer air pollution control units
- Internal combustion engines
- Municipal solid waste landfills
- Municipal waste combustors
- Cement kilns
What this means to you
Pennsylvania is getting closer to finalizing RACT 2 to reduce ozone by imposing stricter limits on NOx and VOC’s.