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Chicago and North Western Indian residents have reason to expect cleaner air this week with the announcement that the nearly 90 year old coal-fired State Line Power Station would be closing. Located between Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyway at the Illinois-Indiana border, the plant has long been known as one of the dirtiest power plants in the nation.

With the recent passing of stricter environmental air laws, including reductions in emissions limits from smoke stacks, utilities are finding that many of the older plants still in operation today simply are no longer cost effective. Executives from the Virginia-based Dominion Resources which, owns the plant, announced they had decided it isn’t worth upgrading the plant to comply with the federal Clean Air Act. The company plans to shutter State Line as early as next year and no later than 2014, said Thomas Farrell, Dominion’s chief executive.

To read more, please see the full article on the Chicago Tribune website here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-met-coal-plant-shutdown-20110505,0,6983.story

 

 
About the Author

| Dominick DalSanto is an Author & Environmental Technologies Expert, specializing in Dust Collection Systems. With nearly a decade of hands-on working experience in the industry, Dominick’s knowledge of the industry goes beyond a mere classroom education. He is currently serving as Online Marketing Director & Content Manager at Baghouse.com. His articles have been published not only on Baghouse.com , but also on other industry related blogs and sites. In his spare time, Dominick writes about travel and life abroad for various travel sites and blogs.

By Dominick DalSanto
Environmental Technologies Expert & Author
Baghouse.com

In today’s world increasing public attention is being given to environmental issues. Politicians and lawmakers are following suit by making modifications to existing pollution control legislation. The general consensus is that environmental regulations are going to be getting much tougher in the near future. Even though certain political factions are vehemently opposing many of theses actions, the trend is most assuredly heading towards tighter regulation of emissions.

This is evidenced by recent actions of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Recently the agency issued new regulations regarding the emission of Mercury (Hg) and other heavy metals such arsenic, chromium, and nickel, and acidic gases, including hydrogen chloride (HCl) and hydrogen fluoride (HF), as well as other kinds of particulate matter (PM).

The agency also has assorted that it has authority under the U.S. Clean Air Act to regulate Green House Gases (GHGs) that are believed to be contributing to global warming trends. This will mean that large GHG emission sources will be subject to quotas and be required to acquire emissions permits for GHG emissions. These actions are in line with the current presidential administration’s environmental policy.

These and other developments, while still in their early stages will soon result in increased difficulty obtaining and staying in compliance with air permits. A process that already many in industry describe as overly complex and easy to get lost in. Many have a hard time sorting through the seemingly endless barrage of new and updated regulations. Often only realizing they have failed to meat their requirements after an inspection has taken place, and their facility has been assessed heavy fines.

New Series of Articles Regarding Air Permitting and Compliance

These new standards are particularly applicable to dust collection systems. The new EPA regulations covering particulate matte, along with Mercury and other heavy metals, poses many challenges for plants to reach compliance. Many facilities housing outdated dust collection systems, such as Shaker designs, and use baghouse filters made from older materials that are not as efficient as newer materials such at PTFE membrane. Additionally, due to shrinking maintenance budgets many dust collection systems are in a state of disrepair and as such are operating well below optimal efficiency. These factors will can potentially lead to achieving compliance with new and updated  air permits quite difficult for facility management.

We here at Baghouse.com are now preparing a series of articles to assist facility management with these issues. The new series will present an overview of the air permitting process. It will include case studies that highlight some of the difficulties involved in obtaining, and the implementation of air permits. We will also include helpful information from several consulting firms that work with industrial clients with the permitting process; from obtaining and negotiating air permits, to obtaining and maintaining compliance with them.

Read more about how to overcome unfair and confusing enforcement by regulatory bodies of emissions permits in the next article in the series: Industrial Air Permits & Your Dust Collection System – Unfair and Confusing Enforcement

 

 
About the Author

| Dominick DalSanto is an Author & Environmental Technologies Expert, specializing in Dust Collection Systems. With nearly a decade of hands-on working experience in the industry, Dominick’s knowledge of the industry goes beyond a mere classroom education. He is currently serving as Online Marketing Director & Content Manager at Baghouse.com. His articles have been published not only on Baghouse.com , but also on other industry related blogs and sites. In his spare time, Dominick writes about travel and life abroad for various travel sites and blogs.

A new article from Baghouse.com has been featured on the well-known environmental blog Triplepundit.com. This article highlights the plight of a group of farmers and ranchers in Texas whose livelihoods have been devastated by acid rain, as they struggle to gain compensation, and recognition from the near by coal-fired power plants that they say are causing the problem.

 

You can read the full article here online: http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/02/pecan-growers-blame-coal-fired-plant-killing-crops/

 

 
About the Author

| Dominick DalSanto is an Author & Environmental Technologies Expert, specializing in Dust Collection Systems. With nearly a decade of hands-on working experience in the industry, Dominick’s knowledge of the industry goes beyond a mere classroom education. He is currently serving as Online Marketing Director & Content Manager at Baghouse.com. His articles have been published not only on Baghouse.com , but also on other industry related blogs and sites. In his spare time, Dominick writes about travel and life abroad for various travel sites and blogs.

Revised standards will bring dramatic benefits to public health, and cost nearly 50% less than initial proposals

By Dominick DalSanto
Environmental Technology Expert & Author
Baghouse.com

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its final set of Clean Air Act standards for boilers and incinerators. The new standards will lead to a reduction of harmful emissions including mercury, and soot from this equipment. Recently federal court orders had charge the agency with the task of issuing final standards ahead of its proposed date. The new set of standards are expected to cost approximately 50 percent less to implement than the original proposal.

The court’s directive from September 2009 led to the EPA issuing a proposal of new standards in April 2010. The court case struck down a set of industry standards that had been proposed and adopted during the Bush administration. After receiving much public input, the EPA made substantial changes and was granted an additional 30 days by the court in December 2010 to implement as much as the public’s input as possible.

The proposed public health benefits for this plan are quite extensive. Exposure to emissions of mercury, soot and several other harmful compounds are very damaging to humans. These pollutants aggravate preexisting conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and asthma, and are especially hard on children, even causing developmental disabilities in some. The EPA estimates that between 2,600 to 6,600 premature deaths will be avoided along with 4,100 heart attacks, and 42,000 asthma attacks.

Much of the public comment on the proposed set of regulations involved the initially high cost of implementation. However, the newly revised standards represent a dramatic cut in the cost of implementation, while maintaining maximum public health benefits. As a result, EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to cut these pollutants, the public will see between $10 to $24 in health benefits, including fewer premature deaths.

Over 4,800 comments were received from both industry, and communities throughout the United States. This included a substantial amount of new information from industrial sources that had previously not been considered. In addition, President Obama recently issued an executive order that called on the EPA to reform its regulatory review process to ensure maximum protection for public health, while not unattainable burdens upon industry. Based on these factors, the EPA revised the proposed, standards, to provide addition flexibility and cost effective techniques – achieving significant pollution reduction and important health benefits, while lowering the cost of pollution control installation and maintenance by about 50 percent, or $1.8 billion.

Details of the new EPA Clean Air Act Standards for Incinerators, and Boilers

Industrial Boiler emissions are include mercury, soot, and ozone.

Emissions from industrial boilers now must conform to EPA emission standards. This includes installing pollution control technologies such as Dust Collectors, and Air Scrubbers to remove harmful compounds from the air.

Several different kinds of boiler and incinerator equipment are covered by the new EPA regulations, including:

  • Boilers used at heavy emissions sources: The approximately 13,800 boilers located at large sources of harmful emissions including chemical manufacturing plants, oil refineries, and similar industrial locations. These standards will reduce the emissions of harmful pollutants at these sources including: mercury, organic air toxins, and dioxins. Estimates for the cost of implementing these new standards in this sector are now $1.5 billion lower than the initial projected cost. Health benefits associated with reduced exposure to these harmful compounds, fine particles, and ozone are projected to save between $22 billion to $54 billion in 2014.
  • Boilers at light emissions sources: There are about 187,000 boilers located at small sources of air pollutants, including universities, hospitals, hotels and commercial buildings that may be covered by these standards. Due to the small amount of emissions these sources are responsible for, EPA has limited the impact of the final rule making on small entities. The original standards for these have been dramatically refined and updated to ensure maximum flexibility for these sources, including for some sources, revising the requirement from maximum achievable control technology to generally available control technology. The cost reduction from the proposed standard to the final is estimated to be $209 million.
  • Solid waste incinerators: There are approximately 88 solid waste incinerators are employed in commercial or industrial settings. These include those used in cement manufacturing facilities. These standards, which facilities will need to meet by 2016 at the latest, will reduce emissions of harmful pollutants including mercury, lead, cadmium, nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution. The cost reduction from the proposed standard to the final is estimated to be $12 million.

In separate but related actions, EPA is finalizing emission standards for sewage sludge incinerators. While there are more than 200 sewage sludge incinerators across the country, EPA expects that over 150 are already in compliance. These standards will reduce emissions of harmful pollutants including mercury, lead, cadmium, and hydrogen chloride from the remaining 50 that may need to leverage existing technologies to meet the new standards.

2,600 to 6,600 premature deaths will be avoided along with 4,100 heart attacks, and 42,000 asthma attacks.

EPA has also identified which non-hazardous secondary materials are considered solid waste when burned in combustion units. This distinction determines which Clean Air Act standard is applied when the material is burned. The non-hazardous secondary materials that can be burned as non-waste fuel include scrap tires managed under established tire collection programs. This step simplifies the rules and provides additional clarity and direction for facilities. To determine that materials are non-hazardous secondary materials when burned under today’s rule, materials must not have been discarded and must be legitimately used as a fuel.

The agency recognizes that secondary materials are widely used today as raw materials, as products, and as fuels in industrial processes. EPA believes that the final rule helps set protective emissions standards under the Clean Air Act.

The emissions standards for sewage sludge incinerators and the definition of solid waste are not part of today’s reconsideration.

About 200,000 boilers are located at small and large sources of air toxic emissions across the country. The final standards require many types of boilers to follow practical, cost-effective work practice standards to reduce emissions. To ensure smooth implementation, EPA is working with the departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) to provide the diverse set of facilities impacted by the standards with technical assistance that will help boilers burn cleaner and more efficiently. DOE will work with large coal and oil-burning sources to help them identify clean energy strategies that will reduce harmful emissions and make boilers run more efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition, USDA will reach out to small sources to help owners and operators understand the standards and their cost and energy saving features.

 

 
About the Author

| Dominick DalSanto is an Author & Environmental Technologies Expert, specializing in Dust Collection Systems. With nearly a decade of hands-on working experience in the industry, Dominick’s knowledge of the industry goes beyond a mere classroom education. He is currently serving as Online Marketing Director & Content Manager at Baghouse.com. His articles have been published not only on Baghouse.com , but also on other industry related blogs and sites. In his spare time, Dominick writes about travel and life abroad for various travel sites and blogs.

By Dominick DalSanto
Environmental Technologies Expert & Author
Baghouse.com

Two Biomass power plants in California’s central valley were fined $835,000 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for exceeding emission limits of nitrogen oxides (which lead to the formation of Ozone), and fine particulate matter. Ampersand Chowchilla Biomass, LLC, (ACB), and Merced Power, LLC, (MP), are located within 12 miles of each other in California’s San Joaquin Valley. An additional fine of $15,000 was issued to ACB by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District for violation of a district only statute.

The two plants which began operating in 2008 after nearly 2 years of refurbishments, are additionally required to install new pollution control technologies, and monitoring systems. As a result of this action, the plants have installed equipment that will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 180 tons per year, and carbon monoxide by up to 365 tons per year. The EPA and The District have placed the plants under supervision for the next years years to ensure compliance.

Failure to maintain a fully functionally dust collection system often leads to heavy governmental fines, and sanctions. In the end, the cost of properly maintaining your dust collection system is much lower than the costs associated with operating a faulty, inefficient, and inadequate system.

This action is part of the EPA’s larger efforts for improve the air quality across the nation, specifically in some of the nations largest urban areas. The San Joaquin Valley suffers from one of the worst air quality situations in the country. With heavy industry, a strong reliance on personal automobiles (lack of public transportation), and geographical characteristics all combining to create large amounts of smog, ozone and particulate matter pollution. The area often consistently exceeds national health standards for ozone and particulate matter.

“EPA is committed to doing our part to tackle the worst air quality in the nation. Today’s enforcement actions are a victory for human health,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “San Joaquin Valley communities can now breathe easier as a result of the significant pollution controls won in these settlements.”

Nitrogen oxides react with other chemicals to form ozone and small particles, both harmful to the public’s health. Ozone and particulate matter affect the human respiratory system, and are linked to a variety of significant health problems ranging from aggravated asthma to premature death in people with heart and lung disease.

Biomass power plants use green waste from farms and other operations that would otherwise be subject to open burning, and construction debris that might have gone to a landfill, to generate power. A key piece of equipment needed to control emissions from this process, is an suitable dust collection system. As this case demonstrates, failure to maintain a fully functionally dust collection system often leads to heavy governmental fines, and sanctions. In the end, the cost of properly maintaining your dust collection system is much lower than the costs associated with operating a faulty, inefficient, and inadequate system.

After refurbishing the plants in 2007-2008, ACB and MP initiated operations in 2008. A joint investigation by the EPA and District found that ACB and MP violated the air permits issued to them by the District by:

· Emitting air pollutants including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide in excess of the permit limits;

· Failing to perform timely source testing to measure emissions of various air pollutants;

· Failing to properly install and operate emissions control systems for nitrogen oxides, a precursor to ozone; and

· Failing to certify the continuous emissions monitoring systems.

The plants also violated various District rules including requirements for emissions control plans.

Do you know of any real-life examples where plants chose not to invest in a adequate dust collection system (or failed to maintain it properly, install a larger system to keep up with production needs, etc…) and in the end it ended up costing them much more later on? If you do, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

 

 
About the Author

| Dominick DalSanto is an Author & Environmental Technologies Expert, specializing in Dust Collection Systems. With nearly a decade of hands-on working experience in the industry, Dominick’s knowledge of the industry goes beyond a mere classroom education. He is currently serving as Online Marketing Director & Content Manager at Baghouse.com. His articles have been published not only on Baghouse.com , but also on other industry related blogs and sites. In his spare time, Dominick writes about travel and life abroad for various travel sites and blogs.

By Gilda Martinez
Environmental Author
Baghouse.com

February 10, 2011, Cemex, the largest producer of cement in United States has agreed to pay $1.4 million for Clean Air Act violations at its cement plant in Fairborn, Ohio, to the environmental protection agency (EPA) and to the Justice Department. An additional 2 million will need to be spent by Cemex on system improvements including the installation of pollution control technology in order to achieve EPA environmental requirements.

The plant located in Ohio was affecting the health of the local population. One assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance said that the emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can lead to grave health and environmental problems such as premature death and heart disease.

Increasingly, many environmental activists and politicians are taking are coming to believe that the only way to combat pollution is by levying heavy fines for companies that are habitually found to be in violation of current environmental regulations. This action they feel will force them to invest in pollution control technology to reduce harmful emissions.

This is a very important step taken by EPA, since it will mean not only an environmental improvement for the Fairborn populace and the surrounding region today, but also reduce childhood asthma, acid rain and smog caused by pollution, in the future.

According to the agency, Cemex annual emissions of NO2 and SO2 are expected to be reduced by approximately 2.300 tons and 288 tons.

Interestingly among the violations listed in the citation issued by the EPA, is the charge that also Cemex made substantial changes to the plant without first obtaining the proper permit. The largest polluters are required to apply for permits before beginning any work that may increase (even temporarily) air emissions.

The heavy fine for Cemex is part of an overall strategy by the EPA to mentioned push the cement industry to install the latest pollution control. For this reason the dust collection industry is expanding at a rapid pace since the demand for this equipment grows every year.

Tougher Enforcement Part of EPA Plan for 2011 – 2013

The imposing fines on the largest sources of emissions, such as Cemex and other cement manufacturers, is part of the EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives for 2011-2013 in reducing air pollution. The efforts put by the EPA in this respect are noted in the following figures:

During 2010 due to tougher enforcement of emissions regulations in cement manufacturing, coal-fired power generation, glass and acid industries the EPA achieved the following results:

  • Prevented the release of 370 million pounds of pollution across all industries.
  • 1.4 in pollution controls due to installation of Baghouses, dust collectors, and other air filtration equipments.
  • $14 million in civil penalties

A few years ago the state of Maryland enacted legislation to require the installation of specialized emissions control technology to capture excess mercury emissions from power plants. And according to the latest published reports it appears that the initiative has been a success. Coal-burning power plants in Maryland are now required to install new pollution controls that reduce mercury emissions by 80 percent.

But appearently that is not enough to keep the air quality in the state safe enough for all. Why?

A serious health threat still exists because neighboring states have yet to crack down on the toxic pollutant, an environmental group’s report says. The neighboring states, particularly Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are among the worst in the nation for mercury emissions, ranking second, third and fourth highest, respectively, in the country. All are within Maryland’s “airshed,” where pollutants put into the air in one state are carried by prevailing winds into neighboring states.

Robert M. Summers, acting secretary of the environment, noted in a news release that 73 percent of the mercuy air pollution measured in Maryland is coming from outside the state’s borders.

He and others called on the Environmental Protection Agency to follow through with an air-quality standard it is set to propose in March that would curb mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants.  The federal standard, if proposed as drafted, would reduce mercury emission by more than 90 percent, advocates say.

The report – and a recent press conference – are meant to put public pressure on EPA to go through with the regulation in the face of pushback from industry and its supporters in Congress, where legislation to block new EPA rules is said to be in the works.

 

 
About the Author

| Dominick DalSanto is an Author & Environmental Technologies Expert, specializing in Dust Collection Systems. With nearly a decade of hands-on working experience in the industry, Dominick’s knowledge of the industry goes beyond a mere classroom education. He is currently serving as Online Marketing Director & Content Manager at Baghouse.com. His articles have been published not only on Baghouse.com , but also on other industry related blogs and sites. In his spare time, Dominick writes about travel and life abroad for various travel sites and blogs.