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U.S. EPA Proposes Performance Specifications and Quality Assurance Requirements for Continuous Parameter Monitoring Systems at Stationary Sources


By Jennifer Thompson, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

On October 9, 2008 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“U.S. EPA”) proposed Performance Specification 17 (“PS-17”) and Procedure 4 (“P-4”) for continuous parameter monitoring systems (“CPMS”) at stationary sources. The proposed performance specifications and quality assurance procedures would apply to facilities that are required to install CPMS (used to monitor temperature, pressure, flow rate, pH and conductivity) pursuant to 40 C.F.R. Parts 60, 61, and 63, excluding those facilities that are not subject to 40 C.F.R. § 63.8(a)(2). Table 1 at 73 Fed. Reg. 59957–59959 lists the applicable source categories to which the proposed PS-17 and P-4 would apply. U.S. EPA’s notice states that PS-17 and P-4 are necessary to ensure that CPMS are properly selected, installed, and placed into operation and concludes that the proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action.

Generally, proposed PS-17 would require owners and operators of affected CPMS to: (1) select a CPMS that satisfies equipment design criteria; (2) install their CPMS according to standard procedures; (3) validate their CPMS prior to placing it into operation; and (4) record and maintain information on their CPMS and its operation.
Proposed P-4 would require periodic accuracy audits, visual inspections and other operational checks, and development and implementation of a QA/QC program for each affected CPMS.

In addition to PS-17 and P-4, U.S. EPA’s notice also proposes amendments to: (1) Procedure 1 of the “Quality Assurance Requirements for Gas Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems Used for Compliance Determinations” to clarify what owners and operators of continuous emission monitoring systems subject to PS-9 or PS-15 must do to comply with Procedure 1; and (2) the General Provisions to the New Source Performance Standards and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants to ensure consistency with the requirements of PS-17 and P-4.

As currently drafted, the PS-17 and P-4 would become effective ninety (90) days after publication of the final rule and affected facilities would become subject to the rule either:

  1. at the time a new CPMS is installed and placed into operation ;
  2. at the time of replacement or relocation of the sensor of an existing affected CPMS;
  3. at the time of replacement of the electronic signal modifier or conditioner, transmitter, external power supply, data acquisition system, data recording system, or any other mechanical or electrical component of an affected CPMS that affects accuracy, range, or resolution;
  4. for facilities required to have a Title V Permit, at the time of Title V renewal or when key components of the affected CPMS are replaced as set forth above (note, however, that PS-17 requires Title V sources to comply with the basic requirements of PS-17 prior to submitting their Title V renewal application);
  5. for area sources not required to obtain a Title V Permit, five (5) years after the date of publication of the final rule, or when key components of the affected CPMS are replaced as set forth above.

The U.S. EPA is in the process of reviewing and considering the public comments submitted during the public comment period for the proposed rulemaking notice, which closed on February 5, 2009. The comments submitted, include but are not limited to the following:

  1. The U.S. EPA has not demonstrated a problem with the current CPMS requirements and practices to justify the proposed rule, nor has it outlined the demonstrable benefits associated with the new requirements. Many commentors raised concerns with the cost and time to implement the proposed rule compared to the benefits in accuracy and precision of measurements.
  2. The U.S. EPA has grossly underestimated the number of affected facilities and the cost of the proposed rule. U.S. EPA should comply with the administrative procedures for a major regulatory action in further development of this proposed rule.
  3. The timing of the requirements needs to be changed and a more reasonable schedule should be adopted (three to five years from promulgation). Furthermore, a single compliance deadline should be adopted.
  4. The validation, monitoring, and recordkeeping requirements are overly burdensome.
  5. The proposed rule may require a Title V Permit modification for replacement or relocation of an existing CPMS.
  6. A one size fits all approach is not appropriate. The proposed rule does not account for CPMS that are factory-tested and do not require additional calibration or accuracy testing, nor does it allow facilities the flexibility to make adjustments based on system performance.

It is clear from the numerous comments submitted that proposed PS-17 and P-4 will significantly change affected sources’ CPMS requirements. To view the October 9, 2008 Federal Register click here.


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