BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
October 25, 2001
On behalf of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, I write to comment on the draft Title V permit for Southern States Chemical and to request that the Division of Air Quality hold a public hearing before issuing this permit.
Title V permits are meant to reduce confusion by including all applicable requirements that apply to a given source. The operating permit program is designed to define compliance, not just applicable standards. The permit must list all applicable requirements including monitoring, methods of testing, semi-annual reporting, and annual compliance certification. Compliance is determined by monitoring conditions with respect to an associated standard. If there is no federal standard for monitoring requirements, averaging times, or record keeping, Title V directs the state to determine them. This monitoring provision allows the public, the state, and the operator to know if the facility is in compliance with emission standards. According to the US EPA OAQP&S, In effect, title V makes compliance a matter of corporate responsibility.
In their application for a permit, the company lists the state and federal rules which apply to this facility including 15A NCAC 2Q .0524 New Source Performance Standards and 40 CFR 60 Subpart Cd Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Sulfuric Acid Production Units. Rule 2D .0524 (b)(7) removes sulfuric acid production units from NSPS and places them under Subpart Cd. However, nowhere in the application document does the applicant state the date when the facility commenced construction or operation. The issue here is compliance with NSPS which greatly reduce allowable emission limits. Subpart H Standards of Performance for Sulfuric Acid Plants applies to facilities which commence construction or modification after August 17, 1971. The threshold for Subpart H differs significantly from the Visible Emissions criterion in 2D .0521 which states, For sources manufactured as of July 1, 1971, visible emissions shall be . Records obtained from DAQ files indicate that the Koch/Southern States facility has undergone many modifications and permit alterations since 1971. As detailed below, the Southern States Chemical factory should be required to meet NSPS for sulfuric acid plants. Therefore, absent information to the contrary, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League contends that Subpart H applies to Southern States Chemical, Inc., facility ID #6500118.
SECTION 2 -
SPECIFIC LIMITATIONS AND CONDITIONS
A. Sulfuric Acid
Production Plants No. 1 (ID No. ES-1) and No. 2
(ID No. ES-2)
limits for SO2 15A NCAC
North Carolina rule 15A NCAC 2D .0517 sets emission limits of 27 lb. SO2 per ton of sulfuric acid produced. However, federal standards of performance for sulfuric acid plants 40 CFR 60.82 Subpart H require SO2 limits of 4 lb. per ton of acid produced. The lower limit should be included in the permit as the requirement for compliance with the law.
1.b. Testing requirements
The draft permit states:
The draft permit states what non-compliance is but neglects to define compliance. The permit must state the monitoring requirements and test methods which will be used to determine regulatory compliance. 15A NCAC 2D .0501 (c)(3) lists several particulate matter test methods.
Also, 15A NCAC 2D .0501 (c)(5) states:
The reference to 15A NCAC 2D .0501 (c)(5) is omitted from the draft permit and should be added.
limits for H2SO4
15A NCAC 2D .0517(2)
North Carolina rule 15A NCAC 2D .0517 sets emission limits of 0.5 lb. sulfuric acid mist per ton of sulfuric acid produced. However, federal standards of performance for sulfuric acid plants 40 CFR 60.83 Subpart H require limits on sulfuric acid mist of 0.15 lb. per ton of acid produced. The lower limit should be included in the permit as the requirement for compliance with the law.
2.b. Testing Requirements
Similar to 2.A.1.b., the draft permit states:
Again the draft permit states what non-compliance is but neglects to define compliance. The permit must state the monitoring requirements and test methods which will be used to determine regulatory compliance. 15A NCAC 2D .0501 (c)(3) lists several particulate matter test methods. Also, 15A NCAC .0501 (c)(1)(C) specifies testing for facilities emitting acid mists. It states :
The reference to 15A NCAC .0501 (c)(1)(C) is omitted from the draft permit and should be added.
2.c. Monitoring Requirements
The monitoring requirements in the draft permit recommend adherence to manufacturers guidelines for control device ME-3 but offer no insights into what constitutes compliance or non-compliance with the rule. The draft permit states:
As a practical matter, manufacturers recommendations are not sufficient to determine compliance. For example, does a pressure drop reading under item 2.c.ii constitute compliance, or do readings over 10 inches or below 6 constitute non-compliance?
3.b. Control of Nitrogen Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxides
As written the permit is unclear as to if and when NOx testing is required. The draft permit states:
General Condition JJ repeats the ambiguous language if emissions testing is required offering no guidance as to whether testing for nitrogen oxides would ever be required. The permit must stipulate the conditions which would require testing.
4. Control of
Visible Emissions - 15A NCAC 2D .0521
4.a. Opacity limits are based on the date of manufacture. As stated previously, neither the application nor the draft permit record a date of construction for the Southern States facility. Facilities made before July 1, 1971 must not exceed 40% opacity; more recently manufactured plants are limited to 20% opacity. In any case, the permit must state the basis for this limit.
Finally, in the permit application page B3 designates the Standby Boiler ID No. ES-19 as a process heater burning propane at 58 gallons/hour, producing 5.3 mmBTU. The draft permit lists a propane-fired standby boiler (5.3 million Btu per hour heat input) as ID No. ES-20 under Insignificant Activities [15A NCAC 2Q.0503(8)]. Is this the same unit in both cases?