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EPA Rules for Boilers are Final Do You Know Your Boiler’s Compliance Requirements?

Tip Sheet: May 2013

Key Facts

  • Under the Area Source Rule, there are no requirements for natural gas-fired boilers
  • Required actions under the EPA rules range from regular tuneups to emissions monitoring
  • Facilities must maintain records and file periodic reports to demonstrate compliance

If you are a boiler owner, learn how new compliance regulations may affect you.

 

    

The Area Source and Major Source Rules for Boilers (also known as the Boiler MACT or BMACT) are in effect. The EPA published the rules in the Federal Register on February 1, 2013, and January 31, 2013, respectively, which made them official for the purpose of compliance. The adjustments to the Area Source and Major Source Rules reflect new data provided to the EPA, including additional information about real-world performance and conditions under which affected boilers operate.   

     

Under the rules, there are required actions ranging from regular tune-ups to emissions monitoring. Facilities also must maintain records and file periodic reports to demonstrate compliance. The extent of actions and the number of reports to be filed vary depending upon: boiler size, age and fuel type. Under both rules, boilers are considered new sources if they commenced construction or reconstruction after June 4, 2010.  

     

There are a number of steps determining the proper subcategory of your boiler. The first step is to verify whether your boiler is an area source or a major source. If your facility emits 10 or more tons per year of any single air toxic or 25 tons or more per year of any combination of air toxics, you are subject to the Major Source Rule. A comprehensive list of the regulated air toxics can be found on the EPA website.  Most major source boilers are located at very large industrial facilities (such as refineries, chemical plants and large manufacturing plants), and large institutional facilities (such as universities).   

     

If your facility is not a major source, it is considered an area source, subject to the Area Source Rule. Boilers covered by the Area Source Rule typically include those found in: stores and malls, laundries, apartments, restaurants, hotels and motels, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, churches, amusement parks, courthouses, prisons and small manufacturing plants.  

     

To calculate how to estimate emissions from your source to determine if you are a major source or area source facility, consult the EPA Emission Inventory Improvement Program document,  “Preferred and Alternative Methods for Estimating Air Emissions from Boilers.”  Sections 4 and 5 show emissions calculation methods.   

     

Once you know whether your boiler is an area source or major source, determine its size, age and fuel type based on the EPA’s definition of each. Under both rules, a boiler is considered a new source if it commenced construction or reconstruction after June 4, 2010. Boilers less than 10 MMBTU/hr are considered small sources and have different requirements than those of larger boilers.  

     

Under the Area Source Rule, there are no requirements for natural gas-fired boilers. According to the EPA, a natural gas-fired boiler can burn oil or other liquid fuel during periods of gas curtailment, gas supply interruption, startups or for periodic testing, as long as periodic testing of liquid fuel does not exceed a combined total of 48 hours during any calendar year.  

     

Requirements for Area Source Boilers   

  
For area source boilers, the first requirement is to submit an Initial Notification of Applicability. For existing area source boilers, this form is due by January 20, 2014. For new sources, it is due within 120 days after startup. For instructions and a sample form, visit  Cleaver-Brooks EPA Compliance Center for Boilers.   

     

Under the Area Source Rule, existing sources must comply with the requirements by March 21, 2014. For new sources, compliance is required upon startup. The requirements include:  

     

 • Tune-ups, which are mandatory for boilers that burn oil, biomass or coal, with varying frequency for different fuel types and designs. The rules establish guidelines for the tune-up, which are more encompassing than a typical industry tune-up.  

      

 • A one-time energy assessment, which is required for all existing large boilers (10 MBBTU/hr and greater).  

     

 • Emissions limit requirements, which apply to large boilers that burn coal (both new and existing units), biomass (new units only) or oil (new units only).  

   

     

Requirements for Major Source Boilers   

     

For major Source boilers, the first requirement is to submit an Initial Notification of Applicability. For existing Major Source boilers, this form is due by May 31, 2013. For new sources, the form is due within 15 days of startup. For instructions and a sample form, visit  Cleaver-Brooks EPA Compliance Center for Boilers.   

     

Under the major Source Rule, existing sources must comply with the requirements by January 31, 2016. For new sources, compliance is required upon startup. Among the requirements are:  

     

 • Tune-ups, which are mandatory for most boilers, with varying frequency for different fuel types and designs. The rules establish guidelines for the tune-up, which are more encompassing than a typical industry tune-up.  

   

 • A one-time energy assessment, which is required for all existing boilers, regardless of fuel type.  

   

 • Emissions limit requirements that vary depending upon fuel type and size.  

   

 • Annual performance tests, which are required for units subject to emissions limits.  

To learn about the required actions and compliance dates for your boiler(s), visit   Cleaver-Brooks EPA Compliance Center for Boilers . Included on the site are: a process to determine the proper boiler subcategory, work practice requirements, emissions tables, deadlines for compliance and notifications and form templates.