Deadlines can be intimidating, and if you're in the landfill business, they seem to be coming at you from every corner. From Subtitle D to the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA), air and water quality regulations are complex and include compliance deadlines.
For example, the CAAA requires estimations, characterizations and reports of landfill gas emissions, and in many cases, the owners must use emission controls. In particular, the CAAA's Title I (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) and Title V (Operating Permits) affect municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. * Title I: New stationary sources and modifications to existing sour-ces must undergo a New Source Review (NSR) before they can operate. Also, the EPA's New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and Emissions Guidelines (EGs) are included. These standards regulate non-methane organic compound (NMOC) landfill emissions by establishing estimation procedures and determining if a LFG collection and treatment system is required.
* Title V: Every state and territory is required to establish an operating permit program for stationary air pollution sources. For example, facilities - such as landfills that emit or could emit criteria air pollutants at excessive levels - must undergo the Title V permitting process.
As states have be-gun implementing CAAA requirements, significant differences in agencies and permitting standards have become apparent. In fact, some state permitting programs are more stringent than federal re-quirements.
Most states and territories have received some level of approval for their operating permit programs (see top table on page 41). To date, only 12 states and territories, as well as seven local programs, have received full approvals (see table at left). Since most approvals are less than a year old, most states have not notified landfill owner/operators that permit applications may be due.
Title I and Title V permitting requirement include: 1. New Source Review (NSR) Re-quirements. Most of the country is classified as either "in attainment" or "non-attainment" according to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These attainment standards are measured against a specific air pollutant.
The EPA sets NAAQS for six criteria air pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone (as measured as volatile organic compounds), particulate matter and lead. If an air jurisdiction doesn't meet the levels for any of the six criteria pollutants, it is classified as a non-attainment area for that pollutant.
Emission levels have been set for: * New, modified stationary sources and are expressed as total atmospheric loadings. The thresholds also depend on location (attainment or non-attainment area) and source (new or existing and its emission quantity). New sources or modifications to existing sources that exceed these levels are classified as "major sources" while those that do not are classified as "minor sources." Major sources or modifications must undergo a comprehensive air permitting process while minor sources or modifications undergo a less stringent review.
* New or modified landfills in attain-ment areas undergo Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting, while those in non-attainment areas undergo Non-attainment Area (NAA) permitting.
2. Attainment Area PSD Review. Applicants must determine PSD applicability for individual pollutants in the LFG stream. For gas-fired sources, including landfill gas energy recovery projects, the principal pollutant is NOx. A new source that emits or could emit NOx at a level greater than 250 tons per year is considered "major."
In addition, an existing emission source modification is major if: * The existing source is already a major NOx source, and the modification will create emissions greater than the PSD significance level (40 tons per year) or
* If the existing source is minor for NOx and the modification will create emissions greater than the major new source threshold (250 tons per year).
Non-Attainment Review Non-attainment major NSR is required if a proposed new or modified emission source is located in a non-attainment area and the modification is classified as major. New sources or modifications are considered major if they exceed the limits shown in the bottom table on page 41. Note that the applicable emissions limits depend upon the degree of non-attainment.
Non-attainment NSR permits requirements include: * The project must use technology that reaches the Lowest Achievable Emissions Rate (LAER) for the non-attainment pollutant.
* A source must reduce emissions at an existing combustion source that more than offsets the new project's emissions.
Exemptions In mid-1994, the EPA's Office of Air Quality and Planning Standards allowed regional and state staff more flexibility in "pollution control project" permitting. For example, an existing landfill that installs either a LFG energy recovery project or flares will qualify as a pollution control project if it reduces the site's NMOCs (either because gas was previously uncontrolled or vented, or because additional gas is being collected and combusted). The permitting authority now may exempt the project from NSR.
NSPS Requirements The EPA's NSPS rule limits landfills' methane and NMOC emissions through guidelines and performance standards. For landfills exceeding these standards, the rule requires the site to use LFG extraction and treatment systems.
The NSPS rule consists of both EGs, for existing landfills, and NSPS for new landfills. These regulations essentially are the same but have different compliance deadlines.
Affected landfills are those covered under the NSPS and include: * MSW landfills which received wastes after November 8, 1987 and
* MSW landfills that exceeded a design capacity of 2.5 million metric tons (Mg) and a maximum NMOC emission rate of 50 Mg per year (~56 tons/yr).
EGs apply in older landfills if construction, re-construction or first-time waste acceptance did not occur on or after May 30, 1991; otherwise, NSPS rules apply. Landfills subject to NSPS must submit a Title V permit application.
Title V is expected to be broadly applied. If the surface emissions or other emission sources at the landfill are a major source, the facility must apply for a Title V permit. The Title V application includes an air emissions inventory, which lists the site's regulated air pollutant sources and an applicability review.
Typical sites include the landfill surface, fugitive dust from haul roads and other operations, LFG flares or LFG-to-energy operations, fuel storage tanks, leachate storage tanks/lagoons and mobile sources. The facility should calculate both "actual" and the "potential to emit" emissions should be calculated to complete the inventory, determine fees and establish permit limitations.
The applicability review requires the facility to compare emissions to major source thresholds. Major sources are defined in Sections 112, 302 and in Title 1, Part D of the CAA: * Section 112 regulates landfills that can emit 10 tons per year or more of any hazardous air pollutant (HAP) or 25 tons per year or more of any HAP combination, including fugitive emissions. Typical HAPs include benzene, ethyl benzene, toluene and xylene.
* Section 302 regulates landfills that have the potential to emit 100 tons per year of a regulated pollutant.
* Title I, Part D requires landfills in serious, severe or extreme non-attainment areas to obtain a permit for facilities emitting less than 100 tons per year of pollutants.
If the facility's desk-top calculations indicate that it is a major source, then the Title V permit application must be submitted along with the permit fees. These fees are based on actual emissions (on a per ton basis) and may range from $10,000 to $30,000 annually.
While all states have not yet received approval of their Title V operating permit programs, the time is rapidly approaching when landfill emissions requirements and permitting fees are going to be enforced.
Savvy landfill owners and operators will keep informed of the status of the Titles I and V requirements in their states. If they haven't told you yet, maybe you should start asking questions.
May 1995 * State submits proposed operating permit program to the EPA.
* State requires all landfills to submit Form G to show calculations for fugi-tive dust and gaseous emissions from landfill facility.
* State allows 12-month extension for major source landfills to submit Reason-ably Available Control Technologies (RACT) proposals.
November 1995 * Title V permit applications due for landfills.
March 1996 * The EPA publishes notice in Federal Register of full operating permit program approval.
* Full payment due for Title V emissions fees for previous year. At $37.00 perton of actual criteria pollutant emissions, some annual payments fall in $10,000 to $30,000 range.
* Final RACT proposals due.
October 1996 * Title V applications due for landfills subject to NSPS.