ESS Completes Summer Projects Domestically and Internationally

Environmental Source Samplers, Inc.The summer months are typically a slow season for stack testing, but for Environmental Source Samplers, Inc. (ESS) the summer of 2013 has seen a larger workload, and more completed projects, than many summers before.

ESS attributes this large workload both to increased demand for stack testing service, and to excellent service that has attracted and maintained a consistently growing base of dedicated clients.

ESS strives first and foremost to provide quality service to their clients, with projects completed on time, within budget, and acceptable to both facility personnel and state and federal governing bodies. ESS offers expertise on current rulings, new and upcoming standards, and has the tools to achieve compliance with them.

The finalization of the MACT standards in December of 2012 — including the Boiler MACT, RICE MACT, and Incinerator standards – has spurred many facilities to seek engineering testing as part of long-term compliance strategies, as well as some companies who are already preparing for final compliance demonstrations. A partnership with Power Secure International and Governor Control Systems (GCS) for RICE engine compliance has driven a large surge in business, with clients desiring to achieve Subpart ZZZZ emissions limitations on their stationary reciprocal combustion engines. ESS has also conducted testing on Sewage Sludge Incinerators (SSI) at Wastewater Treatment Plants in multiple states for engineering and compliance with Subpart MMMM. Many of ESS’s regular clients have also been testing for the pollutants limited under the MACT for Boilers and Industrial Heaters.

Internationally, the ESS office established this year in Hanoi, Vietnam, is also completing projects for both new and repeat clients. ESS Asia and USA test personnel are this week completing a large project for an important return client, the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department (HKEPD). ESS performed sampling for HKEPD in 2011 for multiple pollutants at power plants in Hong Kong, and was awarded a bid in 2013 to test at those plants for fine particulate matter, as part of a further initiative by the EPD for cleaning the air of dust and contaminants. Partnering with Berkman Systems, one of the largest environmental consulting companies in the Philippines, ESS Asia has completed a RATA test program for a Philippine-based oil refinery, marking a successful first step in breaking into the very competitive RATA market in Southeast Asia.

The remainder of 2013 indicates a continuation of this trend. Through the acquisition of new clients and the retaining of current ones, ESS is already scheduling projects for completion through October and November of this year, and anticipates many more to come before the year closes out.

ESS expects to continue to leverage their customer service, stack testing expertise, and project execution to satisfy its current and future client base in 2013, and on into the future.

To connect with the experts at ESS, call us at (910) 799-1055 and like us on Facebook to stay connected with news and updates.

NSHM Rule – Classification of Materials as Fuel or Waste for Combustion

Industrial PlantOn December 20, 2012, the US EPA promulgated several final rules for emissions standards for certain industrial boilers and incinerators. Also finalized at the same time was a rule that determines what standards apply to units that combust secondary materials, rather than traditional fuels. This rule is known as the Identification of Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials That Are Solid Waste (NSHM Rule), and it is important because the EPA determination of a particular fuel as a waste has ramifications for the unit in question. If a unit is firing a fuel determined as a waste, then it will be required to meet the more stringent standards for Commercial/Industrial Incinerators (CISWI), rather than the standards applicable to boilers, known under as MACT standards.

However, the criteria by which the EPA would determine whether a fuel is waste or non-waste has been very opaque since the outset, and early attempts to distinguish between the two categories were even a primary reason for earlier MACT and CISWI rules to be invalidated and vacated entirely. In 2011 EPA attempted to resolve this with the first NSHM rule, but again failed to establish clear and legally sound criteria for distinguishing between the fuel types. This led to the rule being reopened in March of 2011, the publishing of proposed changes in December of that year, and the Final Rule being promulgated in December of 2012.

The regulatory structure is one where the burden of proof is on the unit operator or owner of a unit firing secondary material to demonstrate that the fuel is not a waste, by demonstrating that it meets certain criteria to be a legitimate fuel, rather than the disposal of waste. For materials combusted by the generator (of the material) as fuels, these legitimacy criteria are demonstrated by whether the materials are:

  • Managed as a valuable commodity
  • Have sufficient heating value
  • Contain pollutants at levels comparable to or lower than a traditional fuel for the unit

For materials combusted by third parties (not the generator of the material), the material must meet those legitimacy criteria, and in addition must be either processed into non-waste by removing contaminants, or must be approved by a petition to the EPA.

Some materials that are combusted might be materials in the manufacturing process, and are known as ingredients. These ingredients can be defined as non-waste fuels by meeting a different set of legitimacy criteria.

  • In lieu of heating values, consider the contribution made by the material to the production or manufacturing process.
  • In lieu of evaluating inputs, the contaminant comparison is made by comparing the product produced using the secondary materials to products made using virgin materials.

Ingredient materials meeting these legitimacy criteria can be combusted by both the generator and third parties without requirement for processing or a petition.

Another step taken in the December 2012 rule was the creation of an additional mechanism to identify non-waste fuels by categorical determination. Under this aspect, the EPA may consider any relevant factor, and can list a material as a non-waste fuel even when it does not meet one or more of the legitimacy criteria. These listed fuels can then be combusted without making individual determinations that the fuel is legitimate. However, this mechanism does not apply to materials used as ingredients.

There are already four (4) categories of materials that have been established to not be wastes when combusted, they are:

  • Scrap tires that are not discarded and are managed under established tire collection programs
  • Resinated wood
  • Coal refuse recovered from legacy piles and processed in the same manner as currently generated coal refuse
  • Dewatered pulp and paper sludges that are not discarded and are generated and burned on-site by pulp and paper mills

Future potential categorical listings may also include construction and demolition wood, paper recycling residuals, railroad ties, and treated wood.

The compliance deadline for Boilers is three years, and for CISWI units is five years. Regardless, it is important to make the determination of fuel classification in the immediate, to prepare strategies for compliance with these new emission limits. If an operator combusts a waste after the compliance deadline for the CISWI, even if the waste is burned inadvertently, or if process data is not maintained on secondary materials being burned, then the unit would immediately become a CISWI and be regulated as such for six (6) months. Due to the more stringent requirements, in practical terms this means that many units would have to be shut down for that period of time.

In all aspects of compliance with MACT and CISWI, and other EPA rules and regulations, ESS has experience and the network to facilitate any air-quality needs. For assistance with topics from emissions testing to control device strategies, we are here to assist.  Please call our experts at (910) 799-1055.

Boiler MACT, CISWI, and NHSM Rule Updates

Boiler MACT, CISWI, and NHSM Rule UpdatesAdjustments to the Final Standards For Major and Area Source Boilers an Certain Incinerators

On December 20th, 2012, the U.S. EPA finalized a set of adjustments to Clean Air Act Standards for boilers and certain solid waste incinerators (CISWI). These adjustments to the standards came in response to public comment, petition, and critique following the initial finalization of the rules in March of 2011. The finalized adjustments and rule ostensibly represent an attempt to seek middle ground between the lessening of toxic air-pollutants, while providing a reprieve on the already-burdened industry in the slowly-recovering economy.

Unit-Specific Standards and Compliance

One set of adjustments in the finalized ruling revolve around the creation of new subcategories of specific types of units, in an attempt to provide appropriate regulations for a wide variety of unit types that have significant variations in use, fuels, and emissions output. Some new sub-categories include units that burn light/heavy industrial liquids, coal fluidized bed units, and dual-fuel fired boilers. In addition, certain area source boilers are being reconsidered based on seasonal or limited use, easing the compliance burden for less-frequently used units. These categorical regulations, along with adjustments made to emissions standards for pollutants including Particulate Matter (PM), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Mercury (Hg), allow the EPA to estimate that most of the existing 1.5 million boilers operating in the United States will already be in compliance with the new standards, and many of those left can demonstrate compliance with work-practice standards, rather than performance tests.

Compliance Dates

Another of the adjustments deals with the dates that facilities must come into compliance with the new standards. For existing Area Source Boilers, initial notification has been extended to January 20, 2014, and the initial tune-up requirements for boilers subject to work practice standards have been extended to March 21, 2014. The date of initial compliance for all units has also been extended until March 21, 2014, as well, with the possibility of requesting an initial year if necessary to integrate the proper control equipment. For existing major source boilers, the date for initial compliance has been extended to early 2016, with an additional year upon request as needed. For CISWI units, existing incinerators have to comply no later than early 2018, while new incinerators will need to meet the standards 180 days following publication in the Federal Register.

Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials (Fuel versus Waste)

The final adjustments made to the NHSM rule represent another step in the long attempt by the EPA to properly define waste versus fuel, and how units are classified and subject to rules and different emissions limits as based on those classification. The classification of waste versus fuel will be a subject in an upcoming entry, but in short the new ruling allows for self-evaluation using certain “legitimacy criteria” — such as whether or not the materials are managed as a valuable commodity, have sufficient heating value, and contain Clean Air Act pollutants at levels comparable to or lower than a traditional fuel that the combustion unit is capable of burning.


The EPA has announced its intention to partner with the US Department of Energy (DOE), through its regional Clean Energy Application Centers, to provide site-specific technical and cost information to the major source facilities currently burning coal or oil in their boilers. Technical experts will visit these facilities and discuss compliance strategies, information on potential funding and financing, and analysis of energy assessment and boiler tune-up options. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will likewise be reaching out to facilities that have boilers that burn biomass to make sure that operators understand the regulations and how they apply to the units in question.

More information on this program can be found at the following link:

For more information on the Final Standards, visit the following link:


Related Posts:

New RICE Rules for MACT Standards and Compliance
Stack Testing Methods

New RICE Rules for MACT Standards and Compliance

The new RICE NESHAP (National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) rules affect engines used for generators, pumps, compressors, and other common plant equipment, as part of the larger Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards. The requirements’ full compliance date is May 3, 2013, for diesel (CI) engines and October 19, 2013, for gasoline and natural gas (SI) engines. However, the startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) requirements have been applicable since the rule effective dates of May 3, 2010, and October 19, 2010, respectively.

The federal Clean Air Act has severe penalties for non-compliance, including costly fines and criminal penalties. Nearly 1 million existing, stationary diesel engines are affected by new federal air quality rules, in addition to more than 300,000 gasoline, propane, and natural gas engines.

Subpart ZZZZ establishes national emission limitations and operating limitations for hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emitted from stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) located at major and area sources of HAP emissions. This subpart also establishes requirements to demonstrate initial and continuous compliance with the emission limitations and operating limitations.

  • Covers Reciprocal Internal Combustion Engines (RICE units)
  • Affected RICE units
    • Area source engines
    • Major source engines with site rating of less than 500 horsepower
  • New units MUST comply within 180 days of construction.
  • Compliance can be met in two ways
    • Certification from the manufacturer
    • Develop a maintenance plan and conduct emission testing
Check your applicability with this online tool: RICE RuleFor existing units, compliance dates can be variable, so we recommend that you download the excel sheet linked here: Compliance Dates for Various Sources


Environmental Source Samplers (ESS) specializes in stack testing and source testing for a wide range of industries and sources.  They are experienced in EPA test methodologies and stay up-to-date on new rules and compliance regulations.  Contact ESS today to learn more: (910) 799-1055 .

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