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NESHAP rules finalised

World Cement,

Since the final NESHAP rules were initially released in 2010, The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a federal court decision, petitions for reconsideration and technical information into consideration. Ultimately, this has resulted in amendments to the rules, which have now been finalised.

The amended and finalised NESHAP rules for air toxics retain the emissions limits for mercury, acid gases, particulate matter and total hydrocarbons that were seen in the original 2010 rules from existing cement kilns across the US, while ensuring that emissions from new kilns are also kept low. The finalised rule also holds onto the same stipulation that compliance with mercury, total hydrocarbons and particulate matter (PM) be continuously monitored. However, the way in which the monitoring must take place has itself been amended.

One of the most significant concessions of the amendments is that existing kilns must comply with the standards by 9 September 2015, and if needed, may request an additional year. EPA is also making conforming changes to the PM limits in the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new cement kilns.

The rule is expected to bring about a significant reduction in pollution from the industry’s 2010 levels once fully implemented, cutting emissions of mercury by 93%, hydrochloric acid by 96%, PM by 91% percent and total hydrocarbons by 82%. However, EPA now estimates that cement kilns will have to spend US$52 million less to implement the requirements of the revised rule than those that the 2010 rule would have asked for.

The Portland Cement association (PCA) welcomed the revised NESHAP final rule. The association stated, “It will provide PCA members, and the cement industry generally, the additional time needed for compliance with the revised standards.  Such time is essential to properly complete the planning, engineering, permitting, testing and construction of the various new technologies that will be necessary to implement the revised standards. EPA’s revised rule strikes the right balance in establishing compliance limits that, while still extremely challenging, are now realistic and achievable.”

Both organisations agreed that revising the standards and resetting the compliance period were essential to preserving jobs at domestic cement, supporting for an industry that is critical to the nation’s infrastructure.

Written by Jack Davidson.

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