Checklist: 5 Preparations for an Air Quality Inspection

Posted by Justin Dechene on Jul 18, 2017 2:30:00 PM

Controlling your emissions with monitoring tools in an important part of air quality compliance.As air quality inspections by federal and local agencies, such as those by the U.S. EPA, are typically done without prior notice, preparing for one can be a challenge. These agencies may just show up at your facility’s door, with intent to inspect your emissions control on an individual facility, company or industry basis; there’s often no telling when, or even why, an inspection may take place.

It’s because of this that the best way to prepare for an air quality inspection is by optimizing monitoring processes universally, throughout your facility, and training your maintenance team in the best monitoring, baghouse upkeep and reporting techniques.

There’s no concrete way of determining when most air quality and emissions inspections will occur. It’s best to always stay prepared, and the most effective way of doing this is by using triboelectric dust collection monitoring systems. In this blog, we’ll take you through 5 easy steps to stay better prepared for air inspections - routine, surprise or otherwise.

1.) Determine All Emission and Pollutant Sources

This preparation step should be a no-brainer: make an accurate map of all emissions sources, no matter the state or severity. Agencies like the EPA will target all of these sources and likely take air samples from equipment processing these pollutants. The absolute worst thing an emissions control agency can discover is an emissions source that is not logged or officially permitted. Should they detect pollutants or volatile compounds that are not being regularly accounted for, or reported on, your entire facility is at risk.

To avoide surprising inspectors with unregistered emission points, create a thorough catalogue of all pollutants your facility is responsible for - omitting nothing. Be on the constant lookout for missing data, or spikes in emission (even if they do not affect compliance), as these are both things the EPA and other agencies may look into when inspecting your facility.

2.) Equip the Best Monitoring Tools

Centralizing your emissions monitoring information is one of the simplest ways to streamline the entire air quality inspection process, and make sure that your facility continues to meet regulatory compliance needs. The best way to do this is by keeping facility emissions records isolated from other systems, in a dedicated, triboelectric monitoring system.

While you may be wary of triboelectric monitoring technologies, due to the inefficiencies of past systems, modern systems are the most valuable tools you can have for emissions monitoring needs prior to an inspection. Newer systems can scan 100% of the triboelectric spectrum (both AC and DC signals), where older models could only cover portions, and can even help engineers proactively eliminate emission monitoring failures, such as baghouse leaks.

Having an effective monitoring system in place is the most reliable way to assess your own emissions trends and changes, before outside agencies can take notice during air quality inspections.

3.) Optimize Baghouse Performance and Emissions Control

With an effective emissions monitoring system in place, it becomes much easier for facilities to optimize their detection systems and reporting (which, in turn, helps them reliably pass air quality inspections).

Triboelectric monitoring systems give engineers valuable insight into the lifespan and efficiency of baghouse filter units, and allow them to replace them and perform necessary maintenance on an as-needed basis. What this does is ensure that your baghouse emissions filters will always be kept up to date, and dust collection systems operational.

One of the key ways to meeting inspection standards is to keep your entire monitoring systems well equipped and functional. Triboelectric systems make this a simple, “set and forget” process…one that notifies you of maintenance duties and filter bag replacement needs only when necessary, helping you meet inspection compliance and also saving maintenance dollars.

4.) Have a Detailed Account of Monitoring

When air quality inspection officials do come around to your facility, it can be hugely beneficial to have a detailed, precise account of all monitoring statistics, reporting data and event logs on file. These are all things inspection officials will look at when determining your compliance with pollutant and emissions control standards.

To create these accounts, there are essentially two options you can follow in your facility: either manually log data across multiple systems, and create a monitoring history throughout your facility, or install a comprehensive reporting and data logging system that can do this automatically.

These automatic systems create these data collections much more efficiently than other methods, but do require an initial investment on the facility’s behalf. However, you should keep in mind that these systems can return on their investment costs in short time, and provide immediate, detailed monitoring accounts of every filter change, incident, report or performance change… exactly what inspection officials need to evaluate your compliance.

5.) Following Up for Future Compliance

During an official air quality inspection, it’s important to make careful note of anything agency representatives notice during their tour of your facility, and look into those details once they leave; keep a detailed list of everything inspectors focus on and address during inspection.

This not only helps you meet compliance needs and take immediate corrective action for current inspections, but also helps your facility better meet future inspection requirements. In some cases, it can even be beneficial to take identical air samples and emissions reports as the inspection agency, and self-assess your own air quality compliance, thus eliminating any surprises down the line when agencies follow up on their inspection.

Getting the best air quality inspection results and meeting compliance standards doesn’t have to be rocket science. With the right systems and monitoring tools in place, reliably meeting these standards is an entirely automated process; these are systems that not only ensure your emissions control compliance, but also can wind up saving you thousands of dollars in maintenance and material costs down the line. For more information regarding emissions monitoring tools, or on how triboelectric systems make air quality inspections a painless process, contact us today.

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Topics: Air Quality, Environmental Monitoring