Three Data Collection Tips to Simplify Your Air Permit Reporting

Posted by Justin Dechene on Oct 13, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Whether quarterly, semi-annually or yearly, air permit reporting requires a great deal of resources to do properly. Even as monitoring and reporting technology has advanced in recent years many facilities continue to use outdated methods that only add to this burden.

We want to make your job simpler - so here are three tips on how most plants can achieve significant savings in time and resources by tweaking their approach to air permit reporting. 

Environmental engineer collecting emissions data from a dust collector for air permit reporting

#1 - Centralize Data Collection & Stop the Walk-around Recording

In times past, monitoring emissions control systems (such as dust collectors) required physically reading a DP gauge or opacity monitor control screen located at the base of the collector. In other facilities emissions monitoring was done using visual inspections of the outlet stack by a technician certified in EPA Methods 9 or 22. Having a technician physically view and record the data at various locations and then enter them into a report takes much time and is prone to errors. (You can picture the clipboards, manual transcription of data, files, etc.)  It's a system that's about as "un-lean" as it could be!

In contrast, moving to a remote data collection system can save much time and expense and provide more accurate results. Modern monitoring devices such as triboelectric particulate detectors (like Auburn's devices) can be networked to easily transmit data in real-time to a central system for logging and analysis. 

#2 - Integrate Your Monitoring and Compliance Software Solutions

Many plant control systems only monitor and control production and process functions. That means that compliance and air permit reporting must cull the required data from multiple disparate sources and put it all together into a coherent report. (Those images of clipboards, files full of log sheets, spreadsheets and lots of cutting and pasting bite you again.)

This process can be greatly streamlined and simplified by using an integrated compliance monitoring and reporting system. In addition to data from a triboelectric monitor, these applications can also integrate other operations data required for compliance reporting (e.g. temperature, fan amps ,differential pressure, collector operating time,  ancillary manufacturing activities, etc.) into one centralized data store.

Parametric data collection integrated with leak detection devices eliminates manual tracking and configuration of emissions data, and automates the reporting process. No longer must engineers and emissions equipment maintenance staff spend long, tedious hours compiling air quality data logs themselves; today’s powerful software tools do this automatically, which is why integrating these solutions is one of the surest ways a business can both improve its compliance with MACT and other air standards, as well as generate high savings potential in areas previously not considered - not to mention eliminate manual data entry errors.

The best monitoring devices, installed as islands of observation, are a compliance solution. But integrated they are a business efficiency solution.

#3 - Simplify Air Permit Reporting by Keeping it Routine & Preventing Reportable Events

Under most air permits any excursions beyond permitted limits must be logged and reported individually. Preventing reportable incidents from occurring eliminates the need to fill out extensive reports for each incident and allows for personnel to focus on other more pressing matters (Other obvious benefits include avoiding fines, forced shutdowns and other major consequences.)

Older monitoring methods such as Methods 9/22, opacity meters or differential pressure tracking can only trigger alerts once an emissions excursion has occurred. In contrast, the more sensitive triboelectric monitoring systems can detect rising emissions long before they reach reportable levels. This real-time data allows operators to catch problems immediately (such as leaking bags) and take appropriate steps to remedy the situation. This predictive capability brings additional valuable benefits when implemented correctly. (See our free eBook "A Guide to Intelligent Dust Monitoring")

Conclusion - Small Adjustments In Your Monitoring System Can Simplify Everything

No doubt, compliance monitoring and reporting can pose a challenge for any facility. Rather than continue doing things the hard way just because “we’ve always done it this way”, why not investigate further the potential benefits your facility can obtain by implementing the suggestions above? Auburn Systems has spent nearly 40+ years helping companies across all industries benefit from simplified compliance monitoring and reporting. Contact us today and let us show you how we can help you today!

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Topics: MACT Reporting, Air Permits, Dust Detection, Environmental Monitoring