Technology driving savings
Technology is changing every industry...environmental compliance is no exception. Just as the early commercialization of triboelectric detection by Auburn Systems led to changes in MACT compliance, recent advances in technology mean that the trends in emissions monitoring and recording are better and cheaper than ever. Studies show that investment in better PM emissions monitoring produces high ROI both directly and indirectly - impacting the bottom line of facilities. This is due to improved compliance as well as benefits obtained from improved maintenance and operational performance.
That evolving technology will further impact monitoring, and while we can't predict what the shifting political and regulatory environment might bring, we can certainly observe some long-term emissions monitoring trends that will likely impact most of us this year.
Increased Focus on Approved Electronic Monitoring Instruments
Look for increased guidance from the EPA and other State and Local regulatory agencies about monitoring strategies that are reliable and less error prone than previous methods. For example, ongoing initiatives by the EPA designed to reduce the compliance burden by authorizing certified products as the basis for achieving compliance have been successful. For instance, a 2013 rule for oil and gas producers required them to buy certified pollution control devices and document their installation. The EPA decided that instead of regulating thousands of individual facilities, a better approach was to simply work with the handful of monitoring device OEMs to ensure all their offerings were acceptable and met their regulations. This allowed the EPA to switch from regulating each and every individual facility and application to allowing for them to simply certify that they had installed an EPA certified monitoring device and that it was functioning properly.
While we have no definitive word yet on whether or not the EPA plans to bring such initiatives to the PM regulation, we can say it seems likely that one of the easily predictable emmisions monitoring trends is that use of approved monitoring technologies will come to play a larger and larger role in future EPA processes. (Since the mid 1990s release of the MACT standard for secondary lead smelters, Triboelectric Bag Leak Detection Systems have been cited by the EPA as an acceptable method for PM monitoring in various MACT standards.)
Move Towards Electronic Reporting For All New Regulations (Not Simply Emailing Documents)
After years of patchwork implementation, electronic reporting by the EPA and various state environmental boards has proven its value. For this reason, the EPA has decided that going forward “in developing new regulations … we will start with the assumption that reporting will be electronic and not paper based. And we will use shared services to do this to the maximum extent possible.” Electronic reporting in this instance refers to the use of “smart” forms or web tools used for submitting key emissions metrics (it does NOT refer to email submission of a paper form)
Regulated facilities have many requirements to report information to overseeing agencies. Increasingly, this is being done electronically. Electronic reporting typically entails the use of electronic “smart” forms or web tools that guide the regulated entity through the reporting process (simply emailing reports is not true electronic reporting).
Expect to see more and more new air permits include clauses requiring plants to have a system of continuous electronic recording of emissions data for easy e-reporting. (Did you know that TRIBO models offer many types of outputs to assist in supporting electronic recording of emissions data for e-reporting?)
Change in Government Likely Means Unknown Leadership and Goals for EPA
With the result of this year’s US Presidential Election much of the industrial world is waiting to see what kind of impact the new administration will have on emissions regulation in the US. Many see a relaxing of emissions standards while others are more cautious in their predictions. Since being elected the new administration already appears to have shifted its stance on key issues involving environmental regulations. Additionally, many new standards are already in progress of coming into force as rule making process takes several years on average. With this in mind the new administration may have a greater role in shaping regulations down the road but in the short term the existing rules appear predictably on track and emissions monitoring trends consistent.
As we have seen, we can expect a greater emphasis on electronic reporting and use of EPA approved monitoring devices on the horizon. Why not ask Auburn Systems for a free consultation on which monitoring technologies currently available are in a position to keep being useful in both the near term and long term as emissions monitoring trends evolve? Contact us today for your free consultation!