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Boiler Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) Standards Are In Effect: Now What?

June 7, 2013
With the EPA's MACT rules for major-source boilers now in effect, and the rules for area-source boilers looming in January 2014, the question is how do facilities comply and what are the impacts of these rules on your business?

As we worked on this issue, it occurred to me that the HVAC industry’s quest for efficiency will be impacted by the very recent implementation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to regulate hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) boilers and process heaters (http://bit.ly/MjrSrcRules).

These rules have been in the works for a very long time and they impact the type of fuels used in ICI boilers.

Mike Weil, Editorial Director

Now the issue is how will facilities comply with these rules? The answers are many and the opportunities for engineers legion. As is the case with any controversial legislation, there has been a lot written about how the Boiler MACT rules, as they were originally written, will hurt the jobs market and have all kinds of negative impacts on the industry and our clients.

For example, in 2011, Reuters carried a story about how the House of Representatives wanted to delay pollution rules on boilers (http://bit.ly/bmact_delay), saying, “House Republicans and the business community have launched a campaign to delay the EPA’s raft of air pollution rules on everything from mercury to greenhouse gases, saying they destroy jobs and add costs to companies struggling to recover.”

Since then, the rules have been updated and changed by the EPA to make them more acceptable to both politicians and the business community.

The American Boiler Manufacturers Association (ABMA) states on its website that the hoopla is much ado about nothing.

In fact, ABMA President and Chief Executive Officer W. Randall Rawson says on the Website that the final Industrial Boiler MACT rules represent a dramatic swing away from earlier more rigid rules and embrace the basic differences between boiler types, boiler fuels, and their respective applications. This is a good thing.

On its Website (http://bit.ly/ABMA_ICI), the ABMA says the investment needed to comply with the final rules “will depend on the age and condition of each boiler room to which the new rules may apply and to what extent they may apply.

“The numerical limits that do apply to boilers are completely achievable in most conditions and, when applied to boiler-room-specific situations, will be far more affordable than detractors maintain.”

The ABMA statement continues: “There is identifiable work to be done to clean toxics out of the industrial setting, and these rules go about mandating that work in the least offensive and least disruptive way and will result in job creation in compliance-related industries—an economic and health-based win/win.”

In fact, a number of websites are already offering compliance services. Check out the following examples:

Wilson Engineering: http://bit.ly/wes_mact
Conversion Technology: http://bit.ly/cti_comply
Nalco Mobotec: http://bit.ly/MACT_nalco
SSOE, Inc.: http://bit.ly/ssoe_mact

There is even an interesting slide presentation that was created by Midwest Industrial Initiative on the Slideshare website that lays out a plan for using combined heat and power (CHP) as a Boiler MACT-compliant strategy. Click through the first seven slides, which are more background, to get to the meat of the presentation. You can view the presentation here: http://bit.ly/CHP_Strat.

So where do you stand on the Boiler MACT rules and their impact on your companies and your customers? We’d love to hear from you and learn how you are/will be addressing this with clients. What opportunities do you see? Drop me a line at [email protected] or use the discussion area immediately below this article to leeave me comments.

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Thanks again.

Looking forward to hearing from you.