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NJ DEP Proposes Several Changes to the State’s Air Pollution Control Regulations

The NJDEP has recently proposed a multitude of changes to their air pollution control regulations. While the bulk of the changes are meant to address the need to obtain air permits for certain temporary or portable air pollution sources whose immediate operation is needed in response to national disasters, the proposed changes also include revisions to the reportable thresholds of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). As such, the proposed rule changes have the potential to impact many businesses in the state of New Jersey.

Updating the Reporting Thresholds for Hazardous Air Pollutants

The proposed changes to the reporting thresholds of HAPs is the first time these thresholds have been revised in 25 years, and the intent is to update the thresholds to reflect the current medical consensus of the health risks associated with these pollutants. The end result is that of the 169 individual HAPs, the NJDEP is proposing to lower the thresholds for 106 HAPs, raise the thresholds for 15, with the remaining 48 thresholds unchanged. For those HAPs included in the 17 chemical compound classes (e.g. chromium compounds, etc.), 12 of these compounds will see their thresholds lowered, four will remain unchanged, and only one compound class will see the threshold raised.

The reporting thresholds are of significant importance when permitting sources in New Jersey, as any project that has potential emissions of any HAP in exceedance of the threshold must perform risk assessments to address the local impacts of the emissions, which can sometimes lead to costly air dispersion modeling. In addition, those facilities required to submit annual emission statements may be required to track and report on the emissions of additional HAPs than had previously been required.

Permit Exemptions for Emergency and Temporary Sources, etc.

The package of proposed changes to the air regulations also includes several changes to how the state permits emergency equipment.  The scope of the proposed changes formalizes the determination that certain emergency equipment (generators, boilers, construction engines, etc.) does not require the owner or operator to obtain an air permit to operate in the event of a natural disaster. Most of these rule changes are the end result of a process where a stakeholder group looked at potential changes that could be made to the NJ air permitting requirements as a result of lessons learned during Superstorm Sandy.  The NJDEP has also used this as an occasion to propose changes that clarify and refine similar existing regulations, such as removing operating hour restrictions for those sources firing fuel oil as a result of natural gas curtailment, as well as allowing for the use of emergency generators at facilities to provide power during periods of construction, repair, or maintenance.

The comment period for the proposed changes ends October 6, 2017. The proposed rule package can be found here:

http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/proposals/20170807a.pdf

How do the new NJ DEP Air Pollution Control regulations impact your business? Contact our NJ Air Quality experts at 800.305.6019. Subscribe to our news feed for updates on the final promulgated version of these regulations and their implementation.

This regulatory alert was prepared by Jonathan Wickstrom, Project Manager at Liberty Environmental. Contact Jon at 800.305.6019 x207 or jwickstrom@libertyenviro.com.