EPA Updates Emissions Standards for Refineries

October 01, 2015

In case you missed it, the U.S. EPA has updated air pollution standards regarding toxic air emissions from petroleum refineries. The rule requires first-of-its-kind fenceline monitoring, which, the EPA says, will strengthen emission controls for flares, pressure relief devices, storage tanks, and delayed coker operations that will reduce thousands of tons of hazardous air pollutants.

According to the EPA, once the rule is fully implemented, there will be a reduction of 5,200 tons per year of toxic air pollutants, and 50,000 tons per year of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition, the EPA projects that these standards will eliminate emissions of greenhouse gases equivalent to approximately 660,000 tons per year of CO2. The agency argues that there will be “no noticeable impact” on the cost of petroleum products at the approximately 150 petroleum refineries in the U.S.

Here are some of the main requirements emanating from the rule:

  • New fenceline monitors must encircle the facility to detect benzene at very low levels.
  • Continuous monitoring of benzene concentrations at the fenceline of refinery facilities to ensure that refineries appropriately manage toxic emissions.
  • Corrective action if monitored fenceline emissions from the facility exceed the level established in the rule.
  • A comprehensive program of process changes and pollution prevention measures to reduce smoking flare emissions and releases by pressure release devices.
  • Additional emission reductions from storage tanks and delayed coking units at petroleum refineries, some of which had no previous required controls.

The monitoring data will be posted on the EPA’s website. Moreover, the rule provides room for alternative monitoring methods in the future as technology advances, the agency says.

Here are links that provide additional information on the rule:

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