EPA News: For the First Time in 40 Years EPA to Put in Place a Process to Evaluate Chemicals that May Pose Risk

2017-01-13 First Time 40 Years Chemical Review

WASHINGTON–The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving swiftly to propose how it will prioritize and evaluate chemicals, given that the final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law’s enactment, or before June 22, 2017.

“After 40 years we can finally address chemicals currently in the marketplace,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Today’s action will set into motion a process to quickly evaluate chemicals and meet deadlines required under, and essential to, implementing the new law.”

When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, it grandfathered in thousands of unevaluated chemicals that were in commerce at the time. The old law failed to provide EPA with the tools to evaluate chemicals and to require companies to generate and provide data on chemicals they produced.

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EPA News: EPA Report Shows Air Emissions of Toxic Chemicals from Industrial Facilities Down More Than Half Since 2005

2017-01-13 Toxic Air Emissions Down 56 Percent

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released its annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows releases of toxic chemicals into the air fell 56% from 2005-2015 at industrial facilities submitting data to the TRI program.

“Today’s report shows action by EPA, state and tribal regulators and the regulated community has helped dramatically lower toxic air emissions over the past 10 years,” said Jim Jones, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The TRI report provides citizens access to information about what toxic chemicals are being released in their neighborhoods and what companies are doing to prevent pollution.”

The report shows an 8% decrease from 2014 to 2015 at facilities reporting to the program contributed to this ten-year decline. Hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, toluene and mercury were among chemicals with significantly lower air releases at TRI-covered facilities. Medical professionals have associated these toxic air pollutants with health effects that include damage to developing nervous systems and respiratory irritation.

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EPA News: EPA Names First Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation

EPA News: 10 Chemicals Under TSCA Review

WASHINGTON – Today, EPA is announcing the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under TSCA reform.

“Under the new law, we now have the power to require safety reviews of all chemicals in the marketplace.” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator of the of Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We can ensure the public that we will deliver on the promise to better protect public health and the environment.”

The first ten chemicals to be evaluated are:

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 1-Bromopropane
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
  • Methylene Chloride
  • N-methylpyrrolidone
  • Pigment Violet 29
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
  • Trichloroethylene

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, requires EPA to publish this list by December 19, 2016. These chemicals were drawn from EPA’s 2014 TSCA Work Plan, a list of 90 chemicals selected based on their potential for high hazard and exposure as well as other considerations.

When the list is published in the Federal Register it will trigger a statutory deadline to complete risk evaluations for these chemicals within three years.  This evaluation will determine whether the chemicals present an unreasonable risk to humans and the environment. If it is determined that a chemical presents an unreasonable risk, EPA must mitigate that risk within two years.

Under the newly amended law, EPA must release a scoping document within six months for each chemical. This will include the hazard(s), exposure(s), conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation(s) the agency plans to consider for the evaluation.

Additional chemicals will be designated for evaluation, and all of the remaining Work Plan chemicals will be reviewed for their potential hazard and exposure. For each risk evaluation that EPA completes, TSCA requires that EPA begin another. By the end of 2019, EPA must have at least 20 chemical risk valuations ongoing at any given time.

For more on the chemicals listed and additional information: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/evaluating-risk-existing-chemicals-under-tsca



Cathy Mibourn




Supreme Court Halts MATS Rule

Late Tuesday it was announced that the U.S. Supreme Court has halted the implementation of the Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule.  This is the first time in recent memory that the U.S. Supreme Court has put a rule on hold before the lower court review.  Rulings from the lower court are expected over the summer.

Here are some other articles discussing the Supreme Court’s decision to put the MATS rule on hold:

Supreme Court To EPA: Fool Me Once

Carbon pollution controls put on hold

Supreme Court Puts White House’s Carbon Pollution Limits On Hold


Sulfuric Acid Mist Sampling and Controlled Condensate (NCASI Method 8a) Testing

Criteria Pollutants and MACT related air toxics such as Mercury and HCl get a lot of attention in the field of air-quality analysis and emissions testing (stack testing), but other, less-known pollutants can and do cause issues for facilities. Sulfuric Acid Mist (H2SO4) is one such pollutant.


Sulfuric acid emissions

Sulfuric acid emissions have traditionally been measured using EPA Method 8. This method utilizes the principle of selective solvent absorption (SSA) and captures sulfur trioxide (SO3) and H2SO4 in an isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solution, and SO3 in a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide. A drawback to this method, however, is that it was developed and originally promulgated to determine SO3/H2SO4 emissions from stationary sources in the absence of other particulate matter. The principal drawback is the absence of a filter to effectively remove PM and other pollutants prior to the capture of H2SO4 in IPA. This can lead to interference from a number of filterable particulates and other pollutants, such as ammonia, and may result in emissions reading much higher than expected, making it difficult to achieve compliance with the emissions standards.


NCASI Method 8a

NCASI Method 8a, originally Conditional Test Method (CTM)-013, was developed as an alternative to EPA Method 8, and uses a heated quartz filter for capturing particulates, thereby eliminating the potential for interference from particulate sulfate and other interference. For sources that are having trouble with obtaining low emissions of H2SO4, and particularly those that have been using ammonia-injection control technology, the use of this method can result in a significant reduction in reported emissions from the source, by removing these varying interferences.

The quartz filter is maintained at temperatures above 500 degrees F, allowing the gaseous SO3/H2SO4 to pass through and be selectively condensed in a temperature-controlled condenser. The condenser cools the flue gases below the dew point of the SO3/H2SO4, but above the dew point of water, eliminating the potential for interference from SO2. The method was developed and validated as an alternative for determining sulfuric acid emissions from combination boilers and recovery furnaces equipped with dry particulate control devices, and tested extensively on kraft recovery furnaces. It was specifically approved by the EPA for use on recovery furnaces in 1996.


Potential Issues

There are two potential issues with utilizing this method. The first is that it utilizes special equipment that not many testing firms have. The equipment costs several thousand dollars, which creates a large up-front cost to conducting tests using this method. The second is that the method is not specifically approved for any units other than recovery furnaces, and compliance tests performed by this method must be approved by state regulators on a case-by-case basis.


Call in the Professionals

ESS, an air-testing firm out of Wilmington, North Carolina, has the equipment and experience to conduct this test method for facilities that are currently or potentially regulated for H2SO4. ESS has requested and received variances from state regulators for use on biomass boilers, paper mills, and ceramic kilns for compliance-level testing. In all cases so far, the use of this alternative method has greatly improved the reported emissions of H2SO4, and helped our clients achieve compliance with the emissions standards their units are subject to.

If your facility is expected to be regulated for sulfuric acid mist, you need a testing partner that can achieve the best results. Give ESS a call today at  (910) 799-1055.

ESS Secures RATA and Performance Testing Projects in Philippines

Air Emissions Testing PhilippinesHanoi, Vietnam: Environmental Source Samplers, Inc. (ESS) continues growth in the Asian market with recent relative accuracy test audit (RATA) and air emissions test programs for clients in the Philippines region. ESS most recently secured 2013 annual contracts for emissions testing and RATA sampling for Taheiyo Cement’s San Fernando Plant and Shell’s Batangas Refinery.

The sampling at Shell Batangas Refinery will include the conduct of three (3) RATAs at multiple sources for the evaluation of oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO).

The sampling at Taheiyo San Fernando Cement Plant includes the measurement of dioxins/furans (TCDD/TCDF), hydrogen chloride (HCl), and particulate (PM) for performance testing purposes.

As ESS’s work has grown in the Asian market, it has been ever important to maintain staff and a local presence in these markets. In January 2013, ESS opened an Asian headquarters in Hanoi, Vietnam. In early February, ESS signed an agreement with Berkman Systems, the most established Philippines environmental consulting firm, to partner in specialty air quality consulting projects.

This partnership allowed ESS to combine its presence with Berkman’s operations in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao, and to provide cost effective solutions and superior technical support for clients’ consulting and air testing needs.

Mark Looney, President of ESS, stated: “. . . with the combined technical strengths of ESS and Berkman, we have created a dominant partnership in the Philippines. ESS is proud of our growing list of clients and our ongoing relationship with Berkman.”

Founded in 1979, ESS has been conducting point source, ambient and industrial hygiene air quality testing and consulting. ESS utilizes modern and consistently maintained equipment to conduct its testing services world-wide. They are qualified to conduct a wide range of air testing methodologies in almost any environment – and for almost any industry.

ESS clients have easy access to the reliable and accurate reporting of test results through a secure online client portal. ESS maintains its competitive advantage by continuing to build on international experiences, developing offices in strategic markets and assuring client satisfaction on every project. The ESS network of reputable vendors and service providers enables us to drive all our projects to on-time and on-budget completion.

To learn more, visit www.essknowsair.com (available in both English and Vietnamese) or call directly at (800) 245-3778. 


Related Posts:
ESS Asia Attends PCAPI Convention, Philippines
ESS Establishes and Staffs Office in Hanoi, Vietnam
International Stack Testing – Challenges and Solutions

ESS in the Philippines

ESS Attends World Bank Mission to Indonesia and Vietnam

Environmental Source Samplers, Inc. (ESS) president Mark Looney (pictured at left) recently attended a trade mission to Indonesia and Vietnam, from October 16th to the 26th, 2012. The mission, organized by the World Bank’s Private Sector Liaison Officers, offered the chance for an international delegation of companies to meet with representatives from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Governments of the two countries. The program presented a unique opportunity for ESS and other companies in attendance to learn first-hand about the business environment in Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as projects financed by the International Finance Institutions (IFIs).

The delegation kicked off in Jakarta, Indonesia from October 16th to the 20th, and traveled to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from October 21st to 26th. Mission attendees were briefed on recent trends and prospects for the emerging and developing markets, methods for improving efficiency and ways to meet the demands of new consumer markets. They were also given an insider view of upcoming pipeline projects financed by the multilateral development banks and information on bank strategies to provide for sustainable development – finding the balance between economic growth and the protection of the natural environment that is frequently difficult to obtain in emerging and developing economies. In addition, the program provided a great opportunity for networking and forging contacts and relationships with other key players in international development and environmental protection.

As an emissions-testing firm with experience in international mobilizations, ESS actively pursues opportunities to develop relationships with international organizations, in the private sector as well as the multilateral development banks such as the IDB and ADB, and the program provided a great opportunity to develop strategies in moving forward.

Mr. Looney, upon completion of the mission, said: “The World Bank PSLO Mission to Indonesia and Vietnam has given us the chance to interact, within a small group setting, with many potential business partners in these target markets, including government agencies and regional business representatives. When developing relationships and opportunities within international and developing markets, an opportunity for personal interaction is invaluable. In two weeks in this mission, we feel that we have learned more about the market and its inner workings than could have been learned remotely in two years or more.”

Read the original PSLO/World Bank Press Release.

Also learn more about common challenges and solutions found with international projects and mobilizations.




Mark Looney
Environmental Source Samplers, Inc.
436 Raleigh Street
Wilmington, N.C., 28412



New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and Emissions Guidelines for Sewage Sludge Incineration (SSI) Units

Stack Testing for Air Quality ControlHistory of NSPS and Emissions Guidelines for SSI Units

On Feburary 21, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized new source performance standards (NSPS) and emissions guidelines for new and existing sewage sludge incineration (SSI) units. The rule, per the EPA research is expected to impact 204 units currently in operation. This rule is one of the many new standards for units that emit pollutants under the MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Standards, and was enacted under Section 129 of the Clean Air Act (See also: New RICE Rules for MACT Standards and Compliance.)

The purpose of the rule is to reduce emissions of a number of toxic air pollutants, also known as hazardous air pollutants, that are known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health benefits.

On April 27, 2012, the EPA issued a Denial of Reconsideration Petitions for the Final Rule.

Affected SSI Units

An SSI unit is an incinerator or combustion device that is used to burn dewatered sewage sludge. The units are typically owned by municipalities, and located at wastewater treatment facilities. They come in two primary types. The first – Multiple Hearth – covers over 80 percent of the identified SSI units. The other units are Fluidized Bed combustors. Most of the affected units are in the Eastern parts of the United States, with the largest number of facilities in New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. There are a significant number on the West Coast as well. Units incinerating sludge at other types of facilities, such as commercial, industrial, and institutional, will be covered under different air pollution incineration standards.

Sewage Sludge Treatment Plants are regulated under 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart O, as well as 40 CFR Part 61, Subparts C and E. The new source performance standards for these units have been promulgated under Subpart LLLL, and the Emission Guidelines themselves are promulgated under Subpart MMMM. The EPA estimates that of the 204 active SSI units, 155 are currently meeting these emission limits, and forty will need to install one or more air pollution control device.

Regulated Pollutants for SSI

The following table lists the Regulated Pollutant, the unit of measurement for emission limits, and the Emission Limit itself for both Multiple Hearth and Fluidized Bed Incinerators.



Emission Limit for MH Incinerators

Emission Limit for FB Incinerators


mg/DSCM @7% O2



Carbon Monixde

ppmvd @7% O2




ppmvd @7% O2




mg/DSCM @7% O2



Oxides of Nitrogen

ppmvd @7% O2




mg/DSCM @7% O2



Dioxins/Furans, Total Equivalency Quality

ng/dscm @7% O2 (TEQ)



Dioxins/Furans, Total Mass Basis

ng/dscm @7% O2 (TMB)



Particulate Matter

mg/DSCM @7% O2



Sulfur Dioxide

ppmvd @7% O2




Measuring Emissions

To measure and quantify the emission rates for these pollutants, it is typically necessary to do an Emissions Sampling Program, or Stack Test, conducted by a qualified and accredited stack testing organization. The EPA has reference methods for quantifying emissions for each regulated pollutant, and the testing must be done in accordance with those methods. The methods in question can be found on the EPA website.

Mercury Emissions and the Ontario Hydro Method

Mercury (Hg) is one of the strictly regulated pollutants. Mercury has been shown through research to adversely affect developing brains in children, including detrimental effects on IQ, learning, and memory. However, controlling mercury emissions can be tricky, dependent on what form the Mercury takes in the emission from the stack. There are two primary types: Oxidized and Particle-Bound, and the control devices associated with controlling those two types are different. For that reason, during stack testing to determine existing emissions, many owners of SSI units elect to perform a special Mercury Speciation test, utilizing ASTM Ontario Hydro Method. The data taken from this sampling can be used to determine the best approach to further controlling emissions for that specific stack.

Sludge and Scrubber Water Analysis

Many facilities often undertake fuel analysis on the sludge feedstock itself, to determine the base level of pollutants in the sludge prior to being incinerated. These measurements can be utilized to determine the current effectiveness of emissions controls.

About Environmental Source Samplers, Inc. (ESS)

ESS has some of the most experienced SSI test crews in the country. In the last six months, ESS has conducted this nearly identical test series for SSIs at multiple municipal facilities in Virginia, Ohio, and New York.  All test series have been completed on-time and on budget. ESS has a history of working with chief WWTP consultants that extends back to 1990, and has partnered with some of the leading experts on SSI in the nation. Our experience in some of the more exacting methodologies required by the SSI test program is unsurpassed in this industry.

ESS Announces Successful Conclusion to Hungary Emissions Testing Project

Environmental Source Samplers, Inc.Environmental Source Samplers, Inc, (ESS), a leader in emissions testing worldwide, announces the completion of an air testing project at an Ethanol Plant in Hungary.  ESS is making great strides with their experience and expertise in international stack testing.

Wilmington, N.C., June 2012 — Environmental Source Samplers, Inc., an established leader in emissions testing both domestic and internationally, today announced a successful conclusion to an air-testing project at an Ethanol Plant in Dunafoldvar, Hungary.

The Hungarian based client contacted ESS after discovering an ESS blog post, International Stack Testing – Challenges and Solutions, in which ESS staff discussed some of the special circumstances and potential challenges that are encountered while conducting stack testing outside of the domestic USA.

The project was for the purpose of verifying vendor guarantees for a newly-installed boiler system and scrubber control device, for a regimen of pollutants that included Particulate Matter and Gaseous Emissions. ESS also provided multiple days of on-site monitoring with real-time results for engineering purposes as the Facility staff made adjustments for process optimization and tuning. ESS utilized USEPA and ISO methodologies; EPA and MCERT approved analyzers (European Union approved for emissions measurements in Europe); and provided the Facility a number of protocol blend gas bottles for the sampling project.

As is frequently the case in air-testing projects both domestic and international, the project required flexibility in operations. Changes in project scope and requirements, late additions to air-testing needs and late changes in schedule are a common occurrence, but without preparation and experience these common occurrences can become extreme difficulties when mobilizing internationally. ESS utilized its experience, drawn from international projects conducted in such places as Hong Kong, Dominican Republic and other points in Europe. The ESS network of reputable vendors and service providers helped drive this project to completion within the required timeline and budget.

Founded in 1979, ESS has been performing industrial air quality testing since that time, and has developed into a leader within the field. ESS utilizes modern, consistently maintained equipment to conduct its stack testing services throughout the U.S. and abroad. They are qualified to conduct a wide range of EPA test methodologies among various air emissions sources and industries. ESS clients have easy access to the reliable and accurate reporting of stack test results through a secure online client portal.

For more information about Environmental Source Samplers, Inc., visit their website at http://www.ESSKnowsAir.com and their blog at http://www.EssKnowsAir-Blog.com.



Brian Mellor
Environmental Source Samplers, Inc.
436 Raleigh Street
Wilmington, N.C., 28412




New RICE Rules for MACT Standards and Compliance

The new RICE NESHAP (National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) rules affect engines used for generators, pumps, compressors, and other common plant equipment, as part of the larger Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards. The requirements’ full compliance date is May 3, 2013, for diesel (CI) engines and October 19, 2013, for gasoline and natural gas (SI) engines. However, the startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) requirements have been applicable since the rule effective dates of May 3, 2010, and October 19, 2010, respectively.

The federal Clean Air Act has severe penalties for non-compliance, including costly fines and criminal penalties. Nearly 1 million existing, stationary diesel engines are affected by new federal air quality rules, in addition to more than 300,000 gasoline, propane, and natural gas engines.

Subpart ZZZZ establishes national emission limitations and operating limitations for hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emitted from stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) located at major and area sources of HAP emissions. This subpart also establishes requirements to demonstrate initial and continuous compliance with the emission limitations and operating limitations.

  • Covers Reciprocal Internal Combustion Engines (RICE units)
  • Affected RICE units
    • Area source engines
    • Major source engines with site rating of less than 500 horsepower
  • New units MUST comply within 180 days of construction.
  • Compliance can be met in two ways
    • Certification from the manufacturer
    • Develop a maintenance plan and conduct emission testing
Check your applicability with this online tool: RICE RuleFor existing units, compliance dates can be variable, so we recommend that you download the excel sheet linked here: Compliance Dates for Various Sources


Environmental Source Samplers (ESS) specializes in stack testing and source testing for a wide range of industries and sources.  They are experienced in EPA test methodologies and stay up-to-date on new rules and compliance regulations.  Contact ESS today to learn more: (910) 799-1055 .

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