EPA Finalizes Boiler Standards

In late December, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized changes to Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators. According to EPA, these standards will achieve extensive public health protections by slashing toxic air pollution while at the same time addressing feedback from industry and labor groups, increasing the rule’s flexibility, and dramatically reducing costs. The agency estimates that 99 percent of approximately 1.5 million boilers in the United States either will not be covered or will be able to meet the new standards by conducting periodic maintenance or regular tune-ups. 

According to EPA, the final adjustments to the standards were based on an extensive analysis of data and input from states, environmental groups, industry, lawmakers, and the public. As a result of information gathered through this review, the final rule will dramatically cut the cost of implementation by individual boilers as compared to rules EPA proposed in 2010. At the same time, these rules will continue to deliver significant public health benefits. EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce these pollutants, the public will see $13 to $29 in health benefits, including fewer instances of asthma, heart attacks, as well as premature deaths.

EPA has also finalized revisions to the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials Rule to provide clarity on what types of secondary materials are considered non-waste fuels and offer greater flexibility in rule implementation. This final rule classifies a number of secondary materials as categorical non-wastes when used as a fuel and allows operators to request that EPA identify specific materials through rulemaking as a categorical non-waste fuel.

The National Renderers Association Environmental Committee is currently reviewing the final rules to evaluate their effect on the rendering industry. More detailed information on the final standards for boilers and incinerators is available at www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion.

February 2013 RENDER | back