Environmental Engineering | Geology | Consulting
Environmental Engineering | Geology | Consulting
HOMELAND SECURITY NOTIFICATION
September 2017 Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Area Survey
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has hired a contractor to conduct aerial surveys in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria area from September 12 thru September 20, 2017. The helicopter that is being used for these surveys is red (Tail Number: N342LS) and the word “PATROL” is visible on the underside.
The helicopter is equipped with a specialized infrared camera that can image volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other hydrocarbons invisible to the eye. VOC are a class of compounds present in common things like gasoline and solvents. VOC can combine with nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight to form ground-level ozone.
The helicopter will perform surveys over and around industrial facilities. During these surveys the helicopter may hover and fly a path over and around a facility or area multiple times in a manner that allows for the collection of images and other information on potential emission sources. The helicopter may fly a non-grid style search pattern over
some areas to avoid tall structures. At times the helicopter may fly or hover at an altitude as low as 250 feet above ground.
The helicopter flights will conclude by September 20, 2017.
TCEQ Region 12 (Houston) contact: Andy Goodridge, telephone (713) 767-3609, Andy.Goodridge@tceq.texas.gov
Technical and logistical information contacts: Adam Bullock, telephone (512) 239-5155, Adam.Bullock@tceq.texas.gov or Kevin Cauble, telephone (512) 239-1874, Kevin.Cauble@tceq.texas.gov.
Media contact: Andrea Morrow, telephone (512) 239-5011.
On November 10, 2016, EPA released the final edition of the Information Collection Request (ICR) for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry. The key purpose of the ICR is to provide information to EPA in order to create new rulemaking under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for EXISTING sources of Methane in the upstream and midstream oil and natural gas sectors.
Letters will be sent to operators via registered mail under Section 114 of the CAA and response will be mandatory for all recipients. Some changes from the draft ICRs includes a new deadline of 60 days to complete Part 1 Surveys and 180 days to complete Part 2 Surveys, moving some questions from the Part 1 Survey to the Part 2 Survey, splitting the Gathering and Boosting segment for ease of understanding, and changing the requirements for pressurized liquid sampling for separators with a throughput of more than 10 barrels per day.
Information on the ICR can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/controlling-air-pollution-oil-and-natural-gas-industry/oil-and-gas-industry-information-requests
The following information comes from EPA’s fact sheet :
What the Final ICR Covers
The operator survey will be sent to approximately 15,000 owners/operators in the oil and gas industry; the more detailed facility will be sent to approximately 4,650 owners/operators.
If you have any questions, contact Joe Pere at 512-474-9097 or Joe.Pere@Cook-Joyce.com.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) offers the Pollution Control Property Tax Exemption program. This program identifies property and/or equipment that is being used to control pollution to meet an applicable environmental regulation, and allows businesses to claim a tax exemption from their local tax office.
Have you taken advantage of this program?
The property (equipment) must have been purchased, acquired, constructed, installed, replaced, or reconstructed after January 1, 1994 to meet or exceed an adopted federal, state, or local environmental law, rule, or regulation.
Property or equipment that is installed (or is being installed) wholly or partly for pollution control purposes and meets or exceeds an applicable environmental regulation may be eligible for a positive use determination.
For property used partly for pollution control, the applicant must perform a cost analysis using the cost analysis procedure (CAP) specified in 30 TAC §17.17(c) to determine the percentage of the qualifying capital.
Dedicated-Purpose Vehicles: Vehicles that are used solely for pollution control at your facility such as certain types of vacuum trucks, street sweepers, surface-watering trucks, and spill-response vehicles.
Qualifying Land: Land may be eligible for a positive determination, but only land acquired after January 1, 1994 that actually contains: (1) only pollution control property (equipment); or (2) property that is used solely for pollution control; or (3) property that was specifically purchased solely for pollution control.
Buffer Zones: Property used solely as a buffer zone is applicable if required by an adopted environmental rule or regulation.
Used Equipment: Control Pollution Property (equipment) purchased from another owner may be eligible if it meets the following criteria.
A person is not entitled to an exemption from taxation if the following is true:
A use determination is valid as long as the property is both:
There are three different tiers (Tier I, Tier II or Tier III) or levels, of applications that can be prepared and submitted to TCEQ for a use determination. If tax relief is sought for pollution control property in different tier levels, separate applications must be submitted for each tier level.
All applications will require an application fees. The fees are used to recover the costs of administering the program. Fees are higher for Tiers II and III applications because of the greater administrative costs involved in reviewing applications.
Call us at 512-474-9097 or contact us and we will get you started with your application today.
Post Oak Clean Green can move forward with their application and draft permit for a Type I Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfill to be located in Guadalupe County, Texas. Cook-Joyce, Inc. (CJI) received this news about our client, Post Oak Clean Green, on Friday, September 23, 2016 from the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
In January 2016, a contested case hearing was held by SOAH to review the Post Oak Clean Green application and draft permit. The Texas Commission Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Executive Director supported issuance of the permit while numerous other parties opposed the landfill application and draft permit.
In its Proposal For Decision, SOAH recommended TCEQ approve the Post Oak Clean Green Landfill application which potentially enables them to receive a permit to operate the Type I MSW facility. SOAH also prepared a Proposed Order to address some deficiencies that may be overcome by recommend permit conditions. Both the draft permit and the Proposed Order will be considered by the TCEQ Commissioners at an upcoming TCEQ Commissioners’ Agenda Meeting.
CJI has been working with Post Oak Clean Green for the past four years to help secure a Type I MSW Landfill permit. CJI revised the original MSW landfill application that was submitted to the TCEQ and assisted with the subsequent responses to the Technical Notice of Deficiency (TNOD) letters from the agency. CJI also provided technical expert witness testimony at the administrative hearing on the permit application and draft permit, held earlier in 2016 by SOAH.
A copy of the final application, draft permit and the SOAH decision and proposed order can be found on our Permits Page or by clicking here.
Air Permitting. It can be confusing, bewildering, and just downright complicated at times. Knowing how to calculate potential to emit (PTE) emissions, what type of authorization to use, and navigating the complex regulatory maze has often pushed many who are responsible for these authorizations into a corner in terms of how to comply with authorizations when they are issued.
There is a common misunderstanding amongst many that as long as you are under the PTE thresholds for your criteria pollutants that you are in compliance, regardless of the chemical makeup of that criteria pollutant. Many times, chemical processes used and actual end products or chemicals emitted differ from the representations in the permit application. This can result in a belief is that as long as the permitted activity is below the PTE limit that the activity is in compliance. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. At the end of the day, it’s about what your authorization (permit application and regulatory approved permit) represents to the agency that matters.
Today, we are in a fast-paced society where change is the norm and we must be able to be adaptable and dynamic. This is most especially noted in the chemical, high tech, and manufacturing sectors, where every day, new and innovative products and technologies are being developed and brought to the market. However, with these innovations and developments comes changes in how the product is manufactured, and oftentimes, it is something that is not currently covered by the manufacturing plant’s permitted authorization.
For years, the route that many companies have followed to seek preconstruction authorization was to obtain a New Source Review (NSR) permit, Standard Permit, or the ever-famous Permit by Rule (PBR), depending upon a variety of factors that characterize the operations at the facility. Once issued, these authorizations are often rigid and inflexible, leaving little wiggle room for deviation. As a result, the authorization would need to undergo an amendment or alteration in order to include new representations. These changes can lead to costly expenses, including permitting fees, consulting fees, and time lost while obtaining approval of activities not authorized.
In recent years, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has adopted and developed new authorizations that allow for such flexibility in emissions, thus giving owners and operators more flexibility that significantly reduces the regulatory and cost burden. Chapter 116, Subchapter G of Title 30 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) allows for Flexible Permits to be implemented for new and existing sources for those who are in this position.
However, another alternative is available to many facilities that are not authorized under a Flexible Permit, or who do not have frequent changes in conditions to justify having a Flexible Permit. Under 30 TAC Section 106.124, there exists a PBR authorization for Pilot Plants, which can save owners and operators significant time and money, and keep them flexible without having to apply for permanent changes to their authorization.
A “Pilot Plant” is defined by the TCEQ in the TAC “as a facility that is constructed and operated only for one of the following purposes:
(A) testing the manufacturing or marketing potential of a proposed product;
(B) defining the design of a larger plant; or
(C) studying the behavior of an existing plant through modeling in the pilot plant.”
For many facilities, this type of authorization allows for flexibility that could only be otherwise achieved via permit amendments for projects that may be short-term or temporary.
Additional parameters that govern this authorization are that the sum of product, co-product, or by-product design capacity shall not exceed 5 million pounds per year, operation of the pilot plant shall not occur beyond the fifth calendar year from the year of initial production, the pilot plant shall be located at least 500 feet from any recreational area or residence, new or increased emissions shall not exceed 6 lb/hr and 10 tpy, emissions shall not exceed 1 tpy at any individual stack, and that chemical-specific emissions limits shall not be exceeded as determined in 106.261(4) and 106.262(3).
The preceding PBR requirements may seem restrictive, but the overall intent of the rule is that this be a temporary solution to a potentially permanent issue. Most PBRs are structured in such a way that the rules are stringent and that the environment and overall public health are not affected so long as the rules set forth are adhered to. Most operators who utilize this type of authorization typically incorporate it into their permits when renewals or amendments are due or when the Pilot Plant PBR timeline expires.
There is no restriction on the number of pilot plants that are operating at a facility, so long as they are still operating under the confines of 106.4 and 106.124. There is no need to register the authorization with TCEQ, nor pay a permitting fee. The authorization is subject to recordkeeping requirements under 106.8 to demonstrate compliance with the rules, meaning that a copy of the claimed authorization must be kept on site.
If a facility can meet the requirements of a Pilot Plant PBR, it is a much more cost-effective route to take instead of doing an amendment or modification for a change in operations that may be brief or may require additional testing before final implementation. It saves time by not undergoing a full review at TCEQ, it saves money by not having to invest in costly amendments or fees, and it ensures that the production is occurring in an environmentally responsible manner by adhering to the strict guidelines of TCEQ PBRs.
Since 1983, Cook-Joyce has been providing quality environmental, engineering, and geological consulting services for the manufacturing, high tech, oil and gas, and healthcare sectors. Our staff of experienced professionals is here to assist you with any need you may have. If Pilot Plant PBRs seem like an option that could benefit your site or if you have any questions, call me at 512-474-9097 or email me at Joe.Pere@cook-joyce.com.
We look forward to hearing from you.
We are environmental engineers, geologists and consultants committed to producing exceptional quality work for the best value. Our focus is on developing enduring relationships with our clients, understanding their needs and concerns, and providing a quality product respected by the regulators. Learn more
Since 1983, Cook Joyce Inc. has provided effective environmental engineering and consulting services to industries, governmental agencies, waste management companies, utilities, and municipalities. Our clients benefit from our in-depth technical expertise, diverse project experience, and excellent reputation. Learn more