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Air Toxics Reductions in NJ

AIR TOXIC EMISSION REDUCTION EFFORTS IN NEW JERSEY

NJDEP has a three-pronged approach to decreasing air toxic emissions in our state. Use these links to learn more about our specific activities to reduce air toxic emissions from Point Sources, Area Sources, and Mobile Sources, and to find out about the goals and objectives of our overall air toxics program and how we plan to measure its success:

"" Permit Review: A combination of control technology and risk assessment requirements employed in the permitting process.
"" Voluntary Reductions: Company initiatives implementing Pollution Prevention opportunities, and resulting Right-to-Know and similar disclosure and compliance assistance programs.
"" Traditional Pollutant Control Programs: Air toxics reductions that result as a side-benefit of control programs that address ozone precursors, particulate matter, and other pollutants.

PERMIT REVIEW

New Jersey's permitting process includes control technology review and risk assessment for some air toxics. This process addresses both point sources and area sources.

Examples of past and present activities

  • State-of-the-art (SOTA) technology requirements for new and modified sources require that air toxic emissions be minimized.
    • Hospital incinerators, dry cleaners, gas stations and other types of sources have upgraded their air pollution controls to comply with SOTA.
  • Risk assessments are part of the permitting process for specific sources.
    • Certain sources of special concern, including hazardous waste incinerators, sewage sludge incinerators, and municipal waste combustors, must prepare a risk assessment in support of their air permit applications.
    • In 1989, a routine risk screening review was instituted for all air permit applications containing emissions of any of 56 carcinogens which are of potential concern, In April 2000, the risk screening review was expanded to include over a 100 carcinogens. A method for screening noncarcinogens was also added. All of the substances identified as air toxics of special concern in New Jersey are included in the screening process.
  • In 1996, the Department adopted new regulations requiring Municipal Waste Combustors (MWCs) to decrease their mercury emissions by 96% by the year 2000.
    • All of our MWCs have reached this goal through a combination of add-on controls and reducing the amount of mercury entering their units through discarded batteries and other mercury-containing waste.

Planned Activities

  • In January 2001 the New Jersey Mercury Task Force submitted its recommendations for reducing mercury emissions to air through add-on controls, source separation, and elimination of mercury from products.These are being reviewed by the Department in order to set priorities and develop workplans. Some of the recommendations are already being addressed. For example, revisions to the Universal Waste Rules have been proposed which will make it easier to recycle products containing mercury instead of simply throwing them in the trash. The Department is working with the NJ Treasury Department to purchase mercury-free products.
  • As part of the Performance Partnership agreement, NJDEP will develop General Permits for dry cleaners and halogenated solvent cleaners, and Compliance Plans for area sources, to reduce air toxics. Also, NJDEP will work with USEPA to implement the Urban Air Toxics Strategy for air toxics in urban areas. NJDEP continues its work with USEPA to implement federal programs such as Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Standards for point sources to reduce air toxic emissions statewide.
  • In the Clean Air portion of NJDEP's Strategic Plan, two new strategies are highlighted which will help the Department to identify air toxic sources of particular concern:
    • Facility-wide risk assessment: Risk assessment tools will be developed to help identify facilities where total air emissions result in peak exposures to air toxics at levels that may be of concern. Once identified, pollution prevention and control measures will be developed and implemented to reduce emissions which lead to those exposures.
    • Community-wide risk assessment: A pilot project will be developed to evaluate, in a comprehensive manner, air emissions from point, area and mobile sources within a single community. The purpose of this pilot project is to develop an approach for determining cumulative health risks from inhalation of toxic emissions within a community.
    • In January 2003, revisions to the DEP Emissions Statement program were promulgated. These revisions will result in the reporting of additional facility-wide information on the emissions of 36 air toxics, beginning in 2004.

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VOLUNTARY REDUCTIONS

Right-to-Know and similar disclosure and compliance assistance programs encourage voluntary reductions from Point Sources and from Area Sources.

Community Right-to-know (CRTK) - This regulation requires manufacturing and select non-manufacturing facilities to report the use, storage or production of hazardous substances. In addition, large quantity manufacturers or users are required to report the amounts of hazardous substances released to the environment.

  • From 1988 to 1999, total reported air emissions of certain air toxics from some sources have been reduced by 77.5% (from 32.5 to 7.3 million pounds).
  • Beginning in 2000, the reporting thresholds were lowered for several substances that are persistent, bioaccumulative, or toxic in the environment (known as PBTs). These lower thresholds will give the DEP and the public more information about emissions of these very toxic substances, such as mercury and dioxin. Click here to view PBTs and their new reporting thresholds.

Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act (TCPA) - Established the accidental release prevention program. This program encourages facilities to reduce inventories or switch to inherently safer chemicals and processes.

  • In the fourteen years since the TCPA rules were adopted, the number of sites storing threshold quantities of toxic and flammable extraordinarily hazardous substances has decreased by 80%.
  • Of the remaining 114 sites, all but two have approved risk management programs designed to reduce the potential for a catastrophic release of their extraordinarily hazardous substances into the community. The last two plans will be completed soon.

Pollution Prevention - While the 1991 rules do not mandate air toxic emission reductions, there has been a reduction of 50% in production related wastes since 1987. The Pollution Prevention Act of 1991 requires facilities in certain industrial sectors to prepare Pollution Prevention Plans and submit Plan Summaries that contain 5 year reduction goals for both use and Nonproduct Output (NPO). Plan summaries are submitted to the Department every 5 years. Progress reports towards those 5-year reduction goals are submitted annually.

Some of the specific findings as a result of Pollution Prevention Planning (from Hampshire Research Associates, inc. "Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Pollution Prevention Planning in New Jersey," May 1996.) include:

  1. The majority of facilities appear to have set higher reduction goals, on average, than they would have without the required planning.

  2. Most facilities found planning worthwhile and discovered benefits beyond reduction goals and fulfilling regulatory requirements.

  3. Pollution Prevention opportunities continue to be plentiful even for facilities with previous reductions, and planning was a useful approach to identify them.

  4. Process level materials accounting was a successful planning tool for identifying reduction opportunities.
Operating Permit - The process of preparing the new Operating Permit application has resulted in voluntary reductions and compliance by companies. The Operating Permit program was created by Title V of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments to consolidate air pollution control requirements for large facilities into a single permit.

  • Approximately 384 Operating Permit applications have been received thus far, covering 23,000 source operations, many of which emit air toxics.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions

"" Action Plan

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action Plan, (which is still under development) will encourage voluntary improvements in energy efficiency and will track resulting emission reductions, including estimates of air toxic reductions.

"" Enforcement Initiatives

Aggressive enforcement of incinerator rules resulted in the shutdown of most small incinerators (in apartment buildings, for example) in the early 1990s.
The NJDEP Greenstart program is designed to help small businesses and municipalities to understand and comply with environmental regulations. At the request of a facility or municipality, NJDEP will visit and review facility operations and applicable requirements, and make recommendations for solving any compliance problems.

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TRADITIONAL POLLUTANT CONTROL PROGRAMS

Control of ozone precursors, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and other pollutants may also result in air toxic reductions. These programs address all types of sources: Point, Area, and Mobile.

Point Source Controls

  • Emission offset requirements for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) have assisted in the reduction of air toxic emissions.
  • Mercury limits on municipal solid waste incineration resulted in the shutdown of remaining small municipal waste incinerators in 1996.

Area Source Controls

  • State Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emission limitations
    • Architectural Coating rules were phased in between 1990 and 1993, resulting in a reduction of VOCs in paints. New rules with further reductions in VOC content are being prepared.
    • Capping and control of landfill gases reduces air toxic emissions.

Mobile Source Controls

  • Federal Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Program
    • Since adoption of the Clean Air Act Amendments in 1990, Federal emission standards for newly manufactured vehicles were made more stringent starting with the 1994 model year, cutting emissions of hydrocarbons (many of which are air toxics) by about 40%. New Jersey has signed on to the National Low Emission Vehicle (NLEV) Program which started with the 1999 model year.
    • Federal Reformulated Gas (Phase 1) in January 1995 reduced toxics from gasoline-fueled vehicles by 15% or more over 1990 levels. This rule limited the benzene content of gasoline to 1%. Phase 2 standards will reduce emissions by another 10%.
    • Diesel fuel standards, implemented nationally in 1993, lowered sulfur content and controlled the octane rating of diesel fuel, effectively limiting emissions of aromatics (such as benzene).
    • Reduced sulfur in gasoline rules are about to be proposed. Requirements would be phased in between 2004 and 2006.
    • USEPA Tier 2 standards for light-duty trucks (including Sport Utility Vehicles) will be proposed later this year, adopted sometime next year, and take effect as early as Model year 2004.
  • State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Program
    • As part of the current Inspection and Maintenance program, Gas Cap Inspection was added in 1996 to control evaporative emissions which contain hazardous air pollutants (benzene, etc.). The complete Enhanced Inspection and Maintenance program will begin before December 1999, reducing air toxic emissions still further.
    • In 1998, New Jersey implemented enforcement of visible (or soot) emissions standards for diesel trucks and buses. Diesel particulate emissions are a prime contributor to particulate air toxics.

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Last Updated: March 30, 2011