Refinery Sector Rule Amendments Finalized

By Nyx Black | Refinery Sector Rule

Jul 19

As we all know, EPA finalized the Refinery Sector Rule (RSR) on December 1, 2015, and issued proposed amendments to the rule on February 9, 2016.  Ready or not, the proposed amendments were finalized in the Federal Register and were published/effective on July 13, 2016.  To sort out what was proposed (2/9) versus what was finalized (7/13), let’s take a look at both in some detail.

Amendments Proposed on February 9, 2016

The proposed amendments sought to make the following changes to the December 1, 2015 final rule:

  1. Extend the compliance dates for the following to August 1, 2017 (for those sources constructed or reconstructed on or before June 30, 2014):
    • Refinery MACT 1 (40 CFR 63 Subpart CC) standards for maintenance vents, and
    • Refinery MACT 2 (40 CFR 63 Subpart UUU) standards for:
      • FCCU startup, shutdown, or hot standby, and
      • SRU startup and shutdown.
  2. Add a new provision (40 CFR 63.643(d)) which clarified that maintenance vents must comply with the general duty clause requirements between February 1, 2016 and the date of compliance with the maintenance vent provisions.
  3. Corrections and clarifications to these rules, as well as NSPS for petroleum refineries.  These are primarily minor, but do include a complete revision to Subpart CC Table 11 (Compliance Dates and Requirements).

Amendments Finalized On July 13, 2016

On July 13, 2016, the amendments proposed above were published/finalized as-is.  The following additional changes to the rule were also finalized on July 13, 2016:

  1. Table 11 was revised to clarify that storage vessel overlap provisions allow Group 1 and 2 storage vessels to comply with other regulations.
  2. The word “valve” was replaced with “pressure relief device” in §63.670(o)(1)(vi).
  3. The words “of this chapter” were removed from  §63.1564(a)(1)(iv).
  4. §63.1564(a)(1) referred to 4 options in paragraph (a)(1), when there are 6 options.  This has been corrected.
  5. The definition of miscellaneous process vent was revised to clarify that in situ sampling systems will be excluded from this definition until February 1, 2016, but are considered to be miscellaneous process vents after this date.

However, these additional changes make some technical corrections that really don’t change the meaning of the rule, with the exception of #5.

The Take-Away:

The new extended compliance date for the requirements above (August 1, 2017) will allow more time to install additional equipment if needed, and complete the MOC process to address safety concerns due to potential facility changes (in accordance with RMP (40 CFR 68) and the OSHA PSM standard (29 CFR 1910)).  However, facilities need to go through the applicability process now and define their lists of subject sources.  There are several reasons why, including the following:

  1. The general duty clause to minimize emissions applies now, and the rule is clear that records to show compliance with that clause are required.  Sure, you could minimize emissions and keep records for ALL your sources, but it is more cost effective to obtain your list of subject sources now and only keep the required records for those sources rather than your entire facility.
  2. Procedures for dealing with the requirements need to be written and implemented, and will be different depending on how your sources are defined and/or designed.  For example, implementing the maintenance vent requirements will require a different procedure for equipment designs that do not allow LEL testing versus those that do.  You will want time to navigate those decisions well before the compliance date.

And finally, make sure to consider in situ sampling systems as part of your miscellaneous vent evaluation. August 1, 2017 is a little more than a year away and there’s lots to do, so we recommend continuing to push forward to evaluate your sources and establish new facility procedures to maintain compliance with the new requirements.


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