On August 2, the U.S. EPA announced that it has finalized changes to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for VOCs regarding storage tanks used for oil, natural gas, gas production, transmission, and crude oil.
The changes have been approved in order to ensure that new tanks that are likely to produce the highest levels of air emissions will be controlled first while providing tank owners and operators enough time to implement VOC controls.
All tanks subject to the NSPS must control VOC emissions by 95% or meet the alternative emissions limit set by the EPA.
Here's what has changed:
1. Tanks affected by the rule
- For tanks that come online after April 12, 2013, the owner must install VOC controls by April 15, 2014, or within 60 days after startup, whichever is later.
For tanks built or modified within this phase-in window, the operator must have accurately estimated their tanks potential emissions to determine if the tank is affected by the NSPS.
In addition, if a tank potential emissions are 6 tons or greater of VOCs per year, the owner has an additional 30 days to control VOC emissions.
- For tanks built between Aug 23, 2011 and April 12, 2013 (known as Group 1 tanks), owners have until October 15, 2013 to estimate their tanks potential emissions.
If a tank's emission are 6 tons of VOCs per year or over, the owner has until April 15, 2015 to control VOC emissions.
- Reduce tank VOC emissions by 95% or
- demonstrate that tank emissions have dropped to less than 4 tons per year of VOCs without emissions controls. To demonstrate this, the owner must document and prove that tank emissions have been below four tons for twelve consecutive months and re-evaluate uncontrolled VOC emissions every month. If the emissions in one month spike above the 4 ton limit, the operator will then have 30 days to meet the original 95% control limit instead.