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On March 5, 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Brick and Structural Clay Products Manufacturing and Clay Ceramics Manufacturing, commonly known as the “MACT rule” because it requires the use of a maximum achievable control technology (MACT). Although the rule had not yet been published in the Federal Register at the time this article was written, EPA officials believed this would occur by the end of April.
The promulgation of the final rule comes just eight months after the proposed rule was issued in July 2002. Based on a number of presentations made at a public hearing in August 2002, as well as more than 80 public comment letters, the EPA made several changes to the rule in the industry’s favor. For example, in the proposed rule, the MACT floor was based on the use of dry lime injection fabric filters (DIFF), dry lime scrubber/fabric filters (DLS/FF) or wet scrubbers (WS). After considering the industry’s comments and observing a dry limestone adsorber (DLA) operating in a brick plant, the EPA decided that DLAs are the only currently available technology that can be used to retrofit existing kilns without causing a significant potential impact on the production process. The EPA therefore revised the final rule to allow the use of DLAs on these kilns. However, the rule continues to champion DIFF, DLS/FF and WS as appropriate technologies for new large tunnel kilns and for reconstructed large tunnel kilns that were equipped with DIFF, DLS/FF or WS prior to reconstruction.
Other areas of the rule were left unchanged despite arguments and data supporting the industry’s position. For example, industry members were hoping that the design capacity limit would be raised to 10.1 Mg/hr (11.1 tph) or 12.1 Mg/hr (13.3 tph), based on available data, but the EPA decided not to change the limit in the final rule. According to the EPA, the smallest tunnel kiln with MACT floor controls (i.e., with DLA controls reflecting the existing source MACT floor under the final rule) listed in its database has a capacity of 8.3 Mg/hr (9.1 tph). The EPA said it believes that rounding up to 9.07 Mg/hr (10 tph) is an appropriate subcategorization level. Many industry members continue to believe that this limit is too low and that enforcing it will negatively affect the brick industry.
A judicial review of the final rule can be obtained by filing a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit within 60 days after the final rule is published in the Federal Register, but it is still unclear whether the brick industry intends to pursue this option. Ceramic Industry will continue to follow this matter closely and will provide updates as they become available.