US EPA’s Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction Rule SIP Call


Ohio EPA is soliciting comments on the Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction and Scheduled Maintenance (SSM & SM) State Implementation Plan (SIP) call until July 28, 2016. The purpose of the early stakeholder’s outreach is to obtain feedback on the SSM & SM SIP call before Ohio EPA begins drafting revisions to their rules. This SIP call is expected to require changes to portions of Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) rules 3745-14-11, 3745-15-01, 3745-15-06 and 3745-17-07 that contain SSM & SM language that was deemed objectionable by US EPA.

On June 12, 2015, in response to a settlement agreement between US EPA and the Sierra Club, US EPA issued a SIP call (80 FR 113 p. 33840) to 36 states, including Ohio, to address concerns about excess emissions that occur during SSM & SM periods. US EPA is requiring each affected state to submit corrective SIP revisions by November 22, 2016.

In general, US EPA believes sources must be in compliance with all emission limits, all the time, even during periods of startup, shutdown, malfunction or scheduled maintenance periods. US EPA has identified numerous SIP provisions in 36 states that allow sources to exceed emission limits during SSM & SM periods. US EPA is requiring, through this SIP call, the removal of those provisions that allow sources to operate out of compliance during SSM & SM periods. Most of US EPA’s concerns center around the following four specific issues: (1) Automatic Exemption Provisions; (2) Director’s Discretionary Exemption Provisions; (3) State-Only Enforcement Discretion Provisions; and (4) Affirmative Defense Provisions.

OAC rule 3745-14-11(D) is an example of an Automatic Exemption Provision in Ohio EPA’s rules. OAC rule 3745-14-11(D) exempts portland cement kilns from the emission limit provisions in the rule during startup, shutdown, some malfunctions and regularly scheduled maintenance activities.

OAC rule 3745-15-06(A)(3) is an example of a Director’s Discretionary Exemption Provision in Ohio EPA’s rules. OAC rule 3745-15-06(A)(3) allow sources to request written permission from the Director to operate in excess of emission limits during scheduled maintenance activities where source shutdown is impossible or impractical. This has the potential to be the most troubling element of the SSM & SM SIP call because may facilities in Ohio frequently rely on the scheduled maintenance provisions in OAC rule 3745-15-06.

For more formation on the SSM & SM SIP call, please refer to Ohio EPA’s Fact Sheet and Federal Register Notice 80 FR 113 p. 33840.

Contact Ron Hansen at 614-794-3570 Ext 21 if you have any questions.