The US EPA Proposes Alternative Inspections for Volatile Organic Liquid Storage Vessels

In the October 16, 2020 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed amendments to its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Volatile Organic Liquid Storage Vessels (Including Petroleum Liquid Storage Vessels) for Which Construction, Reconstruction, or Modification Commenced After July 23, 1984 (40 CFR 60 Subpart Kb). The amendments would allow owners or operators of storage vessels of vessels equipped with either an external floating roof (EFR) or internal floating roof (IFR) to voluntarily elect to comply with requirements in the National Emission Standards for Storage Vessels (Tanks)—Control Level 2 (40 CFR 63 Subpart WW) as an alternative standard, subject to certain caveats and exceptions for monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting. Public comments will be accepted through November 30, 2020.

Under the proposed rule, owners with an EFR or IFR could comply with 40 CFR 63 Subpart WW. Those with an IFR that can meet the visual access requirement of subpart WW may conduct the internal in-service top-side of the floating roof visual inspection under subpart WW, instead of emptying and degassing the vessel only for an inspection. Any owners or operators that choose to use subpart WW will need to comply with the monitoring requirements in subpart Kb and keep other records in addition to the requirements of subpart WW. Additionally, an owner or operator must notify EPA at least 30 days before the first inspection conducted under the alternative standard of subpart WW. Once a facility chooses to use the alternative method, the owner or operator must use the alternative standard until it sends EPA another notification of the intent to switch back. Any source that switches must keep records and reports required under subpart Kb for two years from the date of submitting the intent to switch to the alternative standard. If switching back from the alternative standard to subpart Kb, the source would be required to retain the records required under subpart WW for five years from the date of the switch.

If the rule is finalized, EPA would allow owners and operators to being using the alternative standard immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.


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