NJDEP AIR TOXICS PROGRAM
NJ’s MULTI-PRONGED APPROACH TO DECREASING AIR TOXICS EMISSIONS
The NJDEP air toxics program has evolved over the years into a multi-pronged approach to decrease air toxic emissions in our state.
NJDEP's first attempt to specifically address exposure to air toxics, was in 1979 when N.J.A.C.7:27-17, “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution by Toxic Substances” was adopted. This regulation listed eleven “Toxic Volatile Organic Substances” (TVOS) and required that sources emitting those TVOS into the air register with the NJDEP, and demonstrate that they were using state-of-the-art controls to limit their emissions.
Since that time, the NJDEP Air Toxics Program has expanded to include risk assessment, federal regulations, and even other NJDEP programs, all of which contribute to the continued reduction of air toxics emissions.
The air toxics program in New Jersey evolved from the criteria pollutant program, with air toxics responsibilities gradually added to routine activities of permit evaluators, enforcement officers, and ambient monitoring and stack testing staff. This evolution allowed the program to get started quickly, without requiring special requests for new resources. However, this approach requires an enormous amount of cooperation and coordination between NJDEP programs. In 1987, an Air Toxics Steering Committee was formed to bring together representatives of various NJDEP programs that were dealing with different aspects of the air toxics issue. In addition to most of the bureaus in the Air Program, members represent the Office of Science; Air Compliance and Enforcement; Office of Policy and Planning; Environmental Justice Program; Office of Local Environmental Management; Office of Pollution Prevention and Right to Know; and the Department of Health. The Steering Committee continues to meet regularly, to evaluate the status of the air toxics problem in New Jersey, discuss emerging issues, and develop strategies.
The NJDEP Air Toxics Program can be roughly divided into the following categories.
- Permit Review: A combination of control technology and risk assessment requirements employed in the air permitting process.
- Voluntary Reductions: Initiatives that encourage facilities to reduce air toxics emissions through Pollution Prevention opportunities, and Right-to-Know and similar disclosure and compliance assistance programs.
- Other Air Pollution Control Programs: Air toxics reductions that result from direct regulation or as a side-benefit of control programs that address ozone precursors, particulate matter, and criteria pollutants.
- Other Air Toxics Initiatives: Special projects and ongoing programs.
1. PERMIT REVIEW
New Jersey's Air Quality Permitting Program combines control technology requirements and risk assessment to address emissions of air toxics from stationary sources, including certain types of industrial and commercial area sources.
Control Technology Requirements
When a company applies for an Air Pollution Control Permit for a new or modified source of air emissions, it is required to use state-of-the-art (SOTA) control techniques. These techniques generally include performance limits that are based on air pollution control technology, pollution prevention methods, and process modifications or substitutions that will provide the greatest emission reductions that are technologically and economically feasible. These technology requirements have been a part of the program for over thirty years, and initially addressed emissions of so-called “criteria pollutants.”
In 1979 NJDEP extended these control technology requirements to certain types of facilities that emitted 11 “Toxic Volatile Organic Substances” (TVOS). These were specifically listed in N.J.A.C. 7:27-17, Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution by Toxics Substances.
The federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 mandated that USEPA develop “Maximum Achievable Control Technology” (MACT) standards for sources of specific hazardous air pollutants. Many of these have been incorporated into the New Jersey program, while in some cases New Jersey’s requirements are more stringent.
Some specific types of sources that have upgraded their pollution controls in recent years to comply with New Jersey SOTA requirements include hospital incinerators, dry cleaners, and gas stations.
In the early 1980s, NJDEP recognized that one shortcoming of the control technology approach was that it does not guarantee that the emissions from a source with state-of-the-art controls are sufficiently low to protect public health. A risk assessment policy was instituted, requiring most large sources of air toxic emissions to submit a document assessing the risk to the public from their emissions, along with their permit application. In 1989, a routine risk screening review process was put into place, in which NJDEP permit reviewers use a worksheet to evaluate the risk of smaller air toxics sources during permit review. This risk screening is now applied to all permit applications with reportable levels of air toxics. The specific air toxics evaluated include 168 carcinogens, 133 chemicals with other long-term effects, and 64 with short-term effects. If the exposure predicted by the screening procedure is greater than a targeted amount, then additional site-specific modeling and risk assessment are done by the NJDEP dispersion modeling staff. If risk targets are still exceeded, additional emission reductions may be required before a permit is approved. This risk screening step provides consistency and efficiency in the review process, while ensuring adequate protection of public health.
Guidance on how to prepare a risk assessment can be found in Technical Manual 1003. The NJDEP risk screening tools are also available here.
2. VOLUNTARY REDUCTIONS
Reductions in emissions of air toxics in New Jersey have also occurred as the result of initiatives carried out by programs outside the Division of Air Quality. These programs use disclosure, planning, and compliance requirements to encourage facilities to voluntarily reduce emissions of air toxics.
Pollution Prevention Program
While the 1991 rules establishing the New Jersey Pollution Prevention Program did not mandate air toxic emission reductions, there was a reduction of 50% in production-related wastes from 1987 to 1994. There was an additional 26% reduction of production-related wastes from 1994 to 2001. The Pollution Prevention Act of 1991 requires that facilities in certain industrial sectors prepare Pollution Prevention Plans, and submit plan summaries that contain 5-year reduction goals for both Use and Nonproduct Output (NPO). Plan summaries are submitted to the Department every 5 years. Progress reports towards those 5-year reduction goals are submitted annually through the Release and Pollution Prevention Report (RPPR) (see below).
Community Right to Know (CRTK)
New Jersey’s Community Right to Know Program was one of the first in the country to require public reporting of chemical inventory and environmental release data. The Release and Pollution Prevention Report (RPPR) is used to collect information for the NJDEP Community Right to Know and Pollution Prevention programs. The RPPR gathers data on toxic chemical throughput, multi-media environmental releases, on-site waste management, and off-site transfers, collectively known as materials accounting. Pollution prevention progress information is also reported on the RPPR.
The New Jersey reporting requirements for the RPPR are closely linked to the requirements for the federal Toxic Chemicals Release Inventory (TRI) puruant to EPCRA Section 313. Any New Jersey employer required to submit a TRI form (Form R including release data or the shorter Form A Certification Statement) is also required to submit the RPPR.
Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act (TCPA) Program
This accidental release prevention program requires that owners and operators of subject facilities have an NJDEP-approved risk management program in place if they handle, use, manufacture, store, or have the capability of generating an extraordinarily hazardous substance (EHS) at certain specified quantities. In 2003, the rules were expanded to include reactive substances and mixtures. The program encourages facilities to reduce inventories or switch to inherently safer chemicals and processes in order to prevent accidental releases of hazardous substances. Since 1988, when the TCPA rules were first adopted, the number of sites storing threshold quantities of toxic, flammable, or reactive extraordinarily hazardous substances has decreased by more than 80%.
GreenStart is a compliance assistance program developed by NJDEP to proactively help small businesses and municipalities comply with their environmental obligations. It is the only multi-media environmental compliance assistance program providing free on-site consultations by qualified NJDEP employees. The program assists facility owners and operators in interpreting environmental regulations and evaluating compliance in the areas of air, water and pesticides pollution control, solid and hazardous waste management, Right-to-Know (RTK), and Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act (TCPA).
3. OTHER AIR POLLUTION CONTROL PROGRAMS
Programs aimed at control of criteria pollutants can also result in reductions of air toxic emissions. These programs address point, area, and mobile sources.
Point Source Controls
Control requirements and emission offset requirements for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter contribute significantly to reductions of air toxics emissions. Although VOCs are controlled primarily because they lead to the formation of ozone, many of them are also air toxics. Particulate matter, a criteria pollutant, may also contain many individual compounds that are air toxics, particularly metals.
Area Source Controls
New Jersey has adopted several area source VOC-limiting rules that will also result in air toxic reductions. They target consumer products, architectural coatings, adhesives and sealants, and portable fuel containers. For more information click here .
- Architectural Coatings - Updated in 2004, N.J.A.C.7:27-23, “Prevention of Air Pollution from Architectural Coatings,” containss the NJDEP rules for limiting the VOC content and use of architectural coatings. It applies to anyone who manufactures, blends, repackages, supplies, distributes, sells, or applies an architectural coating within the State of New Jersey. It lists the amount of VOCs allowed in specific types of architectural coatings. For more information, the rule can be found at Subchapter 23.
Residential Wood Burning -
Wood is a renewable energy source, but burning wood can significantly increase exposure to air toxics. Wood smoke emits fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) and air toxics such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can cause lung irration, cancer, and premature death. It is the largest source of PM 2.5 emitted by homes. Information on ways to reduce emissions from wood burning can be found here.
- Consumer Products – N.J.A.C.7:27-24, “Prevention of Air Pollution from Consumer Products,” sets standards for the allowable VOC content in a wide range of chemically-formulated consumer products, including adhesives, automotive products, cosmetics, and cleaners. It applies to any person who sells, distributes, supplies, or manufactures in New Jersey any listed consumer product that is to be used in New Jersey either by a consumer or by a person providing a service. Revised limits became operative on January 1, 2005. This rule can be found at Subchapter 24.
Mobile Source Controls
Some of the numerous hazardous air pollutants that are emitted from mobile sources are benzene, formaldehyde, 1,3-butadiene, acetaldehyde, acrolein, and naphthalene. These and many others contribute significantly to the nationwide risk from breathing outdoor air. New Jersey's motor vehicle pollution control program includes the following initiatives:
- Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program - New Jersey's program deals with inspection test procedures and standards, mobile source emission modeling, the promotion of alternatively fueled vehicles, and development of mobile source emission regulations. For more information click here.
- Clean Vehicles List - Guidance and incentives for new car buyers looking for "clean vehicles" can be found by click here.
- Diesel Risk Reduction Program – In recent years, New Jersey has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce exposure to diesel emissions. For details, see Stop the Soot.
- Anti-Idling Rules for Diesel and Gasoline Vehicles – In general, vehicle idling is restricted to no more than three consecutive minutes if the vehicle is not in motion. This applies to both gasoline and diesel vehicles. Specifics can be found in the regulations, which can be accessed at Subchapter 14, “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles,” N.J.A.C.7:27-14.3, General prohibitions; and Subchapter 15, “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Gasoline-Fueled Motor Vehicles,” 7:27-15.8, Idle standard.
Information on federal
efforts to reduce mobile source air toxics can be found by clicking here.
4. OTHER AIR TOXICS INITIATIVES
Community Science Air Toxics Monitoring Projects
As part of NJDEP's focus on addressing community concerns about environmental impacts from vehicles and local sources of air pollution, the Division of Air Quality carried out four community science air monitoring projects from 2012-2014. These projects were funded by EPA as part of their Citizen Science effort. Details about the projects can be found here.
Professional Wet Cleaning Project
This project is targeted at dry cleaners currently using the solvent perchloroethylene, a hazardous air pollutant that has also contaminated soil and groundwater. Through education and demonstrations, it will encourage conversion to professional wet cleaning. This two-year project is funded by a USEPA Pollution Prevention grant that began in 2008, and is being managed jointly by the Rutgers-based New Jersey Small Business Development Centers and the NJDEP Small Business Assisstance Program in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Right to Know. For more information click here.
Urban Community Air Toxics Monitoring Project - Paterson City, NJ (UCAMPP)
NJDEP was awarded a competitive grant from the USEPA to identify risk reduction strategies for an urban community (Paterson) using air monitoring, air modeling, facility site visits, outreach and education. This is a multifaceted project which will:
- Characterize the spatial resolution of local air toxics;
- Determine concentration gradients;
- Identify source signatures from various land uses;
- Evaluate modeling results using monitoring data;
- Field test new sampling and analysis techniques for air toxics that are currently difficult to quantify;
- Characterize the concerns of an Environmental Justice (EJ) community;
- Provide information and develop tools so that the NJDEP and the local community can better address exposure and risk issues related to air toxics; and
- Identify risk reduction strategies.
This study will serve as a pilot project and provide valuable information that can be applied to other communities around the state and the nation.
Please click here for more information.
Camden Waterfront South Air Toxics Pilot Project
This special project, carried out from 2002 to 2005, was funded by a grant from USEPA, and was designed to develop tools to quickly assess air quality problems in a community (with a focus on air toxics). The Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden was designated as the study area in part because of the many air quality concerns that had been raised by the residents. NJDEP worked with the community to collect samples, inventory air pollution sources, carry out a risk assessment, and identify and implement risk reduction strategies. A final report was made available in 2005, although strategies to reduce risk and keep the community informed continue to be implemented. For details, click here.
New Jersey Air Toxics Monitoring Network
NJDEP started measuring a selection of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Camden in 1989, as part of the national Urban Air Toxics Monitoring Program. In 1999, an air toxics monitoring site was established in Elizabeth, and in 2001 two more sites were added in Chester and New Brunswick. The suite of monitored pollutants was expanded to include metals and semi-volatile compounds. These four sites that make up the NJDEP Air Toxics Monitoring Network have provided information on the spatial variation of air toxics concentrations in the state. Unfortunately, the Camden monitoring site was disabled in late 2008. Annual summaries of the air toxics monitoring data compiled by the Bureau of Air Monitoring, can be found in the Air Quality Reports (under"Publications-Reports").
Air Toxics Emissions Inventory
An emissions inventory is a collection of data describing the sources that emit a set of pollutants (their location, the type of stack, etc.) and the amount of these pollutants that they emit. For air toxics, the inventory is divided into three broad source categories: point sources, area sources, and mobile sources. Since 1998, the Department has been working with USEPA to provide as much state-specific data as possible to the National Emissions Inventory (NEI), with a focus on the point and area sources. The air toxics portion of NEI is compiled every third year (2005, 2008 and so on), and is the foundation of USEPA’s National-scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA). Information for the point and area source inventories is gathered from emission statements, stack test reports, permit records and dispersion modeling files, and also from other NJDEP programs, including the Release and Pollution Prevention Report (RPPR).
Beginning in 2004, revisions to NJDEP’s Emission Statements rule (NJAC 7:27-21) require subject facilities to report annual emissions of thirty-six toxic air pollutants. Although the emissions reported are totals for the facility, and not attributed to specific stacks or sources, they are being incorporated into New Jersey’s air toxics emissions inventory. The regulation can be found at Subchapter 21. Appendix 1, Table 1, lists the Toxic Air Pollutants. More information can be found by clicking here.
In response to an increased awareness of mercury in the environment, including high concentrations in some species of fish in New Jersey lakes, the high toxicity of methylmercury, and the fact that many people consume fish, a second New Jersey Mercury Task Force was formed in the early 1990's. The result was a NJDEP regulation requiring municipal waste combustors (MWCs) to decrease their mercury emissions by 80% by the year 2000. A second Mercury Task Force was formed in 1998 to develop a comprehensive mercury pollution reduction plan for the state. One of the outcomes was a revision to N.J.A.C.7:27-27, “Control and Prohibition of Mercury Emissions” ( Subchapter 27) setting even more stringent limits for MWCs. Also, first-time limits were set for hospital/medical/infectious waste incinerators, iron and steel melters, and coal-fired boilers. Other recommendations include removing mercury from various products and processes. An internal NJDEP Mercury Workgroup continues to work toward implementing these and other Task Force recommendations. For more information check out the 2001 New Jersey Mercury Task Force Report.
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