Ohio EPA’s Revisions to Emission Control Rule Could Present Permitting and Compliance Challenges

June 15, 2021

On May 17, 2021, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency released public notice regarding draft revisions to Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3745-21, “Carbon Monoxide, Photochemically Reactive Materials, Hydrocarbons, and Related Materials Standards.” The rules in this chapter establish requirements for the control of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO) from stationary sources. VOC emissions are a precursor compound to which ozone is formed. Also, both ozone and CO are criteria pollutants with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) established under the Federal Clean Air Act. The standards under OAC Rule 3745-21 work to reduce the emissions of both CO and VOCs in order to attain and maintain the NAAQS for ozone and CO.

Ohio EPA’s draft revisions to this rule serve two purposes:

  1. To satisfy Ohio EPA’s five-year rule review requirements, and
  2. To implement mandatory Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) requirements for the Cleveland and Cincinnati 2015 ozone nonattainment areas

The revisions completed under the five-year rule review cycle are minor, addressing clerical errors and providing language clarification. However, the draft revisions to address the Cleveland and Cincinnati ozone nonattainment areas are much more substantial because of the expectation that both areas will be reclassified from marginal to moderate nonattainment for the 2015 ozone standards. According to the current three-year ozone data, Cleveland and Cincinnati will not meet the 70 ppb ozone standard by the prescribed attainment date of August 3, 2021. In order to address this issue, Ohio EPA has implemented more stringent RACT requirements for these areas under this rule.

To ensure Cleveland and Cincinnati meet RACT requirements for ozone nonattainment areas, Ohio EPA has proposed revisions to the compliance schedule for printing operations and certain coating line operations. The revisions also include a new rule under OAC Rule 3745-21-11, which requires facilities in the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas with a potential to emit exceeding 100 tons per year of VOC that are not already controlled pursuant to OAC Rule 3745-21 to submit a RACT study within one year of the effective date of the rule. Under this rule, the RACT study would include a detailed engineering analysis to determine the economic and technical feasibility of reducing VOC emissions from affected sources.

In addition to the engineering study requirements, Ohio EPA has proposed various revisions to sections of OAC Rule 3745-21 to expand VOC and CO control requirements for the Cincinnati nonattainment area. The draft revisions include the following facilities/operations:

  • Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Aerospace Manufacturing and Rework Facilities (OAC Rule 3745-21-19)
  • Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Operations (Marine Coatings) (OAC Rule 3745-21-20)
  • Storage of Volatile Organic Liquids in Fixed Roof Tanks and External Floating Roof Tanks (OAC Rule 3745-21-21)
  • Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Offset Lithographic Printing and Letterpress Printing Facilities (OAC Rule 3745-21-22)
  • Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Industrial Solvent Cleaning Operations (OAC Rule 3745-21-23)
  • Flat Wood Paneling Coatings (OAC Rule 3745-21-24)
  • Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Reinforced Plastic Composites Production Operations (OAC Rule 3745-21-25)
  • Surface coating of miscellaneous metal and plastic parts (OAC Rule 3745-21-26)
  • Boat Manufacturing (OAC Rule 3745-21-27)
  • Miscellaneous Industrial Adhesives and Sealants (OAC Rule 3745-21-28)
  • Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Automobile and Light-duty Truck Assembly Coating Operations, Heavier Vehicle Assembly Coating Operations and Cleaning Operations Associated with These Coating Operations (OAC Rule 3745-21-29).

Ohio EPA has acknowledged that the proposed changes to OAC Rule 3745-21 requirements will present significant challenges for new and modified major sources in the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas. However, Ohio EPA has stressed the changes are necessary in order to meet the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards by the next attainment date of August 3, 2024 and to avoid redesignation to serious nonattainment.

Ohio EPA is currently accepting public comment on the draft revision on or before June 18, 2021. CEC will continue to monitor the Ohio EPA rule-making decisions as they move forward and provide updates as we learn more. CEC is committed to staying in front of regulatory changes as they are finalized and are ready to handle any permitting and compliance challenges as they arise to best serve our clients.


About the Author

Sarah Buzas

Sarah is an environmental scientist with extensive knowledge of the Ohio EPA and Federal EPA Air Permitting program. Her areas of expertise are in air compliance, modeling, and permitting, with additional experience in performing Phase I work and assisting in solid waste landfill reporting and compliance.

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