Strategies For Satisfying Industrial Opacity Regulations

aerial view of an industrial plant

In this post, Ivan Sretenovic, Director of Operations and Sales for ProcessBarron Canada, discusses the challenges in meeting opacity requirements and the routine maintenance checks that will help your plants meet emissions requirements.

Regulators in the US and Canada place strict limits on particulate emissions. These limits can become challenging as a facility’s equipment ages and production demand changes. In this post, I will share tips and strategies for optimizing your air and gas handling and dust collection systems to maintain compliance and maximize efficiency.

Learn more about opacity regulations and compliance in the US and Canada.

Challenges in Meeting Opacity Requirements

When your APC equipment is installed, it’s designed to meet emissions requirements set in your operating permit. These limits become challenging if increasing production demands push your system beyond its designed limits. Contact us for an analysis of what you can do to meet production demands without exceeding emissions limits. 

Underperforming equipment can also undermine your compliance efforts. The best way to keep your equipment running at peak efficiency is with regular inspections and an effective long-term maintenance plan for planned outages. 

We recommend having your team inspect the ESP exterior, walk down the rapper deck to verify firing, and sample the insulating oil in your transformer rectifier. And most importantly, document everything. Learn more about how your team can successfully implement a plan for routine ESP inspections in this post.

Optimize The Rapper Firing Sequence

The EPA monitors your rolling average opacity, but firing rappers can cause spikes that affect your ability to maintain compliance. Fortunately, you can optimize the rapper firing sequence and your cleaning cycle to improve opacity by as much as 20%. Many customers don’t know this is an option, and if they do, they don’t know how to achieve optimal performance. 

Contact us if you’d like to find out how ProcessBarron can help optimize your cleaning cycle and rapper firing sequence. 

Annual Maintenance for APC Equipment

Air pollution control equipment is often an afterthought in planned outages because maintenance doesn’t directly lead to ROI. If you wait until your APC equipment fails performance tests to maintain it, you risk substantial downtime, fines, and more. But your dust collectors will take care of you if you give it the attention it deserves. This is the best way to ensure you keep your opacity below your permitted limit without breaking the bank.

Some equipment, like precipitators, can only be inspected when it has been off for a day or two. For example, an ESP has a series of electrodes that must be aligned properly. You can only verify satisfactory alignment once the unit has cooled down. This is easy to plan for during a planned outage, but the only thing worse than waiting on your ESP to cool down so you can do unplanned emergency work is waiting a day or 2 for it to heat back up when you’re done. No facility wants the pressure and expense that comes with that kind of downtime. 

Annual maintenance is not cheap, but we have seen that maintenance pays for itself in efficiency gained and downtime avoided. Five years of proactive maintenance on your air pollution control equipment can be significantly less expensive than a single emergency project and an unplanned outage. 
Would you like to find out how you can maximize efficiency and stay under opacity limits? Find out how our field services team can help!