Monday, April 13, 2009

From dust to dust

The dust is about to hit the fan. According to NSSGA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is under court order to issue a revised opacity rule by April 16. The New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) Subpart OOO is the visible emission, or opacity, standard for non-metallic mineral processing plants, which includes aggregates.

The rule limits how much visible dust is allowed to be emitted to the air from crushers, screens and conveyor transfer points. In response to a lawsuit filed last year by the Sierra Club against EPA, NSSGA has negotiated a final rule that would lessen the administrative burden on the aggregates industry.

While the Sierra Club suit claimed that the existing opacity standards are too easily achievable by industry, NSSGA's NSPS task force, using member data from 23 states and more than 600 individual source tests, discounted the environmental group's claim and proved to EPA that the federal standards do more than an adequate job of protecting public health and welfare from fugitive dust emissions from aggregate processing plants.

NSSGA will issue a summary of the final rule soon after April 16 for all members. The association will also host several webinars demonstrating the changes to the rule and how it affects their individual operations. -- Mark S. Kuhar

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