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Ohio EPA Issues Final Air General Permit for Production Operations at Shale Gas Well Sites

Ohio EPA has issued a final air general permit to cover production operations at shale gas well sites. The general permit will ensure the air around production sites is safe while providing business with the most efficient option to get operations up and running. Applicants who meet the qualifying criteria, terms and conditions of the general permit can expect to receive Ohio EPA’s approval within weeks of applying.

The general permit covers a variety of emissions sources found at most shale gas well sites, including internal combustion engines, generators, dehydration systems, storage tanks and flares. It contains emissions limits, operating restrictions, and monitoring, testing and reporting requirements.

On Oct. 20, 2011, Ohio EPA issued a draft air general permit and accepted public comments through Nov. 28. Numerous suggestions were received, considered and incorporated into the permit before it was issued. As a result, the final general permit:

  • restricts normal flare operation, increases total flare capacity and allows for emergency flaring to safely burn gas;
  • requires installation of newer spark ignition internal combustion engines if total horsepower is to exceed 1300;
  • removes a limit on the number of storage tanks and replaces it with a limit on the total volume of material stored in tanks;
  • increases allowable dehydrators from one to two; removes unpaved roadways as an emissions unit (it is covered under another existing general permit); and
  • removes the natural gas micro turbine emissions unit (it was determined to be exempt).

The general permit, qualifying criteria, response to public comments and related information are available online.

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