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Ohio EPA Introduces General Permits for Compressor Stations
Continuing to advance a strong record of achievement in protecting the environment and streamlining the state’s permitting process, Ohio EPA is now accepting general permit applications for oil and natural gas mid-stream compressor stations.
Previously, air emissions from these common pieces of equipment were subject to the longer case-by-case permit process. By contrast, applications for general permits follow a template. These general permits allow the Agency to ensure it protects the environment while freeing up valuable staff resources to work on other complex permit issues.
General permit applicants are required to demonstrate that the equipment qualifies for a general permit, and agree to meet pre-defined permit terms including installation and/or operating requirements, monitoring, record-keeping and reporting. All of these general permits require the installation of state-of-the-art equipment or methods to control air emissions that meet or exceed federal standards. Among the common pieces of equipment that now qualify for general permits:
- natural gas-fired spark ignition compressor engines (five lean burn size choices, five rich burn choices);
- diesel engines (two size choices);
- dehydrators (two size choices);
- flares (one open flare, two enclosed);
- equipment (pipes, valves, flanges, pumps, etc.) that has the potential to leak;
- liquid storage tanks;
- truck loading operations; and
- pigging operations.
In recent years, Ohio has seen a large increase in the number of compressor stations due to the expansion of the oil & gas industry in eastern Ohio. General permits are an effective means to track and regulate air emissions and can be more efficient and timely for processing. Prior to establishing these general permits as an option, in 2016 Ohio EPA conducted an extensive draft and review process, accepting comments from interested parties and the public at large.
The new general permits and comments received from the public may reviewed online at: http://epa.ohio.gov/dapc/genpermit/ngcs.aspx.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.