Avoiding Failures and Performance Issues with Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Walls and Slopes

Posted on

Over the past 20 years, the use of mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls and slopes has become very common in a large number of construction applications in the U.S. and around the world.  The technology used to build these structures is really quite simple:  reinforcing, typically metal or synthetic grids or sheets, are layered in with compacted soils, adding shear strength and allowing the soils to stand at progressively steeper angles.  Wall faces are typically constructed using concrete panels, split-face masonry blocks, or even vegetation that primarily provides erosion control and aesthetics. The faces provide little if any structural support to the retained soils.

The relatively low cost of MSE structures have made them quite prevalent in transportation and site development projects, and have also led to their use for waste management and environmental remediation projects.  MSE walls can often be constructed for less than half the cost of comparable concrete or steel structures.  This cost advantage increases as the height of the structure increases. This reduced cost has enabled the development of increasingly marginal projects, and pushed the limits of the technology, literally, to new “heights”.  For example, several recent airport expansion projects in the U.S. have utilized MSE wall and slopes well in excess of 100 feet tall.

However, this lower cost and increased use of the technology has come at a price.  While there are no specific published numbers available, the failure rate of these structures has been estimated by some to be as high as 5% to 7%, with 2% likely being a low-end estimate.  “Failure” in this case encompasses not only large-scale collapse or movement, but also settlement and performance issues.  In any case, the number of MSE walls and slopes exhibiting problems is alarmingly high for an engineered structure, and the cost to repair these problems can be many times the original construction cost.

So why do these failures occur?  Over the past 10 years, CEC has been involved with the specification, design, construction monitoring, and failure investigation of a number of MSE walls and slopes.  Published evaluations on MSE wall failures are also quite numerous.  Many studies have shown that, particularly in the private site development sector, engineering site layout, surface and subsurface drainage features, geotechnical engineering evaluations, and construction monitoring are often inadequate.  CEC’s experience investigating failures has identified a number of construction errors that have led to performance issues.  One re-occurring construction factor leading to failure is inadequate backfill compaction when clayey soils are used in the wall construction.

The published studies and our experience also indicate that the contracting methods used for both design and construction of MSE walls and slopes may be contributing to the high failure rate.  Most MSE walls are designed and constructed using a design-build contract where the contractor provides the detailed wall design and constructs the wall.  This process results in highly competitive “cut-throat” bidding among vendors, encourages overly optimistic design assumptions, and often hampers communication and review by the design team.  This process often places numerous risks unknowingly back on the owner.

How can you protect yourself and reduce the risk of failure for MSE walls and slopes on your project?  First, hire civil and geotechnical engineers with experience in the investigation, design, and specification of these structures and ensure that their services are carried through into construction.  If a design-build process is used, a detailed wall layout and performance specification must be prepared listing all wall design, testing, and construction requirements.  Full-time, on-site construction monitoring should be provided by either the wall designer or geotechnical engineer to ensure that the proper testing and site inspections are done. The contractor should not provide the construction monitoring services.   Finally, hire a contractor with experience and certification in MSE construction.

If you have any questions about the use, specification, design, or construction of MSE wall and slopes and how they may impact an upcoming project, contact Douglas Clark, P.E. (dclark@cecinc.com) or Jeffrey Woodcock, P.E. (jwoodcock@cecinc.com) at 800-365-2324.

November 2010 Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan Deadline

Posted on Updated on

You may be a bit confused about another deadline for Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans considering the long history of this evolving regulation.  EPA’s complete regulatory history can be found in their SPCC history, but here’s a chronology of the highlights:

  • 1973:  Original SPCC Rule published in Federal Register (12/11)
  • 1991, 1993, & 1997:   Proposed revisions
  • 2002:  Final “revised” SPCC Rule published (7/17)
  • 2003 – 2006:  Several compliance date extensions
  • 2006:  SPCC Rule Amendments (12/26)
  • 2007 – 2009:   Additional compliance date extensions
  • 2009:  Compliance Date Extended to November 10, 2010 (6/19)
  • 2009:  Final Rule on Amendments (11/5)

 Three key take-aways from this history should be that 1) these regulations have been evolving for over 35 years now, 2) a final rule has been in place since 2002, and 3) the current compliance deadline is November 10, 2010.

Owner/operators should be aware that none of the regulatory actions that have occurred since 2002 have removed the obligation of affected facilities to comply with the Rule.  EPA explains that compliance dates have been extended to allow owner/operators time to understand all the revisions and make changes as applicable to their facilities and plans.  However, EPA states that “facilities must amend or prepare, and implement SPCC Plans by the compliance date in accordance with revisions to the SPCC rule promulgated since 2002.”

Final Amendments

On November 5, 2009, the EPA Administrator signed the current “final” amendments to the SPCC Rule.  The amendments are designed to increase clarity and streamline the requirements for SPCC Plans.  The criteria for facilities to have and implement an SPCC Plan have not been changed.  Non-transportation facilities with sufficient storage capacity that could discharge oil into navigable waters and/or shorelines are still subject to the Rule. 

Tier I and II Facilities

The major recent change to the Rule is creation of Tier I and Tier II facilities.  Tier I facilities are generally smaller sites with the following characteristics:

  • Oil storage of  less than 10,000 gallons aboveground;
  • No single tank larger than 5,000 gallons; and
  • No single oil discharge of more than 1,000 gallons in 3-year period, or no more than two discharges in excess of more than 42 gallons in any 12-month period.

 SPCC Plans for Tier I facilities can be greatly simplified by using EPA’s template Tier I SPCC Plan.  Tier I plans are not required to address many basic elements such as a facility diagram or facility description, compliance with facility drainage requirements or brittle fracture evaluations, and compliance with loading/unloading rack provisions.  These plans may either be self-certified or certified by a Professional Engineer.  The amendment does not supersede any state requirements for a Professional Engineer to certify the SPCC Plan. 

Tier II facilities have the same characteristics as Tier I, except that the facility has at least one aboveground oil storage tank in excess of 5,000 gallons.  Tier II facilities can be either self-certified or PE-certified, but they cannot use the template SPCC Plan. 

November 10, 2010 Deadline

The significance of the November 10, 2010 compliance deadline depends on when the facility started operation, as follows:

Date Facility Commenced Operation November 10, 2010 Compliance Obligation
On or before August 16, 2002 Maintain the existing SPCC Plan and make amendments and implement changes as needed to comply with post-2002 revisions.
From August 16, 2002  through November 10, 2010 Prepare and implement an SPCC Plan consistent with current rules.
After November 10, 2010 Prepare and implement an SPCC Plan consistent with current rules before beginning operation.

 At this time, EPA’s recommends that facilities subject to the SPCC rule:

  • Review the SPCC Rule, amendments, and compliance deadlines;
  • Identify areas of your SPCC Plan that require amendment (if applicable);
  • Make necessary facility modifications, if any; and
  • Ensure that your SPCC Plan is up-to-date by November 10, 2010.

 If you have any questions about SPCC applicability or recent amendments, please contact Kris Macoskey, QEP, at kmacoskey@cecinc.com or Paul Tomiczek, P.E., at ptomiczek@cecinc.com (800-365-2324). More information on EPA’s SPCC Rule can be found at EPA’s SPCC website: EPA’s SPCC Rule page.

Impending EPA Post-Construction Stormwater Regulations Highlight Importance of Stormwater and Infrastructure Maintenance

Posted on Updated on

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it will propose and take final action by November 2012 on a first-time national rule that would control stormwater discharges from newly developed, previously developed and redeveloped sites.  EPA plans to propose a regulation to strengthen the national stormwater permit program, including, at a minimum, new design or performance standards to control post-construction stormwater discharges from developed sites under the authority of section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act.  According to EPA, the Agency is gearing up to revise the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations to respond to a 2008 National Research Council (NRC) report that calls for “radical changes” to EPA’s stormwater control program.  The report, Urban Stormwater Management in the United States, concludes that the lack of requirement for post-construction stormwater controls in the construction industry’s general permit is a “glaring shortcoming.” 

In order to prepare for these pending stormwater regulations, property owners may need to evaluate whether maintenance and rehabilitation of the infrastructure of their facilities is needed to achieve the requirements of the regulations.  The monitoring and maintenance of property infrastructure is critical to ensure it functions as designed and meets or exceeds its design life. The specific aspects of site infrastructure that can impact stormwater discharge quality and can be addressed during a property infrastructure assessment include:

 Stormwater Facilities:  Inspection and maintenance of stormwater facilities ensures that stormwater infrastructure is functioning in accordance with the design and regulatory permitting requirements.  Maintaining properly functioning stormwater management facilities results in improved water quality, reduced stormwater runoff, and reduced nonpoint source pollution to surface waters (rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, etc.) within the community.  Improperly maintained facilities not only decrease efficiency and pollutant removal rates, but can also create environmental hazards such as flooding and contamination to surface waters.  Further, the deterioration of stormwater facilities can result in the distress of other site infrastructure features (e.g., sinkhole formation beneath pavement).

 Pavement:  Either the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) or ASTM Pavement Condition Index (PCI) systems can be used to assess pavement conditions.  Both provide an easy to understand comparative evaluation that will allow you to make cost-effective decisions relative to the maintenance and rehabilitation of the existing pavement.  Additionally, a subsurface exploration can assess the as-built conditions and thickness of the existing pavement components and the pavement subgrade materials.  Once the analysis is complete, a site pavement rehabilitation plan can then be prepared inclusive of details and bid documents for use during maintenance and rehabilitation.  A wide variety of rehabilitation/maintenance techniques can be incorporated to maximize the cost-efficiency of the rehabilitation, including overlays, sealants, joint repairs and subgrade improvements. 

 Overall Site Conditions:  Site modifications, changes to surface drainage patterns, offsite development and/or other factors may impact the quality of stormwater discharges from the property.  A site condition review will evaluate slopes and embankments, sidewalks and crosswalks, pavement markings and traffic signage, surface drainage controls, slope benches and drainage outlets. 

 Ponds and Natural Enhancement Areas:  Not to be overlooked is the natural environment of existing pond and landscape areas.  Consider beautifying existing pond areas by removing cattails and invasive species and replacing them with native species and attractive wildflowers that will improve the biodiversity of an existing development.  These improvements will enhance water quality and reduce the amount of erosion generated over time.  This sustainable approach to stormwater management can turn a functional asset into an amenity.

 While assessing the site infrastructure that can directly impact stormwater discharge quality, other site features can be assessed including:

 Parking Lots:Reviewing existing parking lot layouts allows the evaluation of the efficiency of site parking areas, internal access roads and external driveways.  Pedestrian and vehicular safety can be assessed as well.  Pavement rehabilitation/maintenance provides an opportunity for property owners to upgrade the site parking lot and roadway layouts in an economical manner to address changes in site use to meet local zoning requirements, state Department of Transportation requirements, and/or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) criteria. 

 Site Utilities:  Underground utility infrastructure can be located using a variety of geophysical technologies.  The location of utility infrastructure is an important element of property maintenance; particularly in the absence of “as built” information, or if site expansions and/or modifications are proposed. 

 It’s important that property owners take time to fully inspect infrastructure for signs of damage due to aging, natural elements or harsh weather.  Further, an annual infrastructure evaluation allows you to maximize efficiency of your resources.  The monitoring and maintenance of property infrastructure is critical to ensure it functions as designed and meets or exceeds the design life.

To learn more about how your infrastructure can impact stormwater discharges from your site, or assist with infrastructure maintenance and rehabilitation needs, contact Mike Sheleheda, P.E.  at (800) 899-3610 or MSheleheda@cecinc.com,  or Rick Celender, C.E.T., CPESC, CPSWQ  at (800) 365-2324 or RCelender@cecinc.com).

EPCRA Toxic Release Inventory Reports Due July 1, 2010

Posted on

Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Reports mandated by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) are due July 1, 2010 for the 2009 reporting year. Although a requirement for many industries for more than two decades, TRI Reports are sometimes overlooked because they do not directly impact operations or production.  As a matter of background on TRI reporting, the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 created EPCRA, the statute that was designed to improve community access to information about chemical hazards and to facilitate the development of chemical emergency response plans.

 Section 313 of EPCRA requires that reports be filed by owners and operators of facilities that meet all of the following criteria. 

  • The facility has 10 or more full-time employee equivalents; and 
  • The facility is included in a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code listed in Table I; and  
  • The facility manufactures, processes, or otherwise uses any EPCRA Section 313 chemical in quantities greater than the established threshold in the course of a calendar year.   

The number of full-time employees is dependent only upon the total number of hours worked by all employees and other individuals (e.g., contractors) for the facility during the calendar year and not the number of persons working. If the total number of hours worked by all employees for your facility is 20,000 hours or more, your facility meets the ten employee threshold. 

Beginning with 2006 EPCRA Section 313 reporting, the TRI Program began requiring North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes instead of Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. The list of NAICS codes for facilities that must report to TRI if all other threshold determinations are met is provided in Table I of the Toxic Release Inventory instructions.

 The term manufacture” means to produce, prepare, compound, or import an EPCRA Section 313 chemical. You should also consider the possible coincidental production of an EPCRA Section 313 chemical as a result of the manufacture, processing, otherwise use or disposal of another chemical or mixture of chemicals.

 The term “process” means the preparation of a listed EPCRA Section 313 chemical, after its manufacture, for distribution in commerce. Processing is usually the incorporation of an EPCRA Section 313 chemical into a product. A facility may process an impurity that already exists in a raw material by distributing that impurity in commerce.  Processing includes preparation of the EPCRA Section 313 chemicals in the same physical state or chemical form as that received by your facility, or preparation that produces a change in physical state or chemical form.

 The term “otherwise use” means the use of an EPCRA Section 313 chemical, including an EPCRA Section 313 chemical contained in a mixture or other trade name product or waste that is not covered by the terms manufacture or process.  Otherwise use of an EPCRA Section 313 chemical does not include disposal, stabilization, or treatment for destruction unless certain conditions are met.  Relabeling or redistributing of the EPCRA Section 313 chemical where no repackaging of the EPCRA Section 313 chemical occurs does not constitute an otherwise use or processing of the EPCRA Section 313 chemical.  Some “otherwise uses” of listed EPCRA Section 313 chemicals are also exempted by the regulations.

 EPCRA Section 313 chemicals contained in “articles” that are processed or otherwise used at a covered facility are exempt from threshold determinations and release and other waste management calculations. The exemption applies when the facility receives the article from another facility or when the facility produces the article itself. The exemption applies only to the quantity of EPCRA Section 313 chemical present in the article. If the EPCRA Section 313 chemical is manufactured (including imported), processed, or otherwise used at the covered facility other than as part of the article, in excess of an applicable threshold quantity, the facility is required to report that use of a chemical (40 CFR Section 372.38(b)).

 If the processing or otherwise use of all like items results in a total release of 0.5 pound or less of an EPCRA Section 313 chemical in a reporting year to any environmental medium, EPA will allow this release to be rounded to zero, and the manufactured items retain their article status. The 0.5 pound threshold does not apply to each individual article, but applies to the sum of all releases from processing or otherwise use of all like articles.

 EPCRA Section 313 reporting is required if threshold quantities are exceeded. If you meet the other criteria noted above, you must submit a report for any EPCRA Section 313 chemical that it: 

  • Is not listed as a PBT chemical and which is manufactured or processed at your facility in excess of 25,000 pounds per toxic chemical or category over the calendar year. 
  • Is not listed as a PBT chemical and that is otherwise used at your facility in excess of 10,000 pounds per toxic chemical or category over the calendar year. 
  • Is listed as a PBT chemical and which is manufactured, processed or otherwise used at your facility above the designated threshold for that chemical.  The PBT chemical names, CAS numbers and reporting thresholds are listed in the TRI reporting instructions.   

Starting this reporting year, facilities can only use TRI-MEweb or paper for submitting Form R(s) and/or Form A(s).  The report for the 2009 calendar reporting year will be due on or before July 1, 2010 whether using Form R or Form A. If you have any questions about EPCRA Section 313 reporting requirements and whether your facility may be subject to these regulations, please contact Paul Tomiczek III, REM, P.E. at ptomiczek3@cecinc.com or 800-365-2324. More information on EPCRA Section 313 Reporting obligations and instructions for completing the report are provided on EPA’s TRI Program website.

Commercial Banks Likely Source of Distressed Assets

Posted on Updated on

A forecast during a recent International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) webinar suggested that the next large source of “distressed real estate assets” will be from commercial banks. “Distressed real estate assets” is a phrase used in the financial markets to describe a real estate asset that is put up for sale, usually at a discounted price, because its owner is forced to sell.  An owner may be forced to sell an asset for various reasons including business bankruptcy, excessive debt, inability to refinance and/or regulatory constraints.  During the recent webinar, an ISCS presenter indicated that

Commercial banks hold about 50% of the maturing commercial real estate loans and are just starting to face reality by recognizing losses.  Another 150 to 200 banks are expected to fail in 2010.

As a result of these bank failures, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will become one of the largest purchasers (and consequently sellers) of distressed assets.

According to real estate experts, more trouble is looming in these traditional commercial markets.  Another panelist at the same ICSC webinar said that

Over $1 trillion worth of commercial mortgages will be coming due with an estimated $170.1 billion in 8,084 commercial properties in distress (delinquencies, defaults, etc).

Predictably, a large percentage of these distressed loans will result in the real estate being sold at a reduced rate, sold at auction, or foreclosed upon by the lenders.

While distressed assets can be acquired for a discounted price, purchasers may also unknowingly acquire liabilities if proper due diligence is not conducted at the outset of the transaction.  Compounding this issue is the fact that distressed asset deals are often brokered by lenders or third parties, such as auction houses or court appointed receivers who may not be in possession of, or may not disclose, information on liabilities associated with the real estate asset. The purpose of this blog is to discuss circumstances under which a distressed asset can quickly become a liability in the absence of thorough due diligence programs.

Closed retail centers are often environmentally impaired as the result of past operations by dry cleaners, printers, photochemical processors, and other lessees.  Great corner properties that have a perfect “location, location, location” were often former gasoline stations with no information on the closure of their fuel tanks and distribution system.  The underground storage tanks may have never been removed, or worse, leaked product and impacted soil and groundwater at the property.  Those liabilities could result in a significantly lower than anticipated rate of return due to environmental cleanup and further legal liabilities. Additionally, potential sources of environmental impairment are often not identified in the chain of title or noted in legal documents.  Without completing appropriate due diligence consistent with ASTM E 1527-05, those potential liabilities may not be identified and a purchaser of a distressed asset may not qualify for Landowner Liability Protections (LLPs) provided under federal law.

In addition to conditions that result in environmental impairment, buildings that are part of a distressed portfolio often are subject to disrepair and inconsistent or improper maintenance.  As a result, those properties may have substandard utilities or roofing, or have structural problems that may require repair prior to leasing. The condition of building systems should also be evaluated prior to acquisition.

The FDIC has implemented a due diligence process to attempt to avoid those types of liabilities. CEC supported the FDIC when it was named Receiver for the closing of a Pittsburgh bank that occurred in August 2009.  The bank was closed by the Office of Thrift Supervision.  As part of the closing process, the FDIC contracted with CEC to use a process of environmental due diligence to gain initial information about a mix of residential and commercial properties of interest (to be foreclosed upon properties).  Environmental due diligence checklists (field screening) completed by CEC identified more than 15% of the properties with environmental “red flags” that suggested more traditional environmental due diligence was necessary.  Red flagged properties included commercial properties with a history of dry cleaning use or issues related to leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs).  These  properties could have substantial environmental issues that will affect the FDIC’s decision on whether to foreclose or pursue other risk mitigation actions.

For more information on how public and private real estate companies, owners/developers, REITs, financial institutions, private equity funds, insurance companies, or governments can appropriately manage the risks in dealing with distressed assets, contact one of our due diligence professionals, Mary Guinee (mguinee@cecinc.com) at (800) 365-2324, or Ryan Dunning (rdunning@cecinc.com) at (800) 380-2324.

Special Inspections Required for New Buildings by The International Building Code

Posted on Updated on

It has been our experience that a large number of developers, building owners and architects are unaware of the requirements that are imposed by the International Building Code (IBC) that has been adopted by all 50 states.  CEC has had to inform many of our clients about the requirements for Special Inspections. Chapter 17 stipulates that Special Inspections (inspections by a qualified third party) are not discretionary and are required in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy for additions and new commercial construction. There is a separate IBC Code for one- and two-family dwellings.  Failure to obtain Special Inspections could put obtaining an occupancy permit at risk.  The IBC states that it is unlawful to occupy any building in violation of any provision of the code.

 The IBC specifies that procurement of these Special Inspections is the responsibility of the owner or the design professional in responsible charge of the project acting as the owner’s representative. The Special Inspections are not to be provided by the contractor performing the construction because it puts an inspector hired by the contractor in a conflict of interest. Special Inspections may include inspections/testing of soils and earthwork, foundations, reinforced concrete, reinforced masonry, structural steel, welds, high strength bolts, etc. Special Inspections are more detailed and comprehensive than traditional construction monitoring/testing and are required to be performed by trained and certified inspectors.  The International Code Council (author of the IBC) tests and certifies Special Inspectors.  Special Inspectors are certified for specific types of construction activities only after completing courses of study and testing. 

 Owners and cost estimators should note that properly conducted Special Inspections for a project cost more than traditional inspections. This is because the Special Inspector must be onsite longer to complete the code-required inspections and testing. Based on experience with Special Inspection costs in the Carolinas where Special Inspections have been required for over 10 years, costs can vary from between 1 to 2 percent of the construction cost, depending on the size of the project, the complexity of the structure, and the required Special Inspections.  Although more costly to perform, a well-executed Special Inspections program can provide increased value by reducing the risk for potential litigation due to poor structure performance or failures, increasing the quality of construction, and improving records of the construction processes.  These benefits can easily offset the cost increase over traditional inspections. 

 If you have any questions about the IBC Special Inspections, how they may impact an upcoming project, and how you can meet the IBC requirements, contact Jeffrey Woodcock, P.E. (jwoodcock@cecinc.com) or Micah Sayles (msayles@cecinc.com) at 800-365-2324.

Clean Air Act Information Collection Request for Coal and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units

Posted on Updated on

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated work to develop emissions standards for power plants under Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 112.  Pursuant to EPA’s authority under Section 114 of the CAA, EPA’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved and issued an Information Collection Request (ICR) on December 24, 2009 requiring all US power plants with coal-or oil-fired electric generating units to submit emissions information for use in developing the proposed emissions rule for air toxics. The ICR requests owners/operators of all coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units provide information that will allow EPA to assess the emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from each such unit. This information will be used by the Administrator of EPA in developing National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) under CAA Section 112.

The facilities that received the ICR were selected based on the definition of an electric steam generating unit under the CAA Section 112(a)(8) which “defines an electric utility steam generating unit as any fossil fuel-fired combustion unit of more than 25 megawatts that serves a generator that produces electricity for sale.  A unit that cogenerates steam and electricity and supplies more than one-third of its potential electric output capacity and more than 25 MWe output to any utility power distribution system for sale is also considered a utility unit.”

The ICR is composed of two major components. The first component is a survey issued to all coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating facilities listed in the 2007 version of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Forms 860 and 923, “Annual Electric Generator Report,” and “Power Plant Operations Report,” respectively. The survey requires the facility to self report specific information such as:

  •  identification and confirmation of existing generating unit,
  • the unit design, operations,
  • fuel analysis; and,
  • emissions data.

This ICR survey solicits data for the most recent 12 months of fuel analysis and emissions test data for all tests conducted since January 01, 2004.  The first component of the ICR is due to EPA within 90 days of receipt of the ICR.

EPA selected a limited number of facilities to complete the second component of the ICR. The second component was designed to collect sufficient information for EPA to evaluate whether specific HAPs can be addressed in future regulations through the use of surrogates and to validate the performance of specific type facilities.  This component will require a limited number of facilities to conduct emissions testing for specific HAPs in accordance with EPA approved sampling and analytical protocols. Coal-fired and oil-fired units that are required to conduct stack testing must conduct emissions testing for one to four different categories of HAPs.  These categories of HAPs are mercury and non-mercury metallic HAP (e.g., As, Pb, Se), acid gas HAP (e.g., HCl, HF, HCN), non-dioxin/furan organic HAP (e.g. volatiles, semi-volatiles, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde) and dioxin/furan organic HAP (e.g. dioxin/furans and PCB’s). The testing requires the performance of three emission test runs at the appropriate sampling location utilizing approved sampling protocols with specified sampling volumes and specific analytical techniques for each parameter. In conjunction with the emissions testing, each facility responding to the second component of the ICR is required to collect and analyze three fuel samples from the fuel fed to the boiler during each stack test.

The results of the emissions tests and the fuel analyses are required to be submitted to the EPA electronically along with PDF copies of all supporting documentation through EPA’s Electronic Reporting Tool (ERT) system.  The selected facilities are required to conduct emissions testing and submit the emission results and fuel analysis data within eight months of receipt of the ICR. The EPA has established an ICR website, http://utilitymacticr.rti.org, where responses to questions, updates to specific information and copies of the ICR can be found.

It should be noted, that units have been identified to the best of the Agency’s ability for the purpose of this ICR action only.  The receipt of the ICR for information or testing does not constitute a final Agency applicability determination for a facility related to the rule under development.  Similarly, units not receiving an ICR may ultimately be determined to be subject to the final rule.  Specific applicability definitions will be developed during the rulemaking process and will be subject to notice and comment.  EPA has negotiated a draft Consent Decree that calls for the proposed rule no later than March 16, 2011 and a final rule no later than November 16, 2011.

If your facility has been affected by the ICR, or if you have any questions regarding the sampling, analysis or reporting under the second major component of the ICR, please contact Frank Stevens at 866-250-3679 or through email at fstevens@cecinc.com