Yesterday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune released a story about a major retailer paying a $27,500 fine for air pollution violations. The violations stemmed from two main issues: (1) that the generators had exceeded the allowable emission of nitrogen oxide, which has been shown to contribute to acid rain and smog and cause respiratory problems, and (2) their failure to provide annual emission reports for their diesel generators, proving compliance to air pollution and emissions standards.
Reading the article brings a couple of questions to my mind: Do your fossil fuel-burning generators meet pollution regulations? Do you have the documentation to prove it?
Diesel, bio-diesel, natural gas, gasoline, and liquefied petroleum (LPG) burning generators release exhaust gases that contribute to air pollution. There are several federal, state, and local regulations -- based on the Clean Air Act of 1970 -- that govern these emissions levels. Local air pollution control organizations (state department of environmental quality) and the EPA issue air quality permits that require an annual fee and are generally valid for five years. You may also be required to obtain permits regarding safety and noise pollution as well.
* The EPA website has more information about state and local partnerships and air quality agencies.If you're installing a generator to provide backup power, you'll need to get the air quality permit first.
- Determine whether your generator qualifies as a minor or major source of emission. Most emergency generators will qualify as minor emissions sources.
- All states have minimum emission levels. If your generator set does not emit gases above these minimum levels, you may be exempt from the permit process altogether.
- Once the state has decided what category your equipment falls under, the department will specify the amount of emission that's permitted for your installation. You will have to provide safeguards and checks to ensure that the emission requirements are maintained, and comply with any other technical requirements as set forth by the state.
The Testo 350 combustion efficiency analyzer runs the tests and produces the documentation you'll need to stay in compliance with state emissions guidelines.