Have you discovered something has gone wrong at your facility and you are out of compliance with your permit? Not sure what to do or what your options are? The easiest solution may be to shut down immediately, but with production schedules this may not be practical. The District Rules and Regulations have provisions that may provide for some temporary relief. District Rule 107, Breakdown or Upset Conditions and Emergency Variances, defines procedures that allow for temporary relief when a breakdown/upset has occurred.
What Qualifies as a "Breakdown/Upset?"
A breakdown/upset condition is defined as an unforeseeable failure or malfunction of any air pollution control equipment or related operating equipment which causes a violation of any emission limitation or permit condition, so long as the failure is not the result of neglect, is not intentional, is not the result of improper maintenance, is not a recurrent breakdown of the same equipment, and the failure does not create a public nuisance.
What Should You Do if You Have a "Breakdown/Upset?"
The first thing to do is to notify the District that a breakdown/upset has occurred no later than four (4) hours after discovery by submitting an Initial Breakdown/Upset Report. Within 10 days of initial notification after corrections are completed you are required to submit a Breakdown/Upset Follow-Up Report in writing.
What Relief Can You Get?
Breakdown/Upset Reports are required by your SLOAPCD permit conditions and SLOAPCD Rule 107 Breakdown or Upset Conditions and Emergency Variances. The District may elect to take no enforcement action, provided that the notification requirements were met and that appropriate corrective measures are undertaken to bring the operation back into compliance in a timely manner. Within 10 days after an breakdown/upset condition has been corrected, the operator is required to follow up with written notification (breakdown follow up report) detailing what the cause of the problem was, what action has been taken to correct the problem, verifying that the condition has been corrected, and providing estimates of the emissions released during the breakdown.
If the equipment can not be brought back into compliance within 48 hours (whichever is sooner), in lieu of shutdown the next option available to the facility would be to apply for an emergency variance which can grant relief for up to 30 days, or until an interim or regular variance hearing can be held. For more information on Variances click here.