EPA Air Enforcement and Natural Gas Leaks
May 1, 2015

EPA Air Enforcement 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the overall national environmental agency overseeing state air quality regulatory programs. In each state, the EPA can and does conduct inspections and undertakes enforcement actions for federal applicable air quality regulatory requirements. This is an ongoing duty of the EPA. With the growing complexity of air quality regulations, the EPA is using new technologies currently available to find and rectify compliance issues.  A major target is natural gas leaks. 

Aerial unmanned vehicles (drones) are being developed to use methane sensors to detect leaks.

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Often inspectors use an optical gas imaging infrared camera (IR camera) to detect and record video of leaks from storage tanks required to be routed to a control device.  The IR camera video can be used to record leaks from multiple facilities using public access roads and from aerial surveys. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) equipped with methane or other gas sensors are being developed now for use by industry, regulators and environmental advocacy groups. A concern is methane leaks are causing elevated methane concentrations in the atmosphere.

With pipeline companies evaluating aerial-based oil and gas pipeline safety technologies for leak detection, expect a rapid adoption of proven technologies by industry, regulatory agencies and environmental advocacy groups. See http://tinyurl.com/psmbcby

One national air quality regulation receiving more EPA enforcement inspections and actions is NSPS OOOO and similar state programs that are federal applicable requirements under the Clean Air Act (CDPHE Reg. 7).

To view some of the EPA’s published enforcement actions check link at: EPA Enforcement Actions.

Some common compliance issues for NSPS OOOO storage tanks and state air quality rules include:

  1. Emission controls not installed or not operating properly
  2. Inadequate system design such that a 95% reduction in VOC emissions is not attained
  3. Inadequate piping (closed vent system) between storage tanks and control device – resulting in back pressure and leaking storage tanks
  4. Leaking hatches due to faulty/damaged seals
  5. Leaking pressure relief devices (other than emergency releases)
  6. Undersized or oversized vapor recovery units (VRU)
  7. Undersized or oversized vapor combustion units or flares
  8. Systems not sized for actual short-term minimum and/or maximum flowrates of vent gas

Let HY-BON assist your company stay in compliance with EPA and state vent gas regulations. Our company’s 60 plus years of experience can help with your vent gas management (VGM) needs. This includes the following:

  • Vent gas measurement and leak detection using our IQR services
  • Vapor recovery systems (VRU)
  • Vapor recovery tower (VRT)
  • Vapor combustion devices (VCU)
  • Field Service (VRU/VCU maintenance, tank seal inspection/replacement, leak detection)

Contact us today at (432) 697-2292.