Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
September 2004
Wisconsin Air Toxics Rule

On July 1, 2004 revisions to Wisconsin's Air Toxics Rule, also known as Wisconsin's Hazardous Air Pollutant Rule, became effective. The rule is found in ch. NR 445, Wisconsin Administrative Code.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) revised NR 445 to accomplish two objectives:

  • Update the list of regulated substances and emission standards to reflect advances in scientific and medical knowledge.
  • Simplify the regulatory process by reducing administrative work related to the rule and making the rule more flexible.

The following summarizes key changes made to NR 445:

Updating the list of regulated substances
Since the 1980's, toxicologists have found more chemicals that are harmful to human health. The revisions reflect these findings by:

  • Adding 103 substances
  • Removing 5 substances
  • Setting more stringent emission standards for 130 currently regulated substances
  • Setting less stringent emission standards for 86 currently regulated substances.

The revised NR 445 now lists a total of 535 substances.

Consolidating the tables
The pollutants are listed in three tables, each of which includes important regulatory information needed about each substance.

  • Table A applies to all sources of emissions.
  • Table B applies only to facilities that manufacture or treat pesticides or similar substances.
  • Table C applies only to facilities that manufacture or treat pharmaceuticals.

This includes an alphabetical listing of the pollutants, with their Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers, their emission thresholds and standards, and compliance schedules. Common synonyms have been added to the tables to make it easier to find the substance.

Incidental Emitters
Facilities that are likely to emit minimal air toxics, if any, will fall into a new source category called "incidental emitters." This category includes most non-manufacturers and those manufacturers that emit less than three tons per year of volatile organic compounds and less than five tons per year of particulate matter. These facilities may limit their search and inquiry to certain processes of concern and a shorter list of chemicals of concern (Table E). Incidental Emitters must meet all regulatory requirements, but only for those chemicals and processes identified during their limited search and inquiry.

Search and Inquiry Process
Due Diligence
The rule defines due diligence as a reasonable investigation of likely sources of air emissions. These include investigating the following:

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) or other sources of information.
  • Substances that are reasonably expected to be created through a combustion or manufacturing process.
  • Substances contained in or created through the treatment or disposal of raw materials or waste.

Safe Harbor
Facilities that exercise due diligence and meet the applicable compliance requirements for the identified emissions will not be penalized if it is subsequently discovered that they emit a regulated substance over threshold levels. While facilities will be required to promptly inform the DNR of their discovery and to come into compliance in a timely manner, they will not face retroactive penalties.

Permit Requirements
Self Certification
Facilities may certify that they are in compliance with NR 445 requirements rather than revise operation permits or obtain a construction permit, except for situations where a source needs to comply with control requirements for carcinogens. In those situations, facilities will need to work closely with the DNR air permit staff to ensure they are meeting all requirements. Most new compliance requirements will be written into the operation permit during the normal permit renewal or issuance cycle.

If you think that your facility is affected by this rule, you can find out more detailed
information by attending training workshops. The Small Business Clean Air Assistance Program (SBCAAP) along with the DNR, the University of Wisconsin-Extension's Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center (SHWEC), and the Federation of Environmental Technologists, Inc. (FET) are hosting six workshops throughout the state.

2004 NR 445 Training Dates
October 12 - Eau Claire
October 13 - Wausau
October 14 - Brookfield
October 19 - Neenah
October 20 - Madison
October 21 - Racine

To register visit www.fetinc.org or contact FET at 262-644-0070. Rule information is available at http://dnr.wi.gov/org/aw/air/HEALTH/airtoxics.

--Thomas J. Coogan

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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