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EPA Issues Major New Rules for Stationary Diesel Engines

On Feb. 17, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the first new emission guidelines for stationary diesel engines. The final rules, which were years in the making and closely watched by the industry, may affect as many as 900,000 small diesel engines used primarily in agricultural and industrial activities to generate electricity for compressors and pumps.

According to the EPA, the new rules are designed to cut toxic emissions and safeguard public health by cutting down on heart attacks, asthma and respiratory diseases caused by diesel engine emissions. Specifically, the rules seek to cut emissions of formaldehyde, benzene, acrolein and other air pollutants suspected to cause cancer and other health problems.

The rules will be fully implemented in 2013.

Among the new regulations – which vary based on the size and horse power of the engines — owners of some diesel engines will be required to limit their emissions by up to 70 percent by adding emissions control devices, using low sulfur diesel fuel, changing air and oil filters at regular intervals and conducting regular maintenance tests. They may also need to keep precise records on the hours of operation for their engines.

It is still unknown how much the changes will cost the industry or what penalties the EPA will impose for non-compliance. But it’s clear that diesel engine operators will need to get up to speed on these important new changes.

Likewise, the EPA will soon issue another set of rules covering stationary engines running on gas, natural gas and landfill gas. Also known as spark ignition engines, these engines will be subject to new rules starting in August 2010.

Categories: Air Quality