Litigation has been increasing around the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) and hazardous materials for industrial facilities.
Finding Solutions to Emissions Reporting Hassles
This blog post discusses the necessary elements for a hassle-free recordkeeping and reporting system.
If you are responsible for managing emissions reporting for your facility, you know how complex and time-consuming it can be. Using spreadsheets to track all the data required for Title V, NESHAP, CARB, RICE MACT, and other air permits can be overwhelming and lead to errors that could result in costly penalties.
To make your emissions management more accessible and efficient, you need a solution that incorporates your emissions inventory, usage, and runtime data, a good calculator, and built-in safeguards. Here are the necessary elements for a hassle-free emissions management system:
Hassle: Information needed for emissions reporting is spread across multiple sources.
Solution: Start with the Emissions Inventory
To get started on a solid foundation for reporting, you need to be confident that the emissions inventory is current and complete. You can ask yourself these questions.
- When was the last time it was updated?
- What information about your inventory and assets do you need at the ready come reporting time?
- Are there emissions factors specific to the equipment of the permit?
Begin by getting the inventory in a flexible database that is easy to update as conditions change is crucial to this step, as well as having a centrally accessible system so that others who may need to view the inventory can, without necessarily having access to edit the information. It is also nice to have separation between your asset library and where data is logged. You will want a system that includes reference information such as make and model number, purchase year, permit ID, asset ID, emissions factors, density, flashpoint, and other relevant information. At Mapistry, we have included a Resource Library in the Environmental Data Platform to house your emissions inventory for easy use in recordkeeping and reporting.
Hassle: It is hard to keep up with everything that needs to be recorded and tracked.
Solution: Align Data Collection to Your Processes
Once you have your inventory in place, your next job is to ensure that data capture happens efficiently and accurately. You need to establish a data collection process that works for your facility. This could include an automated system that transfers data regularly, a manual upload option, or input forms allowing easy data entry. Again, start by asking yourself these questions about your data collection processes.
- Where is the data originating from?
- Is it being put on paper or pulled out of a sensor?
- How will that data get into your reporting system?
- Who is responsible for entering data?
Three standard options for getting data into a database are direct integration, file transfer, and manual input.
- API. This is ideal if you already collect sensor data or have an existing database. This method automatically transfers data at regular intervals via the API, eliminating the need for manual data entry. This option is highly efficient and requires minimal human interaction.
- FileUpload. The second method is drag and drop, which allows you to upload data easily. This is an excellent option if you have data stored in spreadsheets but do not have access to an API.
- Digital input forms. This option provides a simple way to record data currently recorded by hand. This method is excellent for data from sources that are not automated, such as paper logs or other manual recording methods.
Here at Mapistry, we have found that what works best is the ability to mix and match based on where the data originate. You can choose the best way for your organization's needs by offering multiple data collection methods. Whether you're dealing with automated data sources or manual data entry, Mapistry's flexible approach to data collection can help streamline your emissions reporting process.
Hassle: A lot of number crunching needs to happen.
Solution: Use a calculation engine built for environmental data.
Calculations are critical to emissions management; they are part of your recordkeeping. After the end of each month, your raw data gets transformed into your reportable data and compared to your permit limits.
- What steps must you take to transform your raw data into reportable values?
- How complex are these calculations?
- Are rolling total or rolling averages required?
- Do you need totals by line, process, equipment, facility?
To minimize the potential risks associated with Air Emissions Reporting, choosing a system that provides transparent equations in a format that is easy to understand and comprehend for current and future users is essential. Additionally, a system capable of validating your equations, being unit-aware, and outputting data in reportable units can significantly reduce the possibility of errors. It is also nice to keep these equations hidden or separate from where data is entered to avoid accidental changes to the equations. Therefore, when selecting an emissions management system, it is crucial to consider the availability of these features to ensure that you can generate accurate and reliable reports. With all of this in mind, we built our equation editor and report views to give you confidence that what you submit on your emissions reports is accurate.
Hassle Surprises always seem to pop -up at the eleventh hour.
Solutions: Implement built-in safeguards
Surprise exceedances during the reporting deadline can be a stressful situation to handle. A minor error like a transposed number or a last-minute addition of data can be enough to push your emissions over the limit. Moreover, a change in material mid-year can also result in higher VOC factors, leading to exceedances.
To prevent these surprises, you must validate as data comes in and stop erroneous records at the source. This involves setting up a system that can alert you if required records are missing from your data, monitor the movement of your emissions levels in real time, and proactively notify you if you're trending above any limits. By having such a system in place, you can prevent exceedances before they occur, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties and reputational damage. Proactive notification and data validation are core to the Mapistry Environmental Data Platform.
You can have truly hassle-free emissions reporting.
We at Mapistry set out to build the most user-friendly and hassle-free systems for Emissions Record Keeping and Reporting.