Fluoride Action Network

EPA amends phosphoric acid and fertilizer rules

Source: Chemical Engineering Progress | August 1st, 2002 | by William A. Shirley, P.E., J.D.
Industry type: Phosphate Industry

The EPA has amended its toxic-airpollutant regulations for phosphoric acid manufacturing plants and phosphate fertilizer production plants. The amendments resolve issues and questions raised by industry after the original regulations were issued in June 1999.

Most of the phosphoric acid produced by phosphoric acid manufacturing plants is used in the production of phosphate-based fertilizers. Various air toxics, including primarily hydrogen fluoride and several metals, are emitted during the manufacture of those fertilizers.

EPA expects the rules to reduce air-toxics emissions, primarily hydrogen fluoride, by approximately 345 t/yr – a 57% reduction from current emissions levels. They are also expected to reduce emissions of total fluorides, which are known to have adverse effects on the environment, including damage to vegetation. In addition, they are expected to result in small reductions in emissions of heavy metals, including chromium and lead, and will reduce emissions of the volatile organic compound (VOC) methyl isobutyl ketone.

The amendments revise the emissions limit for phosphate rock calciners, which are used to remove moisture and organic matter from phosphate rock, based on new emissions and operating data. They also correct provisions that require the monitoring of operating parameters of emission-control devices and production processes, which helps assure that emission limits are achieved on a continuous basis. [Federal Register, June 13, 2002, pp. 40813-40818.]

*”Regulatory Update” is prepared by William A. Shirley, P.E., J.D., a chemical engineer and attorney in private practice in ST. Louis, MO [Phone: (888) OSHA-LAW or (888) 674-2529; e-mail: envtllaw@earthlink.net]. This column is not intended as legal or engineering advice, but rather as general information. For legal or technical advice, readers should consult an attorney or a professional engineer.