Emission limits for the entire US lead battery manufacturing industry will be tightened if proposals by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are approved.
The EPA is proposing revised lead emission limits for any facility engaged in producing lead-acid batteries for SLI and industrial applications— that includes grid casting, paste mixing, and lead reclamation operations.
The proposed rules will be for both the area source National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants and under new New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for lead-acid battery facilities that began construction, reconstruction, or modification after February 23, 2022.
This proposal results from EPA’s review of its Clean Air Act NSPS and air toxics standards.
EPA’s latest rule found just one of the country’s 40 lead battery plants had violated the lead National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The proposed updated standards would limit lead (Pb) from grid casting operations to 0.04 milligrams Pb per dry standard cubic meter (0.04 mg/dscm) (0.0000175 grains per dry standard cubic foot (gr/dscf))
Lead reclamation facilities would be limited to 0.45 mg/dscm (0.000197 gr/dscf).
Large (capacity to process at least 150 tons per day) paste mixing operations would be limited to 0.1 mg/dscm (equivalent to 0.0000437 gr/dscf).
For paste mixing facilities processing less than 150tpd of Pb, the EPA proposes to retain the 1mg/dscm limit.
Additionally, the EPA is proposing performance testing once every five years to demonstrate compliance.
Those tests would include: work practices to minimise emissions of fugitive lead dust; increased inspection of fabric filters; bag leak detection systems for facilities above a certain size; clarification of lead reclamation activities; electronic reporting of performance test results and semiannual compliance reports.
Proposals include the removal of exemptions for periods of start-up, shut down, and malfunctions.
Comments on the proposals must be received by the EPA on or before April 25, 2022.
Lead recycler warned
Last month, Gopher Resource was hit with a third pollution warning in less than a year for alleged infringements at its lead battery recycling plant in Florida, US.
The Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County (EPC) issued an Air Pollution ‘precaution’ due to elevated levels of lead in the vicinity of the Gopher Resources Inc./EnviroFocus battery recycling plant in Tampa.