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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

EPA Revises Rules for Non-Gas Fired Boilers

June 13, 2013

In December 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency issued rules for boilers that burn oil, biomass, or coal at facilities classified as area sources under the Clean Air Act. Changes to those rules were published on February 1, 2013, which extended exemptions to certain types of boilers, modified some compliance requirements, and provided facilities with additional time to comply.

A facility comes under the area source rules if it emits or has the potential to emit less than 10 tons per year of a single hazardous air pollutant, or less than 25 tons per year of combined hazardous air pollutants. (A campus as a whole is generally considered a facility for Clean Air Act purposes.) A small number of campuses with higher emission levels fall into the major source category and are subject to a different set of rules for boilers.

The National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for industrial, institutional, and commercial boilers at area sources can be found at 40 CFR Part 63 Subpart JJJJJJ (6J). The requirements differ according to the fuel type, capacity, and age of the boiler. The revised rule establishes four additional subcategories of affected boilers, in addition to the coal, biomass, and oil subcategories used in the 2011 rules. The new subcategories, subject to less stringent requirements, are seasonal boilers, limited-use boilers, oil-fired boilers with smaller heat-input capacity, and those that use a continuous-oxygen trim system.

Gas-fired boilers are not subject to this rule. In addition, the revision exempts several other types of boilers: electric; residential (serving four or fewer units); temporary (operating in place of another covered boiler during installation or repairs); and hazardous waste (unless they are burning fuels other than waste).

Large coal-fired boilers and new large oil and biomass units are the only ones that need to meet emission limits under the rules. Existing larger boilers must also have a one-time energy assessment. Periodic tune-ups are required every two or five years for other types of boilers, depending on subcategory. Special requirements for tune-ups need to be observed, and since many campuses conduct tune-ups in the summer months, it is advisable to review these now. EPA has prepared a summary of the regulations with a table that highlights the primary requirements.

Compliance Dates Extended

  • Initial notification, if not already submitted under the 2011 rules, must be submitted by January 20, 2014.
  • Existing sources (which commenced service on or before June 2010) need to have tune-ups, complete energy assessments, and comply with emission limits by March 21, 2014.
  • New sources (constructed after June 4, 2010) were required to comply by May 20, 2011, or upon startup, whichever is later. Notifications of compliance status for tune-ups must be submitted electronically by July 19, 2014.

Webinar to Provide Overview

EPA Region 1 is offering two webinars focusing on the boiler requirements and the compliance timetable. The information on the rules is applicable across the country. Both webinars will provide time for Q&A, and will include experts from EPA headquarters as well as regional project leads. EPA will be conducting additional webinars for the area source boiler rule in the fall, but as noted previously, because many educational facilities conduct tune-ups in the summer, this month is a good time to become better informed.

The program is free, but advance registration is required and limited to 1,000 participants per program. To register, click on the link for preferred date:


  • EPA's Boiler Compliance website — all the information needed on the boiler rules
  • EPA Region 1 Boiler Help Line at 617-918-8805 - a 24-hour hot line to ask questions of EPA staff about the boiler rule


Sally Grans Korsh
Director, Facilities Management and Environmental Policy

Anne Gross
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs