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General Operations

Refrigeration | Laboratory | Maintenance | Cleaning & Sanitizing | Water Pre-Treatment


Boilers or Steam Generating Units

Boiler (Steam)

Most food processing facilities have industrial boilers or hot water heaters for generating steam or hot water for processing, cooking, or sanitation. Industrial boilers tend to be smaller in size, subject to more and greater load swings, operated at a lower capacity factor, and capable of utilizing multiple fuels. In addition, they often are the only supplier to their site and must be highly reliable. Coal, fuel oil, and natural gas are the major fossil fuels used by boilers. The combustion of these fossil fuels produces primarily sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate emissions nationwide, with minor amounts of VOCs and carbon monoxide.

If your facility has any of the following types of boilers, then you must comply with federal emission limits for NOx, SO2, and particulates:

  • A fossil fuel-fired or fossil fuel and wood residue-fired steam generator which has a heat input rate of more than 250 million Btu and was constructed after August 17, 1971 (40 CFR 60 Subpart D)
  • An industrial-commercial-institutional (ICI) steam generator which has a heat input rate of more than 100 million Btu and was constructed, modified, or reconstructed after June 19, 1984 (40 CFR 60 Subpart Db)
  • A small ICI generator which has a heat input capacity ranging from 10 million Btu to 100 million Btu per hour or less and was constructed, modified, or reconstructed after June 9, 1989 (40 CFR 60 Subpart Dc)

For more information on Federal regulations see Clean Air Act.

In addition to the federal emission limits, state and local governments may have additional or more stringent emission limits. Contact your state regulatory agency for more information on state emission limits.


Refrigeration

Refrigeration

Ammonia
Most food processing facilities use closed loop ammonia refrigeration systems for heat exchange. Ammonia is handled as a gas and must be added to refrigeration systems to replace amounts lost through leaks or because of losses when purging a section of the system for maintenance. Because ammonia is not a listed air pollutant or classified as one of the 188 hazardous air pollutants, a Title V operating permit for ammonia emissions is not likely to be required. However, it is possible that ammonia will be subject to state permitting requirements.

Ammonia refrigeration systems are subject to Section 112(r) (also see March 2009 fact sheet) of the amended CAA, which mandates EPA to publish rules and guidance for chemical accident prevention. Ammonia is a volatile chemical and will be released to air through system filling, relief vents, and leaks in valves and fittings. All ammonia lost through these means should be reported as fugitive emissions in a Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) report (also see EPA's TRI tools and guidance), if the total is over the threshold amount.

On January 31, 1994, EPA developed a final list of 140 regulated substances and threshold quantities, which are identified under Section 112(r). According to the final list, ammonia is a regulated substance if it is at a concentration of at least 20 percent and exceeds the established threshold quantity of 20,000 lbs (40 CFR 68). Therefore, if your facility has a process that uses a 20 percent ammonia solution which exceeds the threshold quantity established by EPA, you must develop and implement a risk management plan (RMP) for that process.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
Your food processing facility may be subject to requirements of the stratospheric ozone protection program if you have certain appliances (air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers) and industrial process refrigeration units that use CFCs and other class I and class II substances.

The CAA provides a framework for the regulation of ozone-depleting substances such as CFCs to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. EPA’s stratospheric ozone regulation does the following:

  • Bans the use of certain ozone-depleting substances in non-essential products
  • Requires labels for products containing or manufactured with regulated ozone-depleting substances
  • Bans the production of many of these substances (40 CFR 82)

EPA has established requirements for servicing and disposal of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment that contains regulated ozone-depleting refrigerants. These requirements are:

  • When opening any appliance containing refrigerants for maintenance, service, repair, or disposal, you must have at least one piece of certified, self-contained recovery equipment available at your facility.
  • Notify EPA that such equipment is available at your facility. This equipment must be operated to certain specified standards that minimize atmospheric release of refrigerants.
  • If your appliances contain 50 or more pounds of refrigerant, you must repair leaks in a timely manner. You must maintain records documenting the date and type of all servicing performed on the appliance, as well as the quantity of refrigerant added.
  • If you are an appliance owner/operator who adds the refrigerant, you must maintain records of refrigerant purchased and added.
  • If you use technicians to service and maintain refrigerant-containing appliances, they must be certified by an approved technician certification program.
  • If you employ such technicians, you must maintain records demonstrating compliance with the certification requirement (see 40 CFR 82).

For more information on Federal regulations see Clean Air Act.

In addition to the federal emission limits, state and local governments may have additional or more stringent emission limits. Contact your state regulatory agency for more information on state emission limits.


Laboratory

Laboratory

Food Processing laboratory facilities perform various tests and procedures such as microbiological tests, chemical tests, etc. that generate wastes. These tests require the disposal of chemicals and possibly microorganisms. If you have a lab facility in your food processing plant you will need to follow these regulations (RCRA Subpart C Hazardous Waste Regulations, and 40 CFR 792).


Maintenance

Maintenance

Maintenance operations in food processing facilities include the repair of equipment, preventative maintenance, and also facility updates/modifications. When you perform maintenance activities you must follow these regulations. (Regulations.)

 


Cleaning & Sanitizing

Cleaning

Cleaning and sanitizing procedures used in food processing facilities use toxic and hazardous compounds. Your facility will need to follow the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) rules for controlling these compounds.

 


Water Pre-Treatment

Water Treatment

Food processing facilities may need to perform water treatment depending on the products they produce. Water treatments may include filtration, removal of minerals through softening, pH adjustment, or chlorine treatment as a few examples. If you perform any type of water treatment you will need to be aware of the Safe Water Drinking Act and follow the Primary Drinking Water Regulations.

In addition to federal standards, state and local governments may have additional or more stringent rules. Contact your state regulatory agency for more information on state regulations.

Check the FPEAC Sustainability section to find methods and technologies for reducing water use.

 


FPEAC
Food Processing Environmental Assistance Center
Purdue University, Food Science Building, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47906
Phone: 765-494-7997 • FAX: 765-494-7953

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