Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire – Important Points on Industrial Air Emissions

Posted on February 13, 2023

As part of any process, there are biproducts that hold significance for some reason or another. Some of these can be sold and repurposed, while others must be captured, incinerated, or otherwise disposed. When considering the “smoke” that is sometimes visible from stacks within facilities, the actual composition of these emissions can vary greatly from source to source. The visible portion of these emissions is comprised of particulate matter and the term “opacity” is used to describe its relative density. The higher the density or the thicker the “smoke”, the higher the opacity. The second component to this equation is often invisible to the naked eye and requires the use of specialized equipment to monitor and record the amounts of the various permitted pollutants in the stream. Some commonly permitted pollutants encountered are SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide), NOx (Nitric Oxide), CO (Carbon Monoxide), and TRS (Total Reduced Sulfur). A third possibly permitted component of these emission streams are diluents such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. For facilities with permitted sources, it is necessary to follow all applicable regulations and permit limits with regards to these emissions. As with any system where data is collected, only good data is useful. This is the very reason for the stringent regulations around the Quality Assurance and Quality Control of Continuous Opacity Monitoring Systems (COMS – the equipment used to measure the visible emission component) and Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS – the equipment measuring the pollutant and diluent concentrations in the emission stream). These regulations ensure that quality assured data is being collected by outlining mandatory system calibrations, Relative Accuracy Tests, monitor-out-of-control thresholds, and the equations used to accurately and consistently calculate various totals and figures from the data set. With proper maintenance, attention to permit limitations, and proper record-keeping, the “smoke” coming from the stacks of your local facility is no cause for concern. These efforts are designed to protect the environment and all of those who reside within it. CEMS/COMS is a vital part of ensuring that the industry of today does not negatively impact the world of tomorrow. Be a part of a better tomorrow by understanding your role in this process. For more information about our CEMS/COMS services, you can contact us by emailing info@environmental360.com or calling 877-545-3360.

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