In May of 2011, the EPA introduced new emissions requirements based on section 129 of the Clean Air Act. Since then, there has been much hysteria in the industry, questioning the future of Multiple Hearth Furnaces (MHFs) and their role in thermal processing of biosolids. Despite all of the chaos, it is clear that it is not the intent of the EPA to regulate Multiple Hearth Furnaces out of existence.
The actual regulations of Sewage Sludge Incinerators (SSI’s) is found in Part 60 of the Clean Air Act, specifically in subparts “LLLL” (Quad L) for new installations, and “MMMM” (Quad M) for existing units. While both categories are stricter in allowable emissions, the EPA understood that two categories needed to be created to allow existing units to continue operation, and that the Clean Air Act required them to establish technology-based emission standards that are achievable for new and existing units based on a multitude of factors, cost being one of them. The two tables below summarize the emission limits for Multiple Hearth Furnaces for the nine pollutants that will be regulated.
The new emission limits have raised concerns for all SSI owners, but multiple hearth furnace owners seem to have worried more than necessary. This is particularly due to the fact that many highly flawed articles and papers have been circulating, stating that multiple hearth furnaces will not be able to meet the new regulations, or will prove too costly to upgrade. Some have even stated that it is cheaper to install a new fluidized bed incinerator than it would be to upgrade an existing multiple hearth furnace. These statements could not be further from the truth, as exhibited by the EPA’s own words and actions. There are many proven methods that allow owners to upgrade their existing Multiple Hearth Furnace for an average of $4-$5 million, and continue operations for many years to come.
Contact Industrial Furnace Company today to learn more about how we can help you leverage your existing capital assets to continue to provide quality, affordable service to your community.