SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): The South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) is the agency responsible for attaining state and federal clean air standards in the South Coast Air Basin. In November 2022, the District adopted a new rule to minimize fugitive dust from metal recycling and metal shredding facilities. This rule is called Rule 1460 Control of Particulate Emissions from Metal Recycling and Shredding Operations. Some rule requirements have been in effect since January 1, 2023, and other regulatory deadlines are approaching soon by July 1, 2023.
This rule was developed to address community concerns and minimize fugitive dust emissions from metal recycling and metal shredding facilities. Activities such as cutting, shearing, sorting, handling, bailing, shredding, and storing scrap metal at metal recycling and metal shredding facilities can generate fugitive particulate matter emissions. Since preventing community impacts is the main objective, the rule includes specific requirements to prevent the generation of fugitive dust, post signage to inform the public on how to report a dust complaint, and require facilities located near sensitive receptors to implement monitoring systems and cease activities during high wind conditions.
Rule 1460 is significant because a typical metal recycling facility does not have equipment that requires a permit issued by South Coast AQMD and many facilities are not familiar with air quality compliance requirements, which can result in violations and penalties. This rule is estimated to affect 200 metal recycling facilities, many of which are located within AB 617 communities. Five metal shredding facilities have also been identified and would be subject to the rule. A facility that begins operations on or after November 4, 2022, is considered a “new” facility and is required to comply with additional requirements including, but not limited to, storing metal residues within building enclosures and performing operations on concrete paved areas. A new facility is required to submit a registration form to the South Coast AQMD prior to the first day of facility operations. Alternatively, the owner or operator of an existing metal recycling or metal shredding facility is required to register with the South Coast AQMD by submitting the following form and paying a registration fee by July 1, 2023. Starting in 2024, facilities are required to register and pay fees annually by January 15 of each year.
Rule 1460 applies to owners and operators of metal recycling and metal shredding facilities. A “Metal Recycling Facility” is defined as a facility used for the receipt, storage, segregation, or separation of scrap metal and mixed materials for reuse or resale. The facility’s primary business is the purchasing, processing, trading, or receiving secondhand or castoff metal material. A “Metal Shredding Facility” means any metal recycling facility that accepts scrap metal and uses a metal shredder to mechanically render that scrap metal into smaller pieces and separates the metals and other materials for the purpose of recycling.
The provisions of the rule do not apply to auto dismantlers, metal melting facilities subject to other district rules, consumer recycling centers, permitted material recovery facilities, metal cutting, welding and grinding performed for maintenance and repair. A general summary of the rule is summarized below, but rule applicability will need to be determined for each facility. The rule language is available for further information.1
Purpose and Applicability
• Minimize fugitive dust emissions from metal recycling and metal shredding facilities
• On or before July 1, 2023, register with South Coast AQMD and provide an update if there is a change or are changes to specific information
• Use prescribed cleaning methods on traffic areas and areas where metal recycling and metal shredding activities take place
• Keep materials collected from housekeeping in covered containers
Best Management Practices Requirements
• Apply water at sufficient quantities and frequencies when unloading, loading, handling, and processing scrap metal
• Minimize fugitive dust emissions from scrap metal storage piles by either applying watering daily or storing scrap metal piles within a three-sided enclosure
• Minimize fugitive dust emissions from high value grade metal piles by either covering, watering, or storing within a three-sided enclosure
• Install signage limiting vehicle speeds to 15 miles per hour
• Facilities within 100 meters of a sensitive receptor are required to monitor wind speeds and cease specific activities following a wind speed in excess of 25 miles per hour
• Install either a wheel shaker, wheel spreading device, wheel washing system, or pave at facility egress to prevent track out from exceeding 25 feet onto a public road
• Store waste material in covered containers
• Store metal shredder residue within a three-sided enclosure with no material overflow
• Store metal shredder residue in a building enclosure following the receipt of three notices of violations regarding storage of metal shredder residue
• On or before July 1, 2023, install signage at visible locations that provides facility contact information in English and Spanish
Requirements for New Facilities
• Pave areas where metal recycling or metal shredding activities take place with concrete
• Operate metal shredders within a building enclosure
• Store metal shredder residue within a building enclosure
• Plan filing fee is pursuant to Rule 306 when submitting initial registration or updated registration with South Coast AQMD
Wind Monitoring Requirements
• Facilities near a sensitive receptor are required to install and operate a stationary anemometer with a data logger to monitor wind speed
Auto dismantlers, recycling centers that primarily recycle aluminum cans, material recovery facilities, and metal melting and lead processing facilities under existing South Coast AQMD rules, are exempt from Rule 1460
During a high wind event, facilities near sensitive receptors do not need to cease metal recycling activities conducted within a building enclosure, unloading activities where water is applied, hand unloading activities, and recycling of high value grade metal
Keep in Mind
As a metal recycling facility operating in the South Coast Air Basin, you should closely review the definitions in the rule to determine applicability and rule implementation. The following are some key points of clarification to keep in mind.
The most significant rule requirements apply to facilities located near sensitive receptors since the purpose of the rule is to avoid fugitive dust impacting local air quality. A “Sensitive Receptor” means a residence including private homes, condominiums, apartments, and living quarters, schools or early education centers, preschools, daycare centers, and health facilities such as hospitals or retirement and nursing homes. A sensitive receptor includes long- term care hospitals, hospices, prisons, and dormitories or similar live-in housing. Facilities located within 100 meters (328 ft) of a Sensitive Receptor are required to monitor wind direction and speed using a minimum of one stationary anemometer or wind sensor and cease operations for 15 minutes if the wind speeds exceed than 25 miles per hour averaged over one minute. By specifying an average over one minute, it helps to clarify which metric facilities use when implementing this provision during facility operations, consistent with the rule’s wind monitoring requirements. Specific wind mind monitoring records must be maintained, including a detailed data log, proof of valid calibrations no less than every six months, and other instrument information. The 100-meter distance is required to be measured from the facility’s outmost perimeter to the property line of the sensitive receptor. The rule does provide a provision that allows for operation during high wind conditions if scrap metal activities are performed with a building enclosure, where sufficient water is applied during scrap metal unloading, during hand unloading of scrap metals, and activities handling High Grade Metal.
Rule 1460 provides a separate definition for High Value Grade Metal because these materials arrive clean and are not considered a fugitive dust concern. As such, the rule includes different best management practices for these materials. A High Value Grade Metal is scrap metal, intended for processing or resale, that contains minimal debris, is not stored on unpaved surfaces, and is not mixed with material that contains debris. An example of a High Value Grade Metal would be a pile of busheling. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, busheling is a clean steel scrap with a maximum size of 2 feet by 5 feet and consisting of new factory busheling, such as sheet clippings and stampings from metal production that is free of metallic coatings. Busheling also does not include old auto body and fender stock and is only new production scrap rather than scrap from obsolete used items. The facility is required to label the pile (e.g., piece of paper with the date written on it) to document when the metal arrived at the facility (i.e., establishment of a receipt date). If the facility adds more High Value Grade Metal the next day to this existing High Value Grade Metal pile, the receipt date for the pile does not reset. The receipt date for the pile also does not reset if half of the pile is removed. The High Value Grade Metal pile will be subject to control requirements when material remains at the facility for more than 15 days based on the original receipt date.
In summary, Rule 1460 requires registration, housekeeping, implementation of best management practices, signage requirements, payment of fees, and, in some cases, wind monitoring requirements. The rule language may be found on the South Coast AQMD Rules Web page at www.aqmd.gov/home/rules-compliance/compliance/rule-1460. Applicable facilities are responsible for following all rule requirements and violations and fines can be imposed for non-compliance. Some requirements are already in affect and other deadlines are quickly approaching.
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