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Posted on March 29 2016


Jodi Grimmett Ozen


Company News, Product News

Glass Alchemy Comment On Air Toxics Temporary Rulemaking

As many of you know, Glass Alchemy has temporarily suspended the use of Cadmium in our production as a response to public concern in the Portland, Oregon area. On April 21st, The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is proposing to adopt a set of temporary regulations, which could significantly impact our production. These new regulations will have an impact on the production of both Cadmium and Chromium colors. These two colorants are present in a significant number of color formulas and the proposed regulations will have both short term and long term impacts on our production operation.

While Glass Alchemy supports the adoption of new regulations and is working and will continue to work to comply, we believe there are significant procedural and technical problems with the current proposal. We have submitted our public comment to the DEQ and have included it here for you to read. You may also submit your own comment here before March 30 at 5:00 pm (PDT).

Thank you for inviting public comment on the proposed emergency amendment to Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) Chapter 340, Division 244, as those rules apply to Colored Art Glass Manufacturing (CAGM) facilities. Your decision to invite and constructively consider such comments before acting is appreciated. We hope you take our input into consideration and deliver a more deeply considered temporary rule than what was originally proposed. Glass Alchemy believes there are significant procedural and technical problems with the current proposal, which we outline below:

There is No Documented Emergency Sufficient to Justify Expedited Rulemaking
It appears to us that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has inappropriately cited and relied on a gap in the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) as the sole justification for this expedited process. Even if you assume that such a regulatory gap exists, DEQ has offered no evidence that there is a public health emergency. Although ambient monitoring has indicated that certain larger glass plants’ metal impacts have exceeded ODEQ’s ambient benchmark concentrations (ABCs), recent soil and blood monitoring downwind of such targeted facilities has indicated that health risks posed by such glass plants are not elevated above ambient levels. According to Oregon’s Safer Air Oregon web page (

    • Short-term health effects: It is unlikely that the level of metals detected in the air would cause any immediate health problems for people.
    • Long-term health effects: Health experts are continuing to analyze data to determine potential long-term public health risks. Based on current data, long-term health risks are relatively low.
There is no documented need for immediate emergency action. Use of the expedited rule making process when there is no documented emergency at hand is inappropriate. Instead, the EQC’s appropriate alternative is to instruct the DEQ to address this regulatory concern by normal rulemaking under Oregon’s Air Toxics Program (OAR 340-246). This makes the most sense, since the proposed rule is only temporary. Additional rulemaking would still be needed in any event, so we respectfully request that the EQC reject this emergency rule and direct ODEQ to begin a more balanced, scientifically based rulemaking process under the Air Toxics Program.

The Proposed Emergency Rule is Technically Flawed
We begin by noting that the proposed rule is “All in” or “All out” without any documented determination of actual stack emissions based on production levels. A facility that works with 10.1 tons melted glass is treated the same as one that melts 1,100 tons of glass, and a facility with 9.9 tons is not subject to the proposed rule at all. The scope of applicability measure, “10 tons per year or more of colored glass using raw materials that contain metal compounds” [proposed 340-244-9000 (2)], is not predictive of potential hazardous emissions resulting from the production of colored art glass. Thus, it is an inappropriate way to determine applicability of the temporary rule to individual manufacturers. We request that the proposed rule, and any later rule, allow CAGM facilities to stack test for all metals using EPA’s method 29 (or a DEQ equivalent) in order to determine their metal-specific emission factors, from which impacts can be calculated using modeling and compared to Oregon’s ambient benchmark concentrations (ABCs).

Next, the prohibition of chromium VI, cadmium, arsenic and nickel in art glass production before determining whether the production volume has any health risk creates a major and unreasonable burden on smaller facilities without any documented justification. Proposed 340-244-9030(2) requires a source to install control devices of either 99% control efficiency or 0.2 pounds of particulate per ton. This ignores the likelihood that a source may be able to demonstrate, through stack testing, that its emissions without controls do not exceed 0.2 pounds per tons. In other words, the proposed rule ignores that such controls may be expensive and unnecessary, as they may be useless in achieving the stated goals. Assuming the emission goal is legitimate and is clearly stated in the temporary rule or any later rule, the facility should be given the opportunity to demonstrate its ability to comply before being compelled to incur such an expense.

The proposed rule is silent on the averaging time for the modeling evaluations and risk comparison. Knowing the intended averaging time is essential to consistency in the rule’s application.

The rationale for the source testing in 340-244-9040(3) and (4) is not explained in any materials or literature provided by DEQ. Proposed OAR 340-244-9040(3) only has chromium testing while proposed OAR 340-244-9040(4) has particulate and chromium. It appears that particulate provisions are covered in 340-244-9030 and are not needed in 340-244- 9040. Also, 340-244-9040(3) and (4) are inconsistent with each other. 340-244-9040(3) addresses uncontrolled furnaces but in (3)(a) states “at the inlet of an emissions control device.” 340-244-9040(4) addresses controlled and uncontrolled furnaces. However, this section does not address the issues of the stack cleaning as set forth in 340-244-9040 (3)(D). These sections need revision to be clear as to which circumstance they apply.

Finally, the proposed rule is inconsistent in how it handles metals. It allows a facility the ability to use chromium III in an uncontrolled furnace only after stack testing for chromium III and chromium VI to verify that the concentration of chromium VI in stack emissions is below 1.6 ng/m3 (20 times the chromium VI ABC). However the same rule imposes a blanket restriction of cadmium, arsenic, nickel in an uncontrolled furnace, presumably regardless of any documented risk. We request that the proposed rule, and any later rule, allow CAGM facilities to stack test for all metals using EPA’s method 29 (or a DEQ equivalent) in order to determine their metal-specific emission factors, from which impacts can be calculated using modeling and compared to Oregon’s ambient benchmark concentrations (ABCs). We further request that any rule use the ABC’s as criteria for determining potential risk to the public before making the facilities subject to the control aspects of the rule.

The approach requested above is consistent with DEQ’s existing Air Toxics Program methodology. The result will allow facility-specific emission factors to quickly set facility-specific metal usage limits that are protective of public health and allow the facility to continue to operate while they design and implement control devices, if needed.

Thank you for your consideration.

Thomas Grimmett & Jodi Grimmett-Ozen
Glass Alchemy Co-owners


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