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Clean Air Act

In October 1948, “killer” smog rolled into Donora, Pennsylvania so thick that driving was all but impossible.  Three days later, once the smog had lifted, twenty people were dead and up to one half of the town’s population had been sickened.   In response to this incident and a number of air quality incidents across the country, the Clean Air Act (CAA) was first promulgated in 1963 and has been revised a number of times since.
The five basic goals of the CAA are:

  1. Control ambient levels of criteria pollutants
  2. Limit exposure to Hazardous Air Pollutants
  3. Protect and improve visibility in natural areas
  4. Reduce emissions that cause acid rain, and
  5. Curb the use of chemicals that deplete stratospheric ozone

Duke University is subject to a number of regulations or portions of regulations promulgated in the CAA and its revisions.

Title V Permit Compliance – An innovative program under Title V of the Clean Air Act Amendments, the operating permit program streamlines the way authorities regulate air pollution by consolidating all air pollution control requirements into a single, comprehensive "operating permit" that covers all aspects of a source's year-to-year air pollution activities.

Stratospheric Ozone Protection - Since July 1992, it has been unlawful to vent or release to the atmosphere used refrigerants into the atmosphere while maintaining, servicing, repairing, or disposing of air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment (Section 608 of the CAA, 40 CFR Part 82, Subpart F).

RICE NESHAP - EPA promulgated emission standards for generators, known as the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine (RICE NESHAP), in several stages beginning in 2004 and culminating in March 2010.

Greenhouse Gas Reporting - Facilities that emit greenhouse gases (GHG) are required to monitor GHG emissions and submit an annual GHG inventory.

Title V Permit Compliance

One of the major initiatives Congress added to the CAA in 1990 is an operating permit program for larger industrial and commercial sources that release pollutants into the air. Operating permits include information on which pollutants are being released, how much may be released, and what kinds of steps the source's owner or operator is required to take to reduce the pollution. Permits must include plans to measure and report the air pollution emitted.
Duke University obtained and operates under a Title V air permit that includes information on the emission sources, which pollutants are being emitted and monitored, emission limitations, and any pollution prevention requirements.   The permit also details the type and frequency of reports to be submitted to the state. 

The following are covered under the current permit

  • Duke University Steam Plant - operates six boilers at the Main Plant and 15 package boilers at the East Campus Steam Plant for steam generation
  • Ethylene Oxide Sterilizers – 7 EthOx sterilizers located at the Hospital and Eye Center
  • Emergency Generators – numerous listed and insignificant generators across campus for emergency power.

Stratospheric Ozone Protection

Since July 1992, it has been unlawful to vent or release to the atmosphere used refrigerants into the atmosphere while maintaining, servicing, repairing, or disposing of air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment (Section 608 of the CAA, 40 CFR Part 82, Subpart F).


  • Require service practices that maximize recovery and recycling of ozone-depleting substances (both chlorofluorocarbons [CFCs] and hydrochlorofluorocarbons [HCFCs] and their blends) during the servicing and disposal of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment.  Only four types of releases are permitted under Section 608 of the CAA:
    1. "De minimis" quantities of refrigerant released in the course of making good faith attempts to recapture and recycle or safely dispose of refrigerant.
    2. Refrigerants emitted in the course of normal operation of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment (as opposed to during the maintenance, servicing, repair, or disposal of this equipment) such as from mechanical purging and leaks. However, EPA requires the repair of leaks above a certain size in large equipment.
    3. Releases of CFCs or HCFCs that are not used as refrigerants. For instance, mixtures of nitrogen and R-22 that are used as holding charges or as leak test gases may be released.
    4. Small releases of refrigerant that result from purging hoses or from connecting or disconnecting hoses to charge or service appliances will not be considered violations of the prohibition on venting. However, recovery and recycling equipment manufactured after November 15, 1993, must be equipped with low-loss fittings.
  • Set certification requirements for refrigerant recycling and recovery equipment, technicians, and refrigerant reclaimers.
  • Restrict the sale of refrigerant to certified technicians.
  • Require persons servicing or disposing of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment to certify to EPA that they have acquired refrigerant recovery and/or recycling equipment and are complying with the requirements of the rule.
  • Require the repair of substantial leaks in air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment with a refrigerant charge greater than 50 pounds.
  • Establish safe disposal requirements to ensure removal of refrigerants from goods that enter the waste stream with the charge intact (e.g., motor vehicle air conditioners, home refrigerators, and room air conditioners).


A. Technician Certification

Technicians must pass an EPA approved test given by and EPA approved organization to become certified under this program.  Section 608 technician certifications do not expire.

  • Four types of certification have been developed.
    1. Type I – Small application servicing
    2. Type II – High or very high pressure appliance servicing or disposal except small appliances and MVACs (motor vehicle air conditioners)
    3. Type III – Low pressure appliance servicing and disposal
    4. Universal – All types of appliance servicing

Note – Apprentices are exempt from certification requirements provided the apprentice is closely and continually supervised by a certified technician.

B. Recovery Equipment 

An EPA Recovery Unit Acquisition Certification Form must be submitted to the EPA Region IV for each recovery unit purchased by Duke.  Technicians and contractors shall service and maintain the equipment per specifications including documented periodic leak testing.
In addition, EPA requires that manufactures obtain certification from an EPA approved testing agency for each model of recovery/recycling equipment manufactured after November 15, 1993.  The units must be properly labeled by the manufacturer and should look similar to the following:
“The equipment has been certified by ARI/UL to meet EPA’s minimum requirements for recycling and/or recovery equipment intended for use with (appropriate category of appliance e.g. small appliance, HCFC appliances containing less than 200 pounds of refrigerant, all high pressure appliances, etc.)”


The University is required to maintain the following records for at least three years:

  1. A complete refrigerant equipment inventory with the equipment categorized as under 50 pounds or over 50 pounds and over: comfort cooling, commercial refrigeration, industrial process refrigeration, or other refrigeration.  The inventory must also include the refrigerant type and operating charge rate.
  2. A complete rolling inventory of all cylinders and drums of refrigerant on site.
  3. Technician certificates for all Duke employees and contractors who perform any service, maintenance, or repair on refrigerant containing equipment must be kept on file.
  4. Service records for equipment containing 50 or more pounds of refrigerant indicating the date, type of service, the amount of refrigerant added, and the leak rate anytime refrigerant is added to the system must be kept on file by the owner.  If the owner has contracted the maintenance, the service provider must supply the owner with the necessary documentation.
  5. If the appliance is dismantled on site, disposal records must be kept to verify that refrigerant was removed from the appliance and identifies the technician who removed it; or,
  6. If the equipment is typically removed from the site whole, the recycler or landfill owner is responsible for ensuring that the refrigerant is removed prior to disposal; however, to remove the refrigerant you must maintain a copy of the documentation provided to the recycler or landfill owner.
  7. Owners of recovery or recycling equipment must keep a copy of EPA Refrigeration Recovery of Recycling Device Acquisition Certification form of file.
  8. Owners must keep a copy of any required appliance retirement or replacement plan on file.
  9. Owners must keep records of any required or follow-on leak test conducted on equipment.
  10. Purchasers of refrigerant who retain technicians to recover refrigerant must provide evidence to the wholesaler that at least one technician working for them is certified to recover the type of refrigerant they are purchasing.
  11. Used refrigerant oil and/or lubricants source and disposal documents must be kept.

EPA promulgated emission standards for generators, known as the RICE NESHAP, in several stages beginning in 2004 and culminating in March 2010.  Specific requirements of the RICE NESHAP for Duke depend on whether the diesel generator engine is classified as “new” or “existing” and whether the generator is considered an emergency generator or a non-emergency generator.
For purposes of the NESHAP, generators are classified as “new” or “existing” and “emergency” or “non-emergency”.


  • An existing generator is one whose construction began before June 12, 2006.
  • new generator is one whose construction began on or after June 12, 2006.


  • The RICE NESHAP basically limits an emergency generator to one that operates during emergency situations and testing and maintenance; and excludes by exception those generators that perform other functions. 
  • Existing emergency generators can run 15 hours per year for demand response/financial arrangement with third party and still be classified as “emergency generators”.  Existing emergency generators at Duke University and Medical Center are exempt from the NESHAP regulation.
  • New emergency generators are allowed no financial arrangements with an outside party and no non-emergency other than for maintenance and testing.  If a new generator is used for demand management or other paid service, it is no longer an emergency generator.


  • If an existing generator can run more than 15 hours/year for demand response planning or has an arrangement for peak shaving then it is a non-emergency generator.
  • If a new generator is part of a financial arrangement with an outside party, or an arrangement for peak shaving or demand response, it is a non-emergency generator.


  • NEW Emergency Generators are those whose construction began on or after June 12, 2006.  New emergency generators can comply with the RICE NESHAP by meeting the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) which is required for every new generator purchased after July 11, 2005.  An emergency generator must meet the emission standards of Tier 1, 2 or 3, where the Tier levels are a function of the generator size and date manufactured.  From Duke University and Medical Center perspective, it is a matter of specifying when ordering that the new generator meet the appropriate Tier level for an emergency generator.  Compliance date for “new” emergency generators is upon startup.
  • EXISTING Emergency Generators are those whose construction began before June 12, 2006.  When EPA finalized the RICE NESHAP rule on March 3, 2010 it decided not to include existing emergency generators at institutional, residential and commercial sites in the rule applicability.  Therefore, existing emergency generators at Duke University and at the Medical Center are exempt from the RICE NESHAP and all of its requirements. 


There are numerous requirements related to emission limits, testing, maintenance and recordkeeping and reporting, which vary depending upon the generator size.  Following is an overview/summary of the requirements. 

  • NEW Non-Emergency Generators of model years 2007-2010 must meet specific NSPS requirements of Tier 1, 2 or 3 as applicable on a generator by generator basis. Compliance date for new non-emergency generators is upon startup.  New non-emergency generators prior to model year 2011 generally have similar requirements as new emergency generators.  Beginning with 2011 model year non-emergency generators must meet Tier 4 requirements, which requires control equipment.
  • EXISTING Non-Emergency Generators Greater Than 300 HP must meet specific CO limits or reduce CO emissions by 70%; install a closed crankcase ventilation system, meet specific startup limits, conduct initial emission performance tests, retest every three years if greater than 500 HP, and conduct continuous monitoring and recordkeeping of emission-related operating parameters.  Compliance date for existing non-emergency generators to meet emission and monitoring requirements is May 3, 2013

Fuel Requirements

Beginning October 1, 2007, owners and operators of stationary CI ICE subject to this subpart that use diesel fuel must use diesel fuel that meets the requirements of 40 CFR 80.510(a).

  • 40 CFR 80.510( states that beginning June 1, 2010, except as otherwise specifically provided in this subpart, all NR and LM diesel fuel is subject to the following per-gallon standards:
  1. Sulfur content.
    1. 15 ppm maximum for NR diesel fuel.
    2. 500 ppm maximum for LM diesel fuel.
    3. Cetane index or aromatic content, as follows:
      1. (i) A minimum cetane index of 40; or
      2. A maximum aromatic content of 35 volume percent.

      GREENHOUSE GAS Reporting (40 CFR  86, 87, 89

      Beginning in 2010, facilities that emit greenhouse gases (GHG) were required to monitor GHG emissions and submit an annual GHG inventory. 

      • Any facility that contains any source category (as defined in 40 CFR part 98, subparts C through JJ) in any calendar year starting in 2010.  For these facilities, the annual GHG report covers all source categories and GHGs for which calculation methodologies are provided in 40 CFR part 98, subparts C through JJ.
      • Facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons of CO2e or more per year from all stationary fuel combustion sources (as defined in 40 CFR part 98, subparts C through JJ).

      THE RULE

      • Requires the reporting of GHG emissions directly emitted from facilities through production and/or fuel combustion (Stationary Sources).
      • Requires reporting of annual emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Methane (CH4), Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and other fluorinated gases (i.e. nitrogen trifloride), and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFEs).
      • Includes monitoring, recordkeeping, and verification requirements.
      • Facilities must begin recording data on Jan 1, 2010. 
        • Must maintain the following records  (for at least 3 years):
          • List of all units for which GHGs are calculated
          • The data used to calculate the emissions
          • Results for the development of site specific emission factors
          • All required analyses for high heat values, carbon content, etc.
          • The annual GHG reports
          • Missing data computations
          • The written GHG monitoring Plan confirming the information specified in 40 CFR 98.3(g)(5).
          • The results of all required certifications and QA tests of CEMS, fuel flow meters, etc. used to provide data for the GHGs reported.
          • Maintenance records of all CEMS, flow meters, etc. used to provide data for the GHGs reported.
          • Any other data specified in any applicable subpart of 40 CFR Subpart 98. (examples – fuel heat content, carbon content, etc)

      Calculating Emissions

      There are four different calculation methodologies (Tier 1, 2, 3, or 4) used for determining GHG emissions.
      Which methodology is used is based upon the conditions, requirements, and restrictions listed in 40 CFR 98.33.
      First report due September 30, 2011 (submitted electronically).