One Page Tip #2

Processing Monthly QA & Hourly Emission Files

Do you usually wait until the end of the quarter to begin generating your quality assurance & hourly emission files? Do you wish there were a process to make it go more smoothly? Instead of waiting, we strongly recommend you generate and evaluate the EDR files on a more frequent basis. Actually, throughout the calendar quarter, the QA and emissions EDR files should be generated several times. 

This process involves breaking up the calendar quarter into smaller and more manageable pieces in order to catch problems early when they are easier to manage. The regulations only require the submission of a clean EDR (electronic data reporting) file in the approved EPA format (xml) within the 30-day period following the completion of each calendar quarter. 

Note: When evaluating an emissions file for a time range less than a full calendar quarter, you will get error messages from ECMPS for the dates not included. You can ignore these messages. For example, if you generate a file for just April, and ECMPS says you did not include records for May and June, that’s okay. Just focus on any errors for the records in April.

Recommendations:

  1. Review your in-house procedures in order to prepare and follow a site-specific procedure, which helps lead to consistent and successful results.

  2. Be sure you have access to ECMPS (Emission Collection and Monitoring Plan System) through the client tool. Each time you open the client tool, it will attempt to sync up with the EPA’s host computer network to ensure that your version of the software is up to date. 

Provided below is a link to ECMPS’s reporting instructions:
https://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/ecmps-reporting-instructions

  1. For the month, or any period you are going to review, look over the daily operating reports to look for any error messages and date values associated with these reports. Examples of some of these reports include the Average Data Report, Daily Calibration Report, Alarm Report, Downtime Report, Excess Emissions Report, etc. Do the data values look normal or typical? Besides using these reports, sometimes looking at a graph in SV of load (MWs or steam flow), concentrations of NOx, CO2, SO2 or flow rates can be helpful. If similar operating conditions (load or steam flow) are roughly duplicated, then roughly the same emission concentrations and readings should be recorded.

  2. Evaluate the QA records for your unit. The QA file generally has the data and results for any linearities or RATAs performed so far in that quarter. So, if a linearity or RATA has not been performed, the file will be empty. You should still generate an QA file and run it through ECMPS to make sure you are not carrying over any strange error messages from the last quarter. Any error messages generated from ECMPS while processing the QA file must be addressed and corrected in StackVision (SV). 

  3. If the reports look okay and you think you are ready, then generate a QA EDR file. (Tools > Part 75> XML EDR).  Generate a QA file and save it to a known location.

  4. Open up ECMPS to import the QA file you’ve generated and evaluate it. If the Evaluation Report shows one or more errors, you will need to address them in SV, correct the QA records and re-generate a new file. Re-import the QA file and evaluate it again in ECMPS. Continue this process until no errors are found in the QA file. ECMPS cannot accurately evaluate an emissions file until the QA file is clean.

  5. When the Evaluation Report comes back with no errors for the QA file, then you are ready to generate an emissions file. Repeat steps #5 and #6 until the evaluation report from ECMPS is now clean for the date range included.

 
Hopefully these steps have helped make the generation and processing of the QA and emission files less stressful at the end of the quarter. Take this opportunity to update your in-house procedures to improve your chances for success!

 

Download the PDF document here.

Jon Konings, Senior Regulatory and Reporting Engineer, ESC

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