40 CFR § 60.5181 - How do I establish an affirmative defense for exceedance of an emission limit or standard during malfunction?

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§ 60.5181 How do I establish an affirmative defense for exceedance of an emission limit or standard during malfunction?

In response to an action to enforce the numerical emission standards set forth in paragraph § 60.5165, you may assert an affirmative defense to a claim for civil penalties for exceedances of emission limits that are caused by malfunction, as defined in § 60.2. Appropriate penalties may be assessed however, if you fail to meet your burden of proving all of the requirements in the affirmative defense. The affirmative defense shall not be available for claims for injunctive relief.

(a) To establish the affirmative defense in any action to enforce such a limit, you must timely meet the notification requirements in paragraph (b) of this section, and must prove by a preponderance of evidence that the conditions in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(9) of this section are met.

(1) The excess emissions:

(i) Were caused by a sudden, infrequent, and unavoidable failure of air pollution control and monitoring equipment, process equipment, or a process to operate in a normal or usual manner, and (ii) Could not have been prevented through careful planning, proper design or better operation and maintenance practices, and (iii) Did not stem from any activity or event that could have been foreseen and avoided, or planned for, and

(iv) Were not part of a recurring pattern indicative of inadequate design, operation, or maintenance, and

(2) Repairs were made as expeditiously as possible when the applicable emission limits were being exceeded. Off-shift and overtime labor were used, to the extent practicable to make these repairs, and (3) The frequency, amount and duration of the excess emissions (including any bypass) were minimized to the maximum extent practicable during periods of such emissions, and (4) If the excess emissions resulted from a bypass of control equipment or a process, then the bypass was unavoidable to prevent loss of life, personal injury, or severe property damage, and

(5) All possible steps were taken to minimize the impact of the excess emissions on ambient air quality, the environment and human health, and

(6) All emissions monitoring and control systems were kept in operation if at all possible consistent with safety and good air pollution control practices, and

(7) All of the actions in response to the excess emissions were documented by properly signed, contemporaneous operating logs, and

(8) At all times, the affected facility was operated in a manner consistent with good practices for minimizing emissions, and

(9) A written root cause analysis has been prepared the purpose of which is to determine, correct, and eliminate the primary causes of the malfunction and the excess emissions resulting from the malfunction event at issue. The analysis shall also specify, using best monitoring methods and engineering judgment, the amount of excess emissions that were the result of the malfunction.

(b) The owner or operator of the SSI unit experiencing an exceedance of its emission limit(s) during a malfunction, shall notify the Administrator by telephone or facsimile (fax) transmission as soon as possible, but no later than 2 business days after the initial occurrence of the malfunction, if it wishes to avail itself of an affirmative defense to civil penalties for that malfunction. The owner or operator seeking to assert an affirmative defense shall also submit a written report to the Administrator within 45 days of the initial occurrence of the exceedance of the standard in § 60.5165 to demonstrate, with all necessary supporting documentation, that it has met the requirements set forth in paragraph (a) of this section. The owner or operator may seek an extension of this deadline for up to 30 additional days by submitting a written request to the Administrator before the expiration of the 45 day period. Until a request for an extension has been approved by the Administrator, the owner or operator is subject to the requirement to submit such report within 45 days of the initial occurrence of the exceedance.