In the past, air emission compliance data was gathered by contacts throughout Alcoa's Tennessee operations and sent to an environmental staff member for manual entry into an air emission database that was updated annually. Data requests from the environmental department to production units resulted in 'two way data flow until the 'right' number was decided upon' and reporting capability out of the air emission database was limited.
When Title V rules changed and the facility was going to be required to pay emission fees based on estimated actual emissions (rather than paying on an allowable basis as in years past), Alcoa's Tennessee team set out to automate data gathering, validation, emission calculation and reporting 'as much as possible.'
They selected Essential Air™ – powerful ESS software that calculates and reports air emissions and compares them to EPA permit limits – as the heart of an integrated monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting (MRR) system. Alcoa's MRR system automated air emissions data management across the facility by tracking daily production parameters, emission estimates, limit comparisons and environmental reports by area.
Essential Air and the MRR provided a host of benefits to Alcoa, including reduced investment in third-party inspections; faster discovery of equipment reliability issues; improved internal Alcoa staff communication regarding environmental issues; and annual savings of more than US$142,000 in 2004 and more than US$165,000 in 2005 in fees for actual air emissions, compared to 2003 fees for 'allowables.'
Most importantly, Essential Air and the MRR system enabled Alcoa to confidently certify the Tennessee facility's full compliance with new mandates regarding Title V of the Clean Air Act.