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MEP announces new emission standards for major industries -Efforts to implement the ten major measures against air pollution

According to an official with MEP, in order to implement the State Council Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, and push forward industrial transformation and upgrading by formulation and amendments of major industrial emission standards, MEP, together with AQSIQ, announced three emission standards of air pollutants, including Emission standard of air pollutants for cement industry (GB 4915-2013), Standard for pollution control on co-processing of solid wastes in cement kiln (GB 30485-2013) and its supplementary standard Environmental protection technical specification for co-processing of solid wastes in cement kiln (HJ 662-2013), as well as the amendment list of six emission standards for the non-ferrous metal industry including Emission standard of pollutants for lead and zinc industry (GB25466-2010); the amendments set special emission limits to air pollutants.

According to the source, China is a major cement producer and consumer, with cement output reaching 2.21 billion t in 2012 which accounted for 56% of the world cement output. However, cement industry brought about severe environmental pollution while fueling the rapid development of national economy. Statistics show the cement industry contributed to up to 15%-20% of PM emission, 3%-4% of SO2 emission, and 8%-10% of NOx emission throughout the country. It is a major target industry subject to pollution control. In the meantime, international and domestic experience indicated co-processing hazardous wastes, domestic garbage, and contaminated soils in cement kilns is one of the main approaches to effectively disposing solid wastes. However, the co-processing could generate toxic pollutants such as heavy metals and dioxins, in addition to conventional pollutants, so pertinent pollution control standards need to be put in place, in order to set management standards and control the risks.

The original version of emission standards of air pollutants in cement industry was announced in the year 1985, and the first and second amendments followed in 1996 and 2004. The new version is the third amendment. Compared with ongoing version, the new version extended the scope of application, from cement raw materials mining, cement production, and cement product production, the original scope, to bulk cement terminals. The new version adjusted the emission limits to air pollutants and set special emission limits in key regions. The new standards specify tougher requirements for emission of PM and NOx. Considering the technological progress in dust removal and de-NOx, the new standards set tougher PM emission limit, that is, 30 mg/m3 (for thermal equipment such as cement kilns) and 20 mg/m3 (for ventilation equipment such as cement grinding mill), in comparison to 50 mg/m3 and 30 mg/m3 respectively according to ongoing standards. The NOx emission limit is set at 400 mg/m3 in comparison to the current 800 mg/m3, in order to urge the cement producers to combine the process control (e.g., low NOx burner, graded combustion in decomposing furnace, fuel replacement) with end-of-pipe control (SNCR is the currently available mature technology) of NOx emissions. The new standards also specify new control indicators NH3 and Hg, setting tougher requirements for control of odor and heavy metal pollution. Considering the progress in upgrading denitration and dust removal facilities in established enterprises, and in light of the national policy of adjusting overcapacity and strengthening air pollution control, new enterprises shall apply the new standards as of March 1, 2014, while established enterprises shall stick with the former standards until July 1, 2015.

The co-processing of solid wastes in cement kilns shall apply Standard for pollution control on co-processing of solid wastes in cement kiln (GB 30485-2013), in addition to Emission standard of air pollutants for cement industry (GB 4915-2013), according to this official. In the principle of whole-process pollution control, the GB 30485-2013 sets corresponding control requirements for each of the pollution links in the co-processing, which include control of the waste varieties allowed for co-processing, control of batch feeding of toxic elements to the wastes, selection of feeding points, and control of flue gas pollutants. To enable the standards to be more feasible, MEP formulated the supplementary standard Environmental protection technical specification for co-processing of solid wastes in cement kiln (HJ 662-2013), which specify the environmental technical specifications for co-processing of solid wastes in cement kilns.

It is estimated that, after enforcing the new standards, the PM emission from cement industry will be cut around 770,000 t (30.8%-38.5%) from the baseline of 2 million t to 2.5 million t; the NOx emission will be cut about 980,000 t (44.5%-51.6%) from the baseline of 1.9 million t to 2.2 million t, which makes the annual emission of NOx from this industry under 1 million t to 1.2 million t, effectively controlling the pollution load of HCl, HF, heavy metals, and dioxins, and meanwhile contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Following the emission standards for thermal power industry and iron and steel industry, the lately announced emission standards of air pollutants for cement industry also specify special emission limits for air pollutants, so do the amendment list of the six emission standards for non-ferrous metal industry, added the official. New enterprises based in 47 prefectural cities or above in 19 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government, which belong to the “three regions and ten city clusters” (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, city clusters in central Liaoning Province, Shandong Peninsula, Wuhan and surrounding areas, Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan, Chengdu-Chongqing, Western Shore of Taiwan Straits, central and northern Shanxi Province, Guanzhong of Shaanxi Province, and Lanzhou-Baiyin), shall apply the special emission limits for air pollutants as of the effective date of the new standards; while local provincial people’s government may extend the scope and set tougher requirements for enforcing the special emission limits, and step up the prevention and control of air pollution in key regions, according to the No.14 Announcement of MEP in 2013.

MEP also announced the Emission standard of pollutants for battery industry (GB 30484-2013) and Discharge standard of water pollutants for leather and fur making industry (GB 30486-2013), apart from the aforementioned standards. The two new standards will help substantially control heavy metal pollutants.

China is the world’s largest battery producer and exporter, said the official. Among others, above 60% of Zn-MnO2 batteries, over 65% of rechargeable batteries, and more than 90% of solar cells made by China are supplied to overseas markets. Battery industry is a major consumer and discharger of heavy metals. The heavy metal pollution incidents frequently reported these years are mainly caused by battery producers (not least lead-acid batteries). The battery industry follows the general discharge standards formulated in 1996, which set a low bar for industry access and are not pertinent. Therefore, MEP developed Emission standard of pollutants for battery industry (GB 30484-2013), which sets tougher emission standards for lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, manganese, and argentum pollutants discharged by established and new battery producers, as well as the unorganized emission limits of those pollutants at the plant boundary, identifies the indicators for control of specific pollutants of different battery producers, and set special emission limits. The new standards requested local regions to adopt measures including developing and enforcing local standards, raising the bar for environmental impact assessment, and strengthening the environmental quality monitoring in sensitive regions, and stipulate that battery producers shall step up the voluntary monitoring and environmental information sharing, in order to substantially improve the environmental risk control in the battery industry.

China’s leather making industry tops the world in production scale, but there are prominent problems concerned, for example, large pollution load, mixed contents in wastewater, different pollution management levels, and little effort in promoting cleaner production, said the official. The leather making industry generate 160 million t of wastewater every year, which contains about 404,000 t of COD, 16,000 t of ammonia nitrogen, and 1,280 t of total chromium. The ongoing general emission standards set a low emission limit, and a low bar for industry access, and are not pertinent. Discharge standard of water pollutants for leather and fur making industry (GB 30486-2013) specifies total nitrogen and chlorine ion and other specific pollutants, which are the primary targets for control of industrial wastewater from leather and fur making industry, and based on the technological progress in treatment of water pollutants of this industry, set tougher emission limits and referential discharge indicators. It is estimated that after the new standards are enforced in full swing, the discharge of COD and ammonia nitrogen may be cut by 11,800 t (57.2%) and 2,380 t (67.4%) respectively. In the meantime, the industrial structure will be optimized, and a batch of small-sized, non-competitive companies which own outdated production facilities, low-level processes and technologies, and poor environmental pollution treatment facilities will be eliminated.

Also, according to this official, the amendments to Emission standards of air pollutants for coal-burning, oil burning, gas fired boiler (GB 13271-2001) as a supplementary standard for Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, and Standard for pollution control on the municipal solid waste incineration (GB 18485-2001) as a public concern, are in high gear. The draft amendments set lower emission limits for air pollutants and stricter requirements for monitoring. The two amendments have passed technical review and been submitted to MEP for administrative review. In light of the extensive impact of the two standards on local regions, all industries, and the public, MEP decided to solicit public comments on their second draft amendments, with a deadline dated January 15, 2014. The valuable comments and suggestions of all stakeholders will be highly appreciated.

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)