Every industry faces its own unique challenges when it comes to regulatory compliance, based on the types of activities, products, and materials used on site. Those industries using more heavily regulated types of materials or equipment face more strenuous reporting requirements.
The Oil & Gas and Chemical industries are definitely among those industries that face
a higher degree of regulatory complexity based on the type of equipment used on site for a number of processes: tanks of all types create a significant regulatory burden.
Tanks are particularly difficult to manage from a compliance standpoint – the emission calculations for standing and working losses can be difficult enough, but there are also a large number of factors that need to be accounted for, ranging from the type of roof on the tank all the way down to what color the tank is. Tank owners and operators even need to know what the temperature was on any given period, making recordkeeping and data collection a top concern.
For these reasons, EH&S Software for tanks, also known simply as Tanks Software, has become an essential tool for anyone who owns, operates, or manages a facility that uses any type and number of tanks – even if it’s just a single tank.
So what makes Tanks Emissions Software a must-have tool in your toolbox instead of a nice perk? If you’re considering Tanks Software or are simply apprehensive about your emissions reporting this year, consider the following:
EPA TANKS Falling Behind
The EPA developed an online reporting platform for tank operators called TANKS which was meant to be able to closely estimate air emissions from different types of basic tanks. Unfortunately, as the industry’s knowledge of environmental management advanced, it was found that TANKS is unable to calculate emissions from certain common scenarios – including nearly any calculation requiring temperature data.
Currently, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) does not accept many estimates from TANKS and requires reporters to use a proven alternate software or to do the emission calculations by hand. Even the EPA has included a disclaimer that TANKS should not be used for precise estimates for some operating scenarios.
With TANKS losing ground as a top reporting tool, tank operators – particularly those in the state of Texas – should be seeking out a more viable, permanent option.
Manual Calculations for Tanks Not Efficient or Effective
There are some emission source calculations you can do manually, but tanks are not among that group. A single tank can require many different variables, meaning that estimating emissions from one tank containing one type of material over the reporting period can take a great deal of time and cross referencing against industry literature and emission factors.
At a recent conference, an Environmental Manager utilizing spreadsheets mentioned his exasperation with trying to do generate the Emission Inventories based on multiple operating scenarios — Alternate Operating Sceanrios & Maintenance Startup Shutdown. The manager expressed a common sentiment: “These Spreadsheets are Killing Me!”
You’ve probably thought this yourself on numerous occasions. And the alternative isn’t a lot better if you are instead paying a Consultant to generate the emissions calculations. If you’re paying someone to spend hours and hours each quarter to do emission calculations by hand for each of your tanks and research emission factors, temperature data, and chemical compositions you’re throwing away your money.
With Tanks Emissions Software, you should be able to determine emissions from an entire battery of tanks for a desired reporting period within a few minutes, because the program will reference all emission factors, chemical data, temperature data, and tank type-related factors automatically within seconds. You should be able to automatically take credits to the Emission Inventory for all of the control technologies you utilize onsite.