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Technology Transfer Network - OAR Policy and Guidance


Amendments to NESHAP for Area Sources: Primary Copper Smelting and Secondary Copper Smelting

  • On June 27, 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amended its emissions standards to control toxic air emissions from primary and secondary copper smelters that are considered area sources.  Facilities that emit less than 10 tons per year of a single toxic air pollutant or less than 25 tons per year of any combination of toxic air pollutants are area sources.
  • On December 15, 2006, EPA issued final air toxics standards for area sources in four industrial source categories including primary copper smelting and secondary copper smelting.  Toxic air pollutants, or air toxics, are known or suspected to cause cancer and other health problems.
  • The final rules require primary copper smelters that are area sources to comply with requirements for the control of emissions of particulate matter.  EPA also set emissions limits and work practice standards for any secondary copper smelter that may be constructed in the future.
  • Today’s direct final amendments make minor technical and editorial amendments to the current rules.  For the primary copper smelting rule, the amendments clarify the operating conditions when the plant must control emissions from a smelting vessel and adds a “wet scrubber” to the list of air emission control devices that can be used.  Other amendments correct referencing or numbering errors.
  • EPA is publishing these changes as a direct final rule because the changes are noncontroversial and no adverse comments are anticipated.  If adverse comments are received, EPA will address the comments in a subsequent final rule based on a parallel proposal that is being issued in conjunction with the direct final rule amendments.


  • The direct final amendments do not change the level of emissions control provided by the current standards.
  • The direct final amendments will have no cost impact on plants covered by these rules.


  • The Clean Air Act requires EPA to identify categories of industrial sources that emit one or more listed 188 toxic air pollutants. These industrial categories include both major and area sources.
  • Area sources are those that do not emit or have the potential to emit more than 10 tons per year of a single toxic air pollutant or more than 25 tons per year of any combination of toxic air pollutants.
  • The Clean Air Act requires EPA to identify the toxic air pollutants that pose a health threat in the largest number of urban areas and to regulate sufficient area source categories to ensure that the emissions of these “urban” air toxics are reduced. EPA implements these requirements through the Integrated Urban Air Toxics Strategy.
  • Each of the source categories included in the final rules for primary copper smelting and secondary copper smelting are included on the area source category list.
  • For area sources within each source category, the Clean Air Act allows EPA to develop standards or requirements which provide for the use of generally available control technologies (GACT) or management practices rather than the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) required for major sources.
  • The final air toxics rules were developed in response to the requirements in section 112(k) of the Clean Air Act and are being issued at this time in response to a court order that directs EPA to issue final rules for area sources every 6 months.


  • To download a copy the direct final amendments, go to EPA's Worldwide Web site at https://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg under newly proposed or issued rules.
  • For further information about the final rules, contact Ms. Sharon Nizich of EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at (919) 541-2825 or Nizich.Sharon@epa.gov.


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