A. Evaluation of the total quantity control plan
The Air Pollution Control Act was amended in 1999, primarily to set new goals for total quantity control plans. Referring to offsets in the New Source Review (NSR) and the designated reduction of the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market (RECLAIM), the system of air pollution control regions and total quantity control zones was incorporated into the Air Pollution Control Act amendment, and air pollution control regions were established in 2003.
After several amendments, two new regulations were formulated: “Criteria for the authorization of pollutant emissions of existing stationary pollution sources” and “Regulations on the authorization of actual emission reduction differences related to banking, offsetting or trading emission allowances”. Moreover, guidelines for pollutant emissions authorization and the website of actual emissions reductions were also formulated. In November 2014, in order to revise the draft of the “Kao-Ping total quantity control plan”, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs held a regulation meeting and conference, and took the opinions from the Industrial Development Bureau, the Bureau of Energy, and the State-owned Enterprise Commission into account. On December 12, 2014, the “Kao-Ping total quantity control plan (draft)” was preannounced. On January 7, 2015, the Conference on the “Kao-Ping total quantity control plan (draft)” was held. Participants included local authorities, industries, environmental organizations and local residents. In May 2015, the EPA and Ministry of Economic Affairs jointly prescribed the draft and announced the “Kao-Ping total quantity control plan” on June 30, 2015. In 2016, the criteria for the pollutant emissions authorization were established as a basis for emissions reduction. In 2018, the draft of the second phase total quantity control plan was preannounced, and the regulation meeting and conference were held from March to May. In June 2018, the first phase total quantity control plan expired, which coincided with the revision of the Air Pollution Control Act. As a result, the “Implementation criteria of the transitional period before the implementation of the amendment of the Kao-Ping total quantity control plan” was announced on July 6, 2018. On August 1, the Air Pollution Control Act amendment was announced, which accelerated the total quantity control plan amendment schedule to facilitate the second phase preannouncement. From January 2019, pros and cons of the first phase Kao-Ping total quantity control plan were reviewed to give feedback on revision of trading regulations, authorization regulations, and total quantity control plans. The auction regulation was also formulated.
Total quantity control zones can be divided into two categories: zones that meet air quality standards, and zones that do not. Within a total quantity control zone that meets air quality standards, newly installed or modified stationary pollution sources from which pollutant emissions reach a certain scale shall be required to perform modelling and simulation of their pollutant emissions in order to verify that these emissions will not contribute to the surpassing of allowable pollutant increase limits within the zone.
Within a total quantity control zone that does not meet air quality standards, an existing stationary pollution source shall apply to the special municipality, county or city competent authorities for authorization of its pollutant emissions and shall make reductions in accordance with the targets and deadlines that the central competent authority has designated based on air quality requirements. Newly installed or modified stationary pollution sources from which pollutant emissions reach a certain scale shall employ best available control technology (BACT). For specified large pollution sources, the lowest achievable emission rate (LAER) control technology shall be adopted. Newly installed or modified stationary pollution sources shall attain emission quantities sufficient to offset pollutant emission increases.
B. Stationary Pollution Source Installation and Operating Permit Management
The EPA has implemented air quality management since the 1980s, introduced air basin management, the State Implementation Plan (SIP) and used administrative controls and economic incentives to reduce emissions. Furthermore, the EPA adopted the concept of pollution prevention from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), and brought permit programs into the Air Pollution Control Act (Proposed) in 1987. Permit programs asked for public and private premises to report their exact emissions before carrying out installations or operations, and public and private premises have been required to follow permit regulations in the operation of equipment. They are also required to report pollution emissions after the EPA reviews applications of installation/operation permits. Local environmental protection bureaus can also use the permit system to check operating statuses of public and private premises.
In response to regulatory requirements under Article 14, paragraph 3 of the Air Pollution Control Act (1992), the EPA formulated the Stationary Pollution Source Installation, Operating and Fuel Use Permit Management Regulations (Permit Management Regulations). After several seminar meetings and public hearings, the EPA gathered many opinions before amending the Permit Management Regulations, which has been amended seven times as of 2020. The Permit Management Regulations has six chapters, including general rules, permit applications, permit review principles, permit management, etc., and the EPA uses the regulations to review and manage permits.
According to Article 24 of the Air Pollution Control Act, since 1993, the EPA designated large pollution sources such as the power industry, petrochemical industry, iron and steel industry, cement industry, and non-ferrous metal manufacturing industry to be included in batches according to the process and type of pollution source, and they are to follow the schedule to apply for installation/modification/operation permits. As of the end of 2019, a total of 7,876 public and private premises are required to report annual emissions and 11,728 operating permits were issued. The EPA can thus monitor particle emissions (95%, excluding construction and road emissions), SOx and NOx emissions (96%), VOCs (80%) emissions.
C. Air Pollution Control Fee System
Responding to citizens' growing concerns about air quality, the EPA adopted a dual-track air quality management system that makes use of both administrative controls and economic incentives. In July 1995, the government began the collection of Stationary Source Air Pollution Control Fees (hereinafter referred to as "Air Pollution Control Fees"). For the greatest efficiency of implementation, the collection system of the Air Pollution Control Fee has been revised accordingly to respond in a timely manner to the actual situation. Up to now, not only the control list of pollutants, which include sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter, but also the structure of the Air Pollution Control Fee has been reviewed and revised on a regular basis.
The government has also established an incentive mechanism, providing economic incentives in the form of Air Pollution Control Fee rebates for firms that install pollution prevention equipment and that make effective use of already-installed fixed pollution source air pollution prevention equipment, so as to provide ongoing incentives for firms to invest in improvements.
D. Improved Control of Fugitive Dust Pollution Sources
The control of fugitive dust pollution sources is primarily conducted through administrative regulations and economic incentives such as the “Management Regulations for Construction Project Air Pollution Control Facilities” and “Management Regulations for Facilities to Control Fugitive Dust Air Pollution from Stationary Pollution Sources”. These administrative regulations mandated the implementation of air pollution prevention facilities during construction projects to control fugitive dust pollution sources; additionally, economic incentives are implemented by collecting a particulate and air pollution prevention fee that encourages public and private sites to properly implement pollution prevention and reduce the emissions of particulate pollutants.
Furthermore, compliance with public engineering laws in order to meet the targets of reduced fugitive dust airborne pollution was incentivized by promoting pollution source management measures such as “Guidelines for Improving and Managing Air Pollution and Noise in Public Engineering Projects”, which required relevant prevention standards to be included in the phases of planning, contracting, execution, supervision, and auditing of public engineering projects.
E. Reinforcing control of dioxins and other hazardous air pollutants
The EPA's work on hazardous air pollution (HAPs) control is divided into dioxins, heavy metals, and other HAPs.
For dioxins, an inventory of all dioxin sources has been made and five industry-specific standards (large waste incinerators, small and medium size waste incinerators, electric arc furnaces for steelmaking, iron sintering plants, iron industry dust collection ash high temperature smelting facilities) for dioxin emissions control were established in 1997. In addition, a general stationary source emission standard was also established to manage all possible sources of dioxin emissions. It was estimated that total annual dioxin emissions were reduced from 327.5 g-TEQ in 2002 to 51.01 g-TEQ in 2019, a reduction of 84%. The annual average ambient concentration of dioxins went from 0.021 in 2006 to 0.051 pg-TEQ/m3 in 2019. The annual average values are 10 times lower than the environmental quality standards for dioxins (0.6 pg-TEQ/m3) set by the Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan in 1999.
For heavy metals, in 2018 in Taiwan, the emissions of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and arsenic (As) were 32.43, 0.87, 1.61, and 3.31 metric tons, respectively. Emission standards for waste incinerators were established to control stack emissions of Pb, Cd, and Hg in 2006. The stack emission standards of Pb and Hg are set respectively for lead secondary smelters and power plants. The EPA will continue to supervise factories to reduce the use of mercury and work towards a mercury-free environment.
Considering the impact of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs or air toxics) on public health, in addition to setting dioxin and heavy metal emission standards, in 1997 the EPA also established industry-specific emission standards for semiconductor manufacturing, polyurethane (PU) synthetic leather, dry cleaning operations, and vinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride manufacturing so as to control organic air toxics . The Air Pollution Control Act amendment announced on August 1, 2018 added several provisions to strengthen the control of air toxics from stationary sources. Under the authority of the Air Pollution Control Act, the EPA established three regulations related to HAPs control, including a “List of hazardous air pollutants and emission limits of the first batch of stationary sources”, “Health risk assessment processes for hazardous air pollutants from stationary sources”, and “List of public and private places which should be set up for air pollution prevention units or personnel and health risk assessment personnel”.
In addition to legal orders, the air pollution fee has been levied on 13 volatile organic compounds since January 1, 1999, and on five heavy metals and dioxins since July 1, 2018.
The follow-up control of HAPs of stationary sources involves reducing the impact of HAPs emissions by establishing rules or regulations, strengthening existing permits and emission reporting systems, as well as the ambient air concentration monitoring network, to achieve the purpose of protecting public health.
F. Boiler replacement subsidy
Considering that domestic hospitality, medical and social welfare institutions and schools are mostly located in densely populated urban areas, the air pollutants generated by boilers and heating equipment used in the combustion process can easily cause poor regional air quality and poor public perception. Domestic travel and lodging, medical and social welfare institutions and schools have replaced or renovated oil-fired boilers with low-pollution gas fuel or electric heating equipment to reduce air pollutant emissions and improve air quality.
The subsidy applies to places such as travel and lodging facilities, medical institutions, social welfare institutions, colleges, high schools, and national primary and secondary schools, which are to transform or replace oil-fired boilers with low-polluting gas fuels, solar energy or electric heating equipment. The subsidy amount for each oil-fired boiler is limited to NT$500,000.
In addition, in order to increase the benefits from reduction, a modification of the subsidy target for the modification or replacement of boilers was made. Furthermore, the application conditions for the subsidy were relaxed for the modification or replacement of solid fuel and liquid fuel boilers and the use of low-polluting gas burning, solar or electric heating equipment. Also, an extension of the subsidy for renovation or replacement at public and private places other than those subject to the factory management guidance law and the electrical industry law can be applied to this subsidy.
As of the end of December 2019, a total of 1,179 boilers have been designated for improvement, 849 boilers have already been replaced (234 improvements are still underway, and 96 have been shut down).
In order to strengthen the improvement of air quality and the reduction of pollution emissions, and in addition to formulating replacement subsidies for boiler control strategies, the EPA is also actively developing and promoting mandatory emission standard controls. It is expected that comprehensive boiler emission standards will be tightened after the subsidy ends.
G. Control of VOCs from consumer products
Hairspray, liquid cleaners, and spray paint are examples of consumer products that are made with ozone-forming chemicals known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Architectural coatings and the solvents that are used for thinning the coatings also emit VOCs when these coatings are applied. VOCs react with other pollutants under sunlight to form ground-level ozone. Although each product only contains a small amount of VOCs, Taiwanese use over a quarter billion of these items every year.
According to the Taiwan Emissions Data System (TEDS 10.0), the annual emissions of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) emitted from architectural coatings were about 33,000 metric tons in 2016, and contributed 8.2% of total NMHC emissions for both stationary and area sources in Taiwan. Reducing VOC emissions from consumer products therefore plays an integral part in EPA's effort to reduce ground-level ozone in Taiwan.
The control strategy for VOCs from consumer products and architectural coatings was established by following the strategy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. The main strategy is to set VOC content limits of these products and coatings.
The EPA established content limits for volatile organic compounds for architectural and industrial maintenance coatings on August 13, 2019. VOC content limits (50~600 g-VOCs/L-product) for three categories and five types of architectural and industrial maintenance coatings: Types A, B, C1, C2, and C3. It is estimated that the reduction of VOC emissions of about 4,800 metric tons per year will be achieved through enforcement of this regulation. The follow-up control of VOCs from architectural and industrial maintenance coatings involves collecting data on sales volumes and determining the VOC content of Types D to L coatings.
For other consumer products such as hairspray and liquid cleaners, EPA staff will conduct surveys to be completed by manufacturers and importers that sell products in Taiwan. The purpose of these surveys is to gather current information on VOC emissions from consumer product categories. This information allows us to determine the feasibility of further reducing consumer product emissions and is used to update our consumer products emission inventory.
H. Continuous emission monitoring system
Continuous emission monitoring systems can continuously monitor stationary source discharge pipelines in real time to ascertain air pollutant discharge conditions, and can be used in public and private places to respond in a timely manner to eliminate the abnormal situation of air pollution control equipment to avoid large-scale emissions caused by uncontrolled subsequent processes the situation of air pollutants occurs. At the same time, public and private places should be regulated to transmit pollution source data and monitor the operation statuses of facilities, so that the competent authorities can be aware of the current situation.
In order to strengthen the CEMS (Continuous Emission Monitoring System) monitoring and management system, the EPA reviewed and revised the “The Management Regulations for Continuous Emission Monitoring system for Air Pollutant from Stationary Sources” in two stages. The first stage of amendments was released on April 12, 2019. The amendments were focused on the administrative control content that could adopt immediately and agreed upon by various circles. The second stage also completed the revision and release operation on April 8, 2020. It mainly to amend the control content of the monitoring technology and information system. We complete the relevant audit and anti-fraud control measures and expand the monitoring control item. It implements a full-time monitoring management system and improves the quality of monitoring data and strengthens the overall monitoring control capacity.
Since 1993, the EPA has successively announced five batches for the regulation that "The continuous emission monitoring system should be set up and connected to the competent authority in public and private places of the stationary sources ". All industries that meet the conditions of the announcement, such as boilers, waste incinerators, cement industry, the steel smelting industry, the petrochemical industry, the pulp industry, flares and those who have made commitments according to Environmental Impact Assessments, are all subject to management. At present, there are nearly 400 exhaust pipes and 112 flares in total, which will account for about 75% of sulfur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from stationary sources nationwide.
I. Response to air pollution emergency
In response to serious air pollution incidents, the EPA established a "Standard Operation for Response to Major Air Pollution Incidents" on October 26, 2009 to strengthen the ability of local governments to deal with serious air pollution incidents. An air pollution emergency supporting team was also set up under the Advisory Monitoring Center to integrate and analyze real-time information on air pollution incidents to assist in the implementation of air pollution incident sampling and evidence preservation. In order to improve local environmental protection bureaus’ handling capacity in the event of accidents, a response inventory, including contact information of environmental agencies and other executive offices, certified inspection laboratories and consultant companies, was created and is updated quarterly. Emergency response training and non-warning tests of local environmental agencies are also conducted regularly.
In addition to strengthening air pollution incident emergency response mechanisms, the EPA has also enhanced the prevention and management system to reduce the possibility of air pollution emergencies. The main tasks are: (1) Establishing assessment models to screen air pollutants, processes, and industrial parks which have high potential to cause an air pollution emergency. A total of 87 air pollutants with high potential to cause an air pollution emergency have been listed. (2) Establishing “Regulations of Air Pollution Emergency Response Plan and Warning Notification” to strengthen the preventive measures for air pollution accidents in stationary sources and warning notice operation methods in local environmental agency. (3) Requiring owners or operators to propose emergency response plans for air pollution emergencies, for the purpose of prevention and to reduce potential impact to the environment caused by accidents.
J. Control, monitoring and improvement of volatile organic air pollutants
Ground-level ozone is harmful to public health and is associated with a variety of health problems. Ground-level ozone is formed through chemical reactions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). According to EPA research, ground-level ozone has long been a major air pollutant in western Taiwan, and VOCs are the major precursor to ground-level ozone in this area. The oil refining and petrochemical processing industry is a major VOC emitter. Several USEPA studies reveal that most VOCs are emitted from fugitive sources, flares, storage tanks, wastewater treatment facilities, cooling towers and product handling facilities. Taiwan EPA studies found that most odor nuisance complaints from people living in communities surrounding the Sixth Naphtha Industrial Park were linked to gas flaring events and emissions from wastewater treatment facilities.
In order to control and reduce VOC emissions from oil refining and petrochemical manufacturing processes, the EPA promulgated the “Volatile Organic Air Pollution Control and Emission Standards” in 1997. The regulation was reviewed and revised in 2008, and finally promulgated on January 3, 2013. The revised “Volatile Organic Air Pollution Control and Emission Standards” stipulated stricter controls and requirements on gas flaring operations, storage tank emission control, coverage of wastewater treatment units, VOC emissions from cooling towers, fugitive emissions and product handling. (For details of 2013 revision of the “Volatile Organic Air Pollution Control and Emission Standards,” refer to the EPA website).
Since the revised “Volatile Organic Air Pollution Control and Emission Standards” was promulgated and took effect, VOC emissions from oil refining and petrochemical manufacturing processes have significantly reduced. Once designated as the ozone non-attainment zone of the whole western Taiwan has now been reduced to only Pingtung County.
Odor nuisances were among the first environmental nuisance complaints. The EPA has developed a systematic method called “stepwise emission source searching” to promptly locate and identify odorous substances and emission sources. The method collates objective and subjective data to identify odor substances, applying optical remote sensing technology with statistical models to locate emission sources. To date, this method had successfully resolved many repeated odor nuisance complaint cases, and has been adopted by regulatory agencies and private companies.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)