• Helping Process Operators with all aspects of Emission Monitoring
    Paul Firth Process Group Officer STA and Emission Monitoring Technician at Tarmac

Air Monitoring

Helping Process Operators with all aspects of Emission Monitoring

Sep 01 2021

Paul Firth, Process Group Officer, has been involved with the Source Testing Association (STA) for over 16 Years, participating in general meetings, sub groups and collaborating with other members, to share, discuss and investigate all aspects of emission monitoring.

The Process Operators Task Group main aim is to cover many aspects of emission testing, including reviewing the latest developments of the MCERTS scheme, sharing experiences from the Environment Agency (EA) Operator Monitoring Assessments (OMA), assessing various continuous emission monitoring (CEM) equipment and abatement technologies, providing support in reviewing and generating STA and EA guidance notes.

The group was predominately set up to help improve the knowledge and understanding on monitoring aspects and to cover changes in legislation. Around 2004 this included the Waste Incineration Directive, which has now been recast with 6 other directives into the Industrial Emissions Directive. Operators had the opportunity to speak with one voice, look for answers to monitoring problems, including how to measure and calibrate at lower emission limit values and be part of a collective group that included instrument suppliers, regulators, accredited testing and laboratory organisations, this approach really helps to deliver a consensus agreement, especially when developing new UK guidance and standards.

Typically the group will report any monitoring issues of note, review legislation changes, especially reference document associated emission levels (AEL), highlight future external events and publicity, cover any accredited team items of interest, review any new monitoring technologies, assess aspects of any monitoring standard, including calibration standards like BS EN 14181, review feedback from working groups, which have included dioxin and furan testing, low particulate matter, hydrogen chloride, to name a few.

Since the Source Testing Organisation was established in 1995, the Process Operators Group, in partnership with the other groups have helped to develop technical guidance, set consistent standards, created a knowledge bank of information, improved on-site monitoring Health and Safety, plus covered many other areas of emission monitoring and legislation changes.

Many process operators have operations in all parts of the United Kingdom, the STA provides the opportunity to discuss monitoring topics with all regulators, including the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), and this helps to provide a consistent approach on monitoring issues and topics.

Members of the process operators group have collaborated with the Mineral Products Association on different projects, one being low particulate matter calibrations, the use of control charts and the compliance approach to take where calibration of particulate CEMS is not viable, in this instance the main aim was to reach a collective agreement between UK regulators and Cement Operators to help identify where the effective calibration of CEM's for compliance is not possible and provide examples of indicative approaches that can be adopted, the same approach can easily be adopted by other process operators.

More recently with the onset of lower emission limit values (ELV) through the Best Available Techniques (BAT) reference documents for various Industrial Emissions Directives, which affects a large number of process operators, the importance on finding new technologies that have measurement ranges certified in accordance with the lower ELV’s is critical for both operators and regulatory authorities. 

The STA provides an excellent opportunity to learn about new developments in emission monitoring, participate in focused working groups which are set up to help develop guidance to overcome any monitoring issues, provide feedback on proposed BAT AELs, help to develop new UK guidance and standards. This is even more important as we move more from EU to UK legislation, as part of the exit from the European Union. If you are a process operator and would like more information about joining the process operators group please contact us at via our website, we are always looking to share information.   


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