Understanding BACT Pollution Standards

BACT refers to Best Available Control Technology under the Clean Air Act. The term is applied to significant sources of air pollution and requires industries to utilize the best available technology to remove pollutants from their emissions stream. BACT standards are set by cities and states, so they can vary significantly across the country. BACT pollution standards may be applied in addition to federal LAER (Lowest Achievable Emissions Rate) requirements if the net emissions of a facility are expected to exceed standards.

Each facility’s emissions are considered on a case-by-case basis. Several things are taken into account like the energy utilized, the environment where the facility is located, and costs associated with implementing the controls. Compliance with the standards requires determining the most efficient production process, including the systems and techniques that should be used for emissions treatment and removal. It is important to know what BACT standards are and how they are implemented to get the most out of your pollution control methods.

What are BACT Standards?

Generally speaking, BACT standards are less stringent than LAER requirements, because they provide consideration for economic impacts, costs, and energy sources. However, BACT does require an expenditure of resources to determine whether or not alternative methods are available and what the impacts of alternative options would be. The benefit is that BACT provides businesses a degree of flexibility when determining the most efficient and effective ways of reducing pollution.

How BACT Standards are Implemented

BACT standards serve to give businesses preference to technology and techniques that achieve the desired reduction of pollution and the highest degree of pollution prevention possible. Ultimately, the goal is to implement pollution controls that have a minimal environmental impact and create the cleanest possible emissions. The standards are determined using baseline emissions data for the region and known environmental concerns. The data includes information about natural environments such as nearby marshlands and rivers, as well as human inhabited areas like neighborhoods. These factors are utilized by states and communities to determine acceptable pollution limits for an area. Businesses must use this information as they determine the most effective method for removing pollution from their emissions streams.