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Tuesday, October 22, 2019 — Annual Report on Air Emissions from PCAC Plants

Heather Makarczyk of Enterprise Products presented the annual report on emissions from Pasadena Citizen’s Advisory Council (PCAC) plants at the October 2019 meeting of the community-industry forum. (PCAC plants rotate serving as the presenter each year.) The annual report derives its data from two annual inventories: The Air Emissions Inventory (EI), which major sources of emissions must submit to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), which many plants must submit to the US Environmental Protection Agency. While reductions have occurred in all categories in the report over time, emissions increased from 2017 to 2018 in 6 of
the 8 categories of pollutants tracked in the annual report. Changes may be seen on the attached chart.

A primary reason for increases was return to more typical production in 2018 at a large plant after operations were curtailed in 2017 due to Hurricane Harvey and a major maintenance turnaround earlier that year. A single long emission event also increased that plant’s emissions in two categories. Another plant had an increase in emissions when rainfall overcame the floating roof on a tank, resulting in product on top of the tank roof. Another PCAC facility saw increases because it first operated a newly built plant for the full year in 2018.

Plants also saw reductions in emissions for a variety of reasons: fewer emission events, improvements in Leak Detection and Repair programs, and improving or installing equipment to control emissions. Less demand for products led to some reductions. The composition of wastewater sent to a PCAC plant for treatment also varies year to year and affects its emissions accordingly.

The report compared nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions at PCAC plants to those reported in the Air Emissions Inventory by facilities in Harris County and in Texas overall. In Texas, 1963 facilities filed this inventory for 2017. Of those, 249 were in Harris County and 16 in PCAC. Data from 2017 are the most current for these comparisons.
• In 2017, 0.7% (less than 1%) of the state’s NOx emissions came from PCAC plants; and 11% of the county’s NOx emissions in this inventory did so.
• In 2017, 3% of the state’s VOC emissions came from PCAC plants, and 19% of the county’s VOC emissions inventory did so.

The data in the PCAC report are publicly available, though members may see them sooner than they appear on regulatory agency websites. TRI data may be viewed at Readers may filter the data by geographic region, company name, chemical, and so on. Air emissions inventory may be found on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality website at