The National Environmental Management Air Quality Act 39 of 2004 (NEMAQA) changed the previous methodology of air pollution regulation from a “point source” approach to include a more progressive regulation of ambient air quality in general.

The relevant committees have been slow to pass the regulations required to give effect to these principles. Since the Act came into full effect there have been two main regulations of general application namely the National Ambient Air Quality standards (GN 1210 of 2009) and the List of activities which result in atmospheric emissions which have or may have a significant detrimental effect on the environment (GN 248 of March 2010). Recently the Minister introduced the boiler regulations and revised National Dust Control Regulations.

On 1 November 2013 small boilers were declared to be controlled emitters in terms of section 23 of NEMAQA and compliance with the standards set out in the regulation (GN 831) is to be enforced over time. A copy of the regulations is available on request and the summary is intended to assist with decisions regarding maintenance and replacement of boilers.

What is a small boiler? A combustion appliance with a capacity between 10MW and 50MW net heat input per unit, capable of burning biomass, solid, liquid and gaseous fuels or combination fuels.What is a controlled emitter? Any appliance or activity declared as a controlled emitter in terms of section 23 of NEMAQA.

Does the regulation distinguish between new and existing boilers? Existing boilers are those manufactured before the date of the regulations and owners have five (5) years to comply with the notice. New boilers are those manufactured after the date (1 November 2013) and they should comply with the standards immediately.

The changes to the dust regulations set the limit on the frequency of incidents that exceed the prescribed dust fall rates to two per annum, this is based on the assumption that the measurements concerned do not occur in consecutive months.

An Air Quality Officer (presently appointed by the relevant Municipality) will require a non-compliant person or entity to implement a dust fall monitoring programme that, among other things, will involve establishing a network of dust monitoring/sampling points in the vicinity of the plant concerned.

Please contact us if you require a copy of the regulations or have further questions about the impact of these changes on your business.