Expert's Opinion

EPA Endorses Fabric Filters For Industrial Boilers

By Peter Mayberry, Contributor | February 24, 2011

Peter Mayberry discusses emission control standards.

In response to a court-ordered mandate, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued final rules regarding emission-control standards for industrial, commercial and institutional boilers on February 23, 2011.The controversial standards—which are being applauded by environmental groups but criticized by industry—could ultimately impact more than 200,000 factories, incinerators, paper mills, chemical plants and other operations once the standards are fully implemented in 2014.

Operations which will be most greatly impacted are larger units capable of producing a "heat input capacity of 30 MMBtu/hour or greater" that use fossil fuels and emit particulate matter, hydrogen chloride, dioxins/furans, and carbon monoxide. Those boilers which are currently operating, and are covered under the new standards, will have to be retrofitted with emission-control technologies to meet the new standards, according to EPA, and new boilers that come online from now on will have to have specific emission-control technologies incorporated into their design.

Included in the nearly 300 pages of new regulations (which can be found online at: is a discussion of public comments related tothe costs of adding bag houses and other fabric filtration technologies to existing facilities.In this discussion, EPA notes that "fabric filter controls are generally available and cost effective...[and]... fabric filters are the most effective technology employed by industrial, commercial and institutional boilers for controlling mercury and particulate emissions."

EPA has further determined it is appropriate to estimate the compliance costs associated with the new standards for any affected boilers going into operation from now on based on the cost of incorporating fabric filters into the boiler's design.

Moving forward, therefore, nonwovens producers who are active in filtration would be well served to learn more about EPA's new standards for industrial boilers and seek opportunities to educate boiler manufacturers, construction engineers, and regulatory-compliance professionals about the products they offer.


The president of Arlington, VA-based Mayberry &Associates, Peter Mayberry is a government relations specialist with specific expertise in FDA, EPA, CPSC< FTC and the U.S. congress as well as broad-based knowledge of the nonwovens industry. He can be reached at