Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours

One of the traditions we look forward to the most at PPM is sending to our clients a special Christmas greeting. Each year our card’s art is drawn by one of our team member’s children, and we love sharing what Christmas looks like through their eyes.

We are always excited by the talent of these up-and-coming artists and are thrilled to showcase each of the entries we received below. The winner of this year’s contest is Drew Duff, son of Gretchen Duff (Monroe office).

Great work, Drew!



I love Christmas because: It is the season of giving.


I love Christmas because: Of the snow and Santa Claus bringing presents.


I love Christmas because: You get to find your Elf in the morning when you wake up!


I love Christmas because: It is Jesus’ birthday.


I love Christmas because: It snows and you can make snowmen. You get joy and love from your family.


I love Christmas because: Jesus was born this time of year, and in Christmas time Christmas music is played. I love Christmas music and movies.


I love Christmas because: For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.


I love Christmas because: We can celebrate God’s birthday and get presents.


I love Christmas because: I get cookies and Jesus is born.


I love Christmas because: I get presents and the elf comes and hides in things.


I love Christmas because: Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!


I love Christmas because: It’s Jesus’ birthday. I get to spend time with my family and get to open presents.


I love Christmas because: You get to spend time with your friends and family. You can feel joyful and give gifts.


I love Christmas because: Spending Christmas with my very good family and the birth of Jesus.

Posted in Alabama, Blog, Company News, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

Deregulation Trends in the Wake of “In-One-Two-Out” Policy

On January 30, 2017, the day President Donald Trump took office, one of his first measures was to sign in Executive Order 13771.1 This executive order became known as the “In-One-Two-Out” policy whereby for every new regulation adopted, two regulations should be cut so as to not increase the incremental costs of new regulations.  It has been almost two years since this executive order was signed and there are two significant trends already showing.



  1. The total number of regulations has decreased

Figure 1 below shows the total number of pages in the federal register by year.2 In 2017, there was a significant reduction of 35% in the total number of pages in the Federal Register. The last time there was fewer pages of regulations was in 1993, 25 years ago.

Figure 1

[1] “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”. E.O. 13771 of Jan 30, 2017

[1] “Reg Stats | Regulatory Studies Center | The George Washington University”. Regulatorystudies.Columbian.Gwu.Edu, 2018, Accessed 30 Oct 2018.

  1. The rate of new significant regulations has substantially slowed

Not only has the total number of regulations decreased, but also the rate at which new regulations being published has dramatically decreased. Figures 2 and 3 show a step decline in significant new regulations, where “significant regulatory action” means any regulatory action that may have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.3,4 This trend equates to an 81% reduction in new significant regulations between 2016 and 2017.

Key Take-Aways

The data over the past year and a half shows that the pace of regulations has slowed, which promotes a stable regulatory climate (i.e. not a lot of new projected regulations). This reduced regulatory expansion period may lead companies to consider:

  • New projects or expansions
  • Debottlenecking projects
  • Asset Acquisitions or Divestitures
  • Other various permit modifications or amendments

If your company is in a capitol deployment mode and needs additional support in regards to environmental permitting and/or plans for your projects, be it manpower or technical expertise, PPM Consultants can assist in your environmental needs.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Further Amendment to Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review.” E.O. 13442 of January 18, 2007


Contributed by Brandon Bass, P.E., Project Engineer
Posted in Alabama, Blog, Environmental Compliance, EPA News & Regulations, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

Brandon Bass, P.E. Joins PPM Consultants as Project Engineer

Brandon Bass joined PPM Consultants as a Project Engineer in the firm’s Birmingham, Alabama office. Bass has seven years of experience in air quality and compliance that he brings to PPM.

Bass has extensive knowledge of environmental regulations, New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), and Title V permitting and compliance. He also has experience in environmental auditing, Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting, Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), environmental due diligence on greenfield and brownfield sites, along with others.

His project background includes air permitting and compliance, environmental due diligence for renewable energy development, GHG program audit and development for refineries, applying industrial process knowledge in context of regulatory requirements including developing process flow and data flow diagrams, and ambient air monitoring.

Bass holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, with an Environmental concentration, from Louisiana State University. Bass is a licensed professional engineer in Alabama and Louisiana with extensive Title V knowledge.

Posted in Alabama, Blog, Company News, News

Upcoming Compliance Dates for Refinery Sector Rule 40 CFR 63 CC

Compliance Date and Summary of Requirements

January 30, 2019, is rapidly approaching, and for those facilities with flares subject to the requirements in Subpart CC, that’s your compliance deadline for completing a Flare Management Plan (FMP). Flares that are subject to the requirements in §63.670 are also subject to the flare monitoring requirements in §63.671, which include developing a monitoring plan, operating a continuous parametric monitoring system (CPMS), and submitting periodic reports.

Many of the facilities subject to Subpart CC were already required to develop FMPs under 40 CFR Part 60 Ja; however, the additions to Subpart CC necessitate updates to the existing plans to ensure both regulations are met. Whereas Ja focused on minimizing overall flare volumes and emissions of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), Subpart CC addresses minimizing hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions by placing enhanced monitoring and operational requirements on flare combustion such as:

  • Continuous operation of a pilot flame
  • Operation without visible emissions (VE)
  • Maximum flare tip velocity
  • Minimum combustion zone heat content (>270 Btu/scf) and proper steam or air assistance

In addition to the monitoring and operational requirements, facilities subject to Subpart CC must develop a CPMS monitoring plan that details quality control/quality assurance (QA/QC) requirements and procedures including, but not limited to:

  • Identification of the specific flare being monitored and flare type
  • Parameters monitored and type for each flare
  • Description of the monitoring equipment
  • Description of the data collection and reduction systems, including algorithms used to demonstrate compliance
  • Routine QA/QC procedures with descriptions for calibrations, calibration drift, spare parts inventory, etc.

Additionally, facilities should use this time to conduct a thorough review of their FMPs and other monitoring plans to verify the plans are accurate and reflect the existing design and operation. Changes to existing flare minimization plans/strategies along with addressing modifications to the facility’s baseline or developing alternatives baselines should also be discussed during this time. This is also a good time for a facility to review its fence line monitoring program, which was first required to be implemented on January 30, 2018, since it will be coming up on a full years’ worth of data to analyze.

PPM has professionals with flare management plan experience who would be happy to discuss these required updates. Please give us a call at (251) 990-90000 if you need help or have any questions. Feel free to reach us by email: Isaac Smith (, Ned Coleman (


Contributed by Isaac Smith, Environmental Compliance Manager
Posted in Alabama, Blog, Environmental Compliance, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

2015 UST Rules to Begin Full Implementation

The 2015 Revised Underground Storage Tank (UST) Regulations will begin full implementation in some states and 16 non-program approved states on October 13, 2018.  The revisions strengthen the 1988 federal UST regulations by increasing emphasis on properly operating and maintaining UST equipment. The revisions will help prevent and detect UST releases, which are a leading source of groundwater contamination.

In addition, EPA added new operation and maintenance requirements and addressed UST systems deferred in the 1988 UST regulation. Below is a summary of five key operational changes:

  • Overfill Prevention Equipment Inspections Overfill protection equipment must be tested and operationally inspected once every three years, and the owner must demonstrate that the equipment operates properly. In addition, owners must inspect automatic shut-off devices, flow restrictors, and alarms.
  • Spill Bucket Testing Spill prevention equipment must be tested once every three years. The spill bucket must be liquid tight and in proper operational condition.
  • Sumps and Under Dispenser Containment (UDC) Integrity Testing Once every three years, tank owners must test all sumps used for interstitial monitoring, and the test must show that the equipment is liquid tight using either vacuum, pressure, or liquid testing methods.  If you have double-walled sumps and/or automatic alarm shut-off sensors, your requirements may be different.
  • Sumps, UDC and Release Detection Equipment Inspection Visual Once a year, tank owners must visually check the sumps for damage, releases, and leaks.  Also probes and sensor tests must be conducted annually to ensure they are in operational condition.
  • Monthly Spill Bucket and Release Detection Walk Through Inspections Every 30 days, tank owners must conduct monthly UST system walkthrough inspections for spill buckets, fill caps, release detection equipment, alarm conditions, check/remove obstructions in fill pipe, and check interstice of double-walled spill buckets (if present).

Several resources are available through EPA and your state websites, such as guidance, summaries and forms.  EPA’s resources can be found here,

Be sure to go to the EPA and your state website and regulators for more specific information about the requirements in your state. If you need additional information or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at or Zane Hood at


Contributed by L. Todd Perry, Principal
Posted in Alabama, Blog, Environmental Compliance, EPA News & Regulations, Louisiana, Mississippi, News


A recent study from two University of California Berkeley economists, Joseph Shapiro and Reed Walker, has found that pollution emissions from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent between 1990 and 2008.  While during the same period, manufacturing grew by 30%.  The study will be published in the American Economic Review.

This is very good news and strong evidence that the Clean Air act has had a remarkable effect on significantly reducing air pollutants, which in turn provides for improved air quality.  Consider the smog levels during the 70s in major cities such as Los Angeles and Houston.   Residents will tell you how much their air quality has improved.

Some have argued that we have sent our dirty manufacturing such as steel, pulp and paper overseas which drove the decrease in emissions.  However, the truth is the study found we are producing even more of the same goods, but manufacturing has taken significant steps to reduce their emissions.

In a recent Report to the Community of the San Joaquin Valley, it was reported that pollution emissions were reduced by 85% over the last 15 years.  In the report, several measures were cited that were attributed to the reduction.  However, we know that manufacturing emissions were the key driver that created these reductions.

In an article published last year in the PPM Journal, The DOCUMERICA Photo Project: Searching for the Seventies, it discussed the EPA project of photographing contamination in America during the 1970s.  Some of the photographers returned three decades later and photographed the same sites.  The reduction of pollution at these sites was clear.  And proof that the clean air and water acts have made great improvements to public health and a safer environment.

The press release for the University of California Berkeley study can be found here, , the Report to the Community of the San Joaquin Valley can be found here, and The DOCUMERICA Photo Project: Searching for the Seventies article can be found here, .

Posted in Alabama, Blog, Environmental Compliance, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

EPA: Landfill Emissions

The OIG plans to begin preliminary research to determine whether active municipal solid waste landfills are operating under the appropriate air-quality permit. Click here


Posted in Alabama, Environmental Compliance, EPA News & Regulations, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

EPA Proposes Changes to Storage Tank Emission Calculation Guidance

On July 25, 2018, EPA proposed revisions to AP-42 Section 7.1 – Organic Liquid Storage Tanks. This section, lasted updated in November 2006, provides guidance for calculating air emissions from fixed and floating-roof storage tanks. Along with EPA’s TANK 4.09d software, this section has formed the backbone for most industrial facilities’ tank emissions estimates for many years. Is it possible that these changes mark the final nail in the coffin for the free software and the shift towards alternate solutions?

The proposed revisions address several previously noted deficiencies in Section 7.1 EPA is proposing to add methodologies for calculating emissions from activities such as roof landings, cleaning operations, and vapor flashing. EPA is also slightly modifying some of the existing calculation methodologies, and adding emission calculation methodologies for tanks containing unstable liquids, agitated tanks, and pressure tanks. EPA is accepting comments on the proposed revisions until September 24, 2018.

The idea of moving away from the TANKS 4.09d software is not new. EPA announced in 2012 that it would no longer be supporting the program, but has kept the program available for download. Many deficiencies, such as the program’s inability to accurately calculate monthly emissions, limitations for heated tanks, and lack of functions for calculating flashing, cleaning, and roof landing emissions have been known for years. However, the fact that it is free, easy to use, and generally accepted by state agencies for most tank types, has kept it afloat despite the lack of EPA support.

Once EPA finalizes the updates to AP-42 Section 7.1, TANKS 4.09d will go from a slightly outdated program that can still accurately calculate emissions from the majority of storage tanks, to a program that no longer follows AP-42 guidance for most tanks. While the overall emissions impact of the new methodology is likely to be minor for most tanks, many state agencies will likely favor the current methodology and cease accepting TANK 4.09d results in new air permit applications and annual emission inventories.

If agencies cease accepting TANKS 4.09d, what else is out there? The best option for you depends on your needs. The most basic solution is to create a spreadsheet to follow the new AP- 42 methodology, but this can be a significant undertaking, especially for a site with numerous tanks. Third-party software ranges from simple programs to full support packages where the provider will enter and run emissions for you. The best solution will depend on a particular facility’s needs and budget. Regardless of whether you need to estimate emissions from a single diesel storage tank, or a massive tank farm, PPM is ready to help find the solution to best meet your individual needs. Feel free to email with any questions to discuss the various options available to move forward after the obsolescence of Tanks 4.09d.


Contributed by Ned Coleman, P.E. Senior Environmental Engineer
Posted in Alabama, Blog, Environmental Compliance, EPA News & Regulations, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

DC Circuit Court Vacates Risk Management Program (RMP) Delay Rule

More than five years after President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13650, sending us down this winding road, on August 17, 2018, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the RMP Delay Rule.  The Court of Appeals stated, “Because EPA has not engaged in reasoned decision-making, its promulgation of the Delay Rule is arbitrary and capricious.” The Circuit Court listed three specific reasons to substantiate their rationale.

First, agencies regularly reconsider rules that are already in affect but as the Second Circuit Court stated, “a decision to reconsider a rule does not simultaneously convey authority to indefinitely delay the existing rule pending that reconsideration.” Basically, the EPA failed to provide any reasonable evidence to delay the rule past the 3-month delay explicitly authorized by CAA Section 7607(d)(7)(B)).  The EPA had cited 7412(r)(7) as a basis for their 20-month delay; however, “the Delay Rule is not the type of amendment authorized by 7414(r)(7)….particularly where the statue requires the agency to assure compliance as expeditiously as practicable.”

Section 7607 (d)(7)(B) of the CAA authorized a three-month stay when a petition for reconsideration had been filed, but no more than that according to the Court of Appeals. However, while the Delay Rule must be vacated, the Court of Appeals also stated that EPA retains authority under the CAA to “substantively amend the programmatic requirements of the Chemical Disaster Rule, and pursuant to that authority, revise the effective and compliance dates, subject to arbitrary and capricious review.”  The panel had no objection to the 3-month stay.

Second, “the Delay Rule does not explain its departure from EPA’s previous conclusions regarding the appropriate and practicable timeline for implementing the Chemical Disaster Rule”.  The Court found that EPA failed to explain how the compliance periods that were contained in the previous rule were now impractical when they were reached after soliciting and considering comments on the subject.

Third, the Court disagreed with EPA’s statement in the Delay Rule which cited the Texas fertilizer explosion was caused by arson rather than an accident, stating that was not a reasoned basis for delaying the entire Chemical Disaster Rule as the EPA cited many more incidents than the West, Texas disaster in promulgation of the rule.

Parties involved will be allowed time to file petitions for rehearing and the government has 45 days to respond. If the court grants a response, it could likely add at least another 30 days until the mandate issues.

Regardless of the Circuit Court’s decision, the EPA does have options moving forward: appeal the ruling, attempt to delay the rule for a period of time that can legally be defended, remove/modify certain Chemical Disaster Rule requirements, or allow the Chemical Disaster Rule to be implemented.  The last option appears highly unlikely and its anyone’s best guess as to how the EPA moves forward, but everyone should stay tuned-in to this RMP rulemaking process.

It should be noted that EPA formally proposed substantive changes to this rule on May 30, 2018, and that proposal is likely to be the new RMP focal point for the EPA and Administration.

Rule History

August 1, 2013 – President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13650

March 14, 2016 – EPA published the Proposed Rule

January 13, 2017, the Final Rule was published in the Federal Register

February 28, 2017 – EPA receives petition requesting reconsideration and stay for the Final Rule

March 16, 2017 – Final Rule  provides 90-day stay of the effective date of the RMP amendments

April 3, 2017 – EPA Proposed Rule to further delay RMP amendments until February 19, 2019

June 9, 2017 – EPA Final Rule to further delay RMP amendments until February 19, 2019

May 17, 2018 – EPA Proposed Rule on several changes to the RMP amendments

August 17, 2018 – DC Circuit Court vacates the RMP Delay Rule


Contributed by Isaac Smith, Environmental Compliance Manager
Posted in Alabama, Blog, Environmental Compliance, EPA News & Regulations, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

Local Firm PPM Consultants Honored with ENR Top 200 Award

PPM  held its own in 2017 among top environmental firms to win its 12th award from ENR despite many changes to the market and environmental regulations.  The company experienced one of its strongest financial performances of its 23-year history in 2017, and has been recognized as a leader among architecture, engineering and consulting (AEC) firms.

Environmental News Record (ENR) annually publishes a list of the world’s Top 200 environmental firms based on revenue generated. This list includes firms that specialize in such areas as hazardous waste, water and wastewater treatment, air quality, nuclear waste, environmental management and environmental science.

Co-founder and Principal Todd Perry said, “It is always an honor to be recognized by ENR as one of the top environmental consulting firms and a leader in our industry. Since our founding in 1994, PPM has worked hard to provide our clients with environmental solutions. Our stellar growth year over year is really a tribute to our fantastic team of environmental professionals and our clients that allow us to serve them.”

Founded primarily as a firm specializing in soil and groundwater assessment and remediation for the petroleum marketing industry, PPM’s services have expanded over the years to include a full range of air, water and waste compliance consulting, due diligence and other related environmental services. PPM serves the petroleum marketing, industrial, commercial real estate, legal, and oil and gas sectors, as well as local, state and federal government.

PPM Consultants is an environmental engineering and consulting firm with over twenty years of experience serving enterprises small and large. Multi-year Inc. 500 award winner, Zweig White Hot Firm and Engineering News Record (ENR) Top 200 firm, PPM has completed over 27,000 environmental projects in 26 states. With seven office locations across the Gulf South and over 40 service centers across the nation, PPM provides timely, expert environmental services to simplify the complexities of environmental compliance.

Posted in Alabama, Blog, Company News, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, News