Best Available Control Technology (BACT)

Definition - What does Best Available Control Technology (BACT) mean?

Best available control technology (BACT) is an American pollution control standard mandated by the Clean Air Act and administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The BACT standard determines what air pollution control technology must be used to control the emission levels of a specific pollutant to its specified legal limit. The determination of what constitutes the “best available technology” for a particular polluter is decided within a system of defined criteria that considers energy consumption, total source emissions, regional environmental impact, and the economic costs that would result from the use of the various emissions control solutions available.

The BACT standard is the current EPA standard applied to the creation of all new or retrofitted facilities whose operation would result in a significant increase in the release of a regulated pollutant.

Safeopedia explains Best Available Control Technology (BACT)

The use of the BACT standard applies to all major sources of pollutants. The Clean Air Act requires individual U.S. states to have EPA-approved State Implementation Plans (SIPs) for implementing the terms of the Act, which include following the BACT standard where applicable. Individual states may also use their own individual version of BACT if the EPA has approved it as being equally or more stringent than the original version.

The designation of an emissions control system as being a best available control technology is made on a case-by-case basis rather than being applied to a broad category of emitters such as a specific industrial sector. This means that if a large diesel generator system were to be built in Washington State, the Washington State Department of Ecology would have to certify a specific technology as being the BACT for that particular system.

The case-by-case nature under which BACT is applied, and the consideration that it gives to regional environmental impact, allows individuals who live or work in proximity to a pollution-emitting facility to seek that the BACT standard be applied to the facility as a means of forcing it to lower its emissions. In such a case, the state-level agency responsible for environmental protection would render a legal decision as to whether the BACT standard applies under its individual implementation of the standard. If it does, the agency would then decide what technology is required to meet the provisions of the standard using its normal assessment procedures.

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