Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Air Emission Management System
The Clean Air Act, the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA), and the State of Tennessee’s environmental regulators require detailed monitoring of industrial sites’ emission points and air quality, and calculate the sites’ annual fee based on the emission level. The intense-reporting and record-keeping requirements created a need for a multifunctional system to support the CAAA.
A consolidated, verifiable, record-keeping mechanism did not exist prior to Oak Ridge’s Air Emission Management System (AEMS). For each reporting activity, personnel manually searched through logbooks at each emission source, then consolidated the gathered data into Microsoft Excel, and finally calculated the appropriate emission levels and fees by manually comparing the data to allowable emission limits. Often, data was re-retrieved from emission sources for different reporting activities because the previously-collected data was difficult to cross- reference and multiple report preparers were not fully aware of which data had already been collected. This method created varying levels of data in the emission sources’ and the source operators’ logbooks; time-intensive work for report writers and facility operators to verify data; and calculation errors from manually analyzing the emission levels and fees.
Oak Ridge’s Data Systems Research and Development (DSRD) group addressed these issues by holding user- sessions with the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant personnel who provide the emission data. After comprehending the users’ processes, language, and data collection techniques, the DSRD group developed representative process models and data models. The Y-12 report writers and facility operators then verified that the models met the needs of all users. Next, the DSRD group further developed the models into an application which automated the users’ requirements. Developed in compliance with a structured methodology, the models ensure that the software will be well documented, thoroughly tested, and under configuration control.
A core version of AEMS, which went on-line for users in April 1994, continues to evolve. This system reduced reporting errors by automating the calculations and comparisons. The time invested in report preparation decreased because data is now centrally located and easy to retrieve. In addition, the confidence level of the input data’s accuracy increased.
As the CAAA’ requirements continue to expand, the flexibility of AEMS is being tested. For example, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) Title V, a comprehensive permit which will replace individual source permits, was not an original design parameter during software development. However, AEMS data structure and functionality can easily be modified to support these new requirements. In addition, AEMS’s capability will allow for a seamless transfer of air data from the mainframe to the Title V forms in a WordPerfect format. This ability will eliminate the need to enter data twice, reduce transcription errors, and allow the WordPerfect forms to become part of the Title V application.
The DSRD group developed AEMS in modules. This design allows the entire package or specific sections to be borrowed or expanded for other sites or for effective communication with other data systems.
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