As part of the continuous implementation of the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 (Republic Act 8749), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) through its Air Quality Management Section (AQMS), conducted a Webinar-Training on Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems (CEMS) on September 4, 2020.

The Webinar-Training was spearheaded by EMB Director Engr. William Cuñado, Assistant Director Engr. Vizminda A Osorio, Environmental Quality Management Division Chief Engr. Marcelino N. Rivera, AQMS Chief Engr. Jundy del Socorro, and Engr. Glenn Dale C. Delica, Industramach Incorporated Managing Director.

EMB Director Cuñado emphasized the importance of the Webinar-Training in carrying out the Bureau’s mandates on clean air.

“The Clean Air Act is one of the major environmental laws that we implement. It is important that our Central and Regional Offices are harmonized when it comes to the implementation of our programs and policies on air quality management. We also hope to carry out the same training for our Regional Offices in Visayas and Mindanao,” Cuñado said.

Participants were the technical staff members from the EMB Regional Offices of Luzon Cluster (NCR, CAR, Regions 1, 2, 3, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Region 5), and the technical teams of AQMS.

Among the topics discussed in the Webinar-Training were the provisions of EMB Memorandum Circular 2020-003 (“Mandating All Regional Offices to establish an Air Quality Network Center using a Uniform Data Acquisition and Handling System (DAHS) which shall act as repository of Industrial Emission of Firms required to install Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems (CEMS)/Continuous Opacity Monitoring System (COMS)”.

Also discussed were the current and proposed EMB Network Setup and System Structure for the Air Quality Network Center with Uniform DAHS, and the following United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Performance Specifications: PS1 (opacity), PS2 (sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide), PS3 (oxygen and carbon dioxide), PS4A (carbon monoxide), PS7 (hydrogen sulfide) and PS11 (particulate matter), on the evaluation of reliability and acceptability of CEMS.

EMB MC 2020-003 was signed on January 27, 2020, as part of the Bureau’s compliance to Section 38 of RA 8749, which requires the DENR to require any person or organization who owns or operates any emissions source to (a) establish and maintain relevant records; (b) make relevant reports, and; (c) install, use and maintain monitoring equipment or methods.

A Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) is the total equipment necessary for the determination of a gas or particulate matter concentration or emission rate using pollutant analyzer measurements and a conversion equation, graph, or computer program to produce results in units of the applicable emission limitation or standard. On the other hand, a Continuous Opacity Monitoring System (COMS), measure opacity by sending a focused light beam between two mirrors on opposite sides of a duct or exhaust outlet. Continuous opacity monitors are typically used by facilities which rely on waste materials, oil, coal, wood or other fossil fuels for combustion.

Meanwhile, Performance Specifications (PS) are defined by the USEPA, are those which are used for evaluating the acceptability of the CEMS, at the time of, or soon after installation and whenever specified in the regulations.