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Method 9 Opacity Recertification During COVID-19 Response

On March 19, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf ordered that no person or entity shall operate a place of business in the Commonwealth that is not a life-sustaining business. Life-sustaining businesses may remain open, but they must follow, at a minimum, the social distancing practices and other mitigation measures defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect workers and patrons.

For any businesses that have been deemed life-sustaining under the Governor’s Industry Operational Guidance, and have permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection Air Quality Program, Governor Wolf has approved a limited temporary suspension until June 30, 2020 of the following:

Any operating permit term that requires facility staff to have current certification for Method 9 - Visual Determination of Opacity Emissions from Stationary Sources.

  • This temporary suspension of the certification requirement does not suspend the requirement to comply with all applicable visible emissions, particulate matter, or other emission standards.
  • Method 9 visible emission readings should continue to be taken by staff with a recent Method 9 certification.
  • Facilities should have recently certified staff continue to take visible emissions readings and recordings as prescribed by their permit conditions and report the missing certification in any compliance reports that are required to be submitted.
  • Re-certification should be obtained as soon as is practical.

This temporary suspension recognizes the practical inability to obtain Method 9 re-certification during the Governor Wolf's Proclamation of Disaster Emergency of March 6, 2020 and is consistent with US EPA policy1.

If you have any questions or require further clarification, please contact the Air Quality Program in the Region in which you are located.

1 "COVID-19 Implications for EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program" (March 26, 2020)