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Environmental Health and Safety


Stationary Institutional Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE)

Reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) are common combustion sources that have a significant impact on air quality and public health.

Exposure to these air toxics emitted from engines may produce a wide variety of health difficulties for people including irritation of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes, and central nervous system problems.

Reciprocating internal combustion engines are non-road (stationary) engines that use pistons which alternatively move back and forth to convert pressure into rotating motion. Since USC is an educational institution, EPA classifies our stationary RICE as Stationary Institutional RICE engines. These are used only for emergencies to produce electricity and pump water for fire control.

Two basic types of RICE are the following:

  • Compression engines that operate on diesel fuel.
  • Spark ignition engines that operate on natural gas, gasoline and propane.

Requirements for Stationary Institutional RICE Engines

  • No time limit on use during emergency conditions.
  • Can be operated for any combination of a maximum of 100 hours per calendar year for maintenance checks and readiness testing as long as tests are recommended by federal, state, or local government, manufacturer, vendor, insurance company, etc.
  • All Stationary Institutional Emergency Combustion Ignition and Spark Ignition engines must have a non-resettable hour meter installed on each of these engines to document hours of usage.
  • Hours of usage for testing and for any times when emergency use is required must be kept be documented and kept for five years.
  • Maintenance records for each engine must be maintained for five years.

For more information about Stationary Institutional RICE engines call Roddy Whitaker at 803-777-2839 or email rwhitake@mailbox.sc.edu.