Do I Need a Permit?

The information below is designed to help you determine whether your facility or project needs a construction permit and/or an operating permit.

Who Must Have a Construction Permit?

Generally, anyone installing or modifying an affected facility must obtain a permit to construct. You must obtain the construction permit before the on-site construction or modification occurs. You should begin by asking whether your business has an "affected facility" or "air pollution control equipment" as defined in District Regulation 1.02. The definition of affected facility is very broad and could include almost any industrial or process equipment, and some non-industrial processes and activities. The definition refers to "air contaminants" which includes a wide variety of substances. Air pollution control equipment is any equipment used for the control of air pollution, e.g., baghouses, cyclones, wet scrubbers, vapor recovery, etc.

For existing facilities and/or equipment that will be modified in any way, you should ask whether the proposed change would meet the definition of "modification" contained in APCD Regulation 1.02. This can be complex to determine. Under APCD Regulation 2.03 and other regulations, any physical change to an regulated (affected) facility or change in the method in which you operate an affected facility, that increases the emissions of an air pollutant (to which an emission standard applies) or results in emissions of an air pollutant (to which an emission standard applies) not previously emitted, will generally require a construction permit or revision to an existing operating permit.

Construction permits are issued for a period of up to twelve months and may be eligible for one renewal.

Are There Exemptions from Obtaining a Construction Permit?

APCD Regulation 2.02 includes a list of activities and processes that may not require a permit. These activities typically result in negligible emissions. You should review this list to determine if your facility or process fits any of the exemption categories listed in Regulation 2.02. You should contact APCD to determine the requirements for a construction permit. If your facility does not seem to fit within one of these categories, you may not be required to obtain a construction permit.

Who Must Have an Operating Permit?

Determining whether your business needs an operating permit is similar to determining whether your business needs a construction permit. Usually, if you are required to obtain a construction permit, you will also need an operating permit. There are different types of operating permits issued by the District about which you need to be aware, as listed in the "Types of Permits" section.

Can I Operate My Facility Without a Permit?

No. If you are operating a regulated facility subject to APCD operating permit requirements, you must have an operating permit.  APCD may take enforcement action against those who operate without the required permits. You must submit a permit application and all information required for permit evaluation.

What Type of Operating Permit Is Required?

If you have determined that you need an operating permit for your business, you will want to know the type of operating permit you need. This will determine the application requirements you must meet, the application forms you should use, and the permit you will receive.

A brief description of the different types of operating permits follows. Determining what type of permit you need may require assistance from the District. You may also want to obtain assistance from an environmental professional of your choice.

Types of Operating Permits

1. Minor Source Permit - This permit is required for those sources subject to a permit requirement that are not obtaining a Title V permit or FEDOOP described below. This permit will be issued for a maximum of five years and must be renewed at the end of its term for continued operation.

2. Title V Permit - Title V is the most extensive and demanding of the operating permits and is required under Title V of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The Title V permit brings together all of the applicable federal, state and local air requirements for the entire plant into one permit. The EPA has given the District authority to implement the Title V permit program as described in District Regulation 2.16. It generally applies to larger or more significant emission sources. For sources that previously had a minor source operating permit, the Title V permit will replace the earlier permit when issued.

The Title V permit application process is detailed and complex and may require professional assistance. The requirements of a Title V permit are more extensive than the existing minor source permit. Public notice and an opportunity for hearing are required. Additionally, there is an opportunity for review of proposed permits by EPA, the public, and affected states. EPA also has the ability to object to permit issuance as well as termination of a Title V permit. Title V permits are issued for a period of 5 years and a complete Title V permit renewal application must be submitted to the District prior to the end of the permit term for continued operation.

To assist you in determining whether your business is subject to the Title V permit requirements, you will need to determine your potential emissions. The Title V permit requirement applies to any source that meets one of the following criteria:

  • Any "major source". A "major source" is any stationary source, or a group of stationary sources, that are located on one property or two or more contiguous or adjacent properties under common control of the same person or persons belonging to a single major industrial grouping and is described in one of the following:
  1. Potential to emit 100 tons per year or more of any regulated air pollutant, e.g., particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, or volatile organic compounds.
  2. Potential to emit 10 tons per year or more of any one of the 188 Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) listed in section 112(b) of the CAAA of 1990.
  3. Potential to emit 25 tons per year or more of any combination of HAPs.
  • Sources subject to the requirements under New Source Performance Standards or National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, if specifically required by EPA.
  • Coal-fired electric utilities subject to the acid rain program.

Potential to emit (PTE) is calculated using the maximum capacity of a source to emit an air pollutant under its physical and operational design. A physical or operational limitation on the capacity of a source to emit an air pollutant, including air pollution control equipment and restriction on hours of operation or on the type or amount of material combusted, stored, or processed, shall be treated as part of its design if the limitation is enforceable by the EPA. Some limitations on a source's PTE that can be considered are inherent operational limitations that effectively limit your PTE. Also, some short term or irregular emissions may be excluded from PTE calculations.

3. Federally Enforceable District Origin Operating Permit (FEDOOP) - This type of permit is available on a voluntary basis, through District Regulation 2.17, for those who wish to avoid the requirement to obtain a Title V permit. Generally, a FEDOOP is only available for a source that accepts federally enforceable emissions limitations to keep them below the applicability provisions of the Title V permit program. Typically, it contains limits on the operations of the plant, e.g., material used, hours of operation, and associated monitoring requirements. For the limitations to be federally enforceable, they must be enforceable as a practical matter. This means it must allow verification of the source's compliance with federally enforceable requirements. Generally, a practically enforceable limitation should:

  • Include a technically accurate limitation and identify the portions of the source subject to the limitation;
  • Define the time period for the limitation (e.g., hourly, daily, monthly); and
  • Describe the method to determine compliance, including appropriate monitoring, record keeping and reporting to document compliance.

Like the Title V permit, the FEDOOP involves public notice, EPA review and other requirements. The FEDOOP is issued for a period of 5 years and must be renewed at the end of its term for continued operation.

If you have questions or need assistance, please call (502) 574-6000.