Preconstruction Permitting State Permit Programs

Every state has its own pre-construction permitting program that often goes beyond the federal program in both breadth and scope. They cover major and minor sources and often other pollutants in addition to the six criteria pollutants covered in Title 1 of the CAAA.

Examples of "minor" sources covered by state programs include: small commercial or industrial boilers, engines or heaters; small coating operations; new emissions control equipment; and minor changes to an already permitted major sources. Relatively minor modifications to a permitted source may require the source owner to file for a new minor source permit or permit amendment. Examples of new construction and modifications that may trigger minor source review include:

• Building any new facility with emissions sources

• Addition of new emitting equipment (boiler, coating operation, process unit) at an existing facility

• Installation of a pollution-control device

• Modification of a source in any way that requires a change to an existing permit limit

• Change is a unit's fuel firing capability (from oil to oil and gas; from coal to gas, etc.)

• Significant change in raw materials (chemicals, solvents, inks) used in existing equipment

The criteria determining whether a new construction or modification needs to go through a minor source permit review vary by state. Some states have detailed listings of exemptions, while others decide exemptions on a case-by-case basis. Typical exemptions that are used in a number of states include:

• Routine maintenance and repair

• Welding operations

• Small gas-fired heaters

• Water cooling towers

• Blast cleaning devices

• Domestic heating and cooling

• Small engines

• Laboratory equipment

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