Air Operating Permits
The federal Clean Air Act requires all states to have statewide air operating permit programs for businesses and industries that are the largest sources of air pollution. An air operating permit contains all the requirements that apply to an air pollution source. Ecology, the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), and the seven local clean air agencies have received EPA approval to administer Washington’s air operating permit program.
This web site is intended for air pollution sources and regulators. For general information about air operating permits, see Washington’s Air Operating Permit Program.
Title V of the federal Clean Air Act requires states to develop and implement an air operating permit program in accordance with 40 CFR Part 70 for facilities that are the largest sources of air pollution. These operating permits are often referred to as Air Operating Permits (AOPs), Title V Permits, or Part 70 Permits. They combine into one document requirements for operations, procedures, applicable regulations, emissions standards, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting. The purpose of the air operating permit is to make it easier to comply with and enforce air pollution laws.
Washington’s (Air) Operating Permit Regulation is in Chapter 173-401 Washington Administrative Code (WAC). The regulation requires a facility to have an air operating permit if it has the potential to emit any of the following:
A facility may also be required to have an air operating permit if it is subject to certain federal air quality requirements, including:
For more information about Washington’s AOP Program, refer to:
Agencies with authority to issue air operating permits in Washington are:
Ecology, EFSEC, and local clean air agencies process air operating permit applications for facilities in their jurisdictions. Facilities must submit an application within 12 months of becoming subject to the air operating permit program. Permits are issued for 5 years. An application to renew a permit is due 6 to 18 months before the permit expires.
For an air operating permit application for facilities in Ecology’s jurisdiction, refer to:
EPA requires Ecology, EFSEC, and local clean air agencies to fund their air operating permit programs by collecting fees from facilities subject to the program. The fees collected must be sufficient to cover the costs of developing and administering the program. Ecology, EFSEC, and local clean air agencies each have air operating permit fee schedules in their respective rules.
Ecology determines its air operating permit fees based on a workload analysis and budget prepared each biennium. The analysis identifies permit administration activities needed to issue and oversee air operating permits at facilities under Ecology’s jurisdiction. It also identifies activities associated with development and oversight of the statewide air operating permit program for the biennium.
From this workload analysis, Ecology prepares a budget projection for the biennium (2-year cycle). This projection covers the entire cost of the program activities identified in the analysis. Ecology publishes a notice in the Air Operating Permit Register that the draft biennial workload analysis and budget is available for public comment. Comments on the draft can be submitted for 60 days after the publishing date. After the public comment period, Ecology finalizes the workload analysis and budget.
At the end of the fiscal year (July 1 - June 30), Ecology prepares a report summarizing the air operating permit program.
Air Operating Permit Administration - Ecology calculates air operating permit administration fees using a three-tiered structure that accounts for:
Air Operating Program Development and Oversight - Air operating permit program development and oversight fees are distributed to each permitting agency based on the number of air operating permit sources in their jurisdiction. Ecology collects this fee from air operating permit sources in its jurisdiction as part of the three-tiered structure described above. Local clean air agencies collect the development and oversight fee from facilities in their jurisdictions, and pass it on to Ecology.
Ecology publishes the current fiscal year’s fee schedule by October 31 in the Air Operating Permit Register.
Ecology maintains an Air Operating Permit Register, which is updated on the 10th and 25th (or on the nearest business day) of each month. This register includes notices of air operating permit actions or program changes, and provides an opportunity for public comment.
Air operating permit actions include:
Air operating permit program changes include:
For more information about the action(s) published in the Air Operating Permit Register, contact Ecology, EFSEC, or the local clean air agency with jurisdiction.
Washington’s air operating permit program undergoes frequent fiscal and performance audits. Every two years, the State Auditor’s Office conducts fiscal audits of Ecology's and each local clean air agency's air operating permit program. These audits focus on:
Performance audits of Ecology’s and each local clean air agency’s air operating permit program are conducted yearly. They include:
A performance audit report is compiled with specific information from the reviews of Ecology’s and each local clean air agency’s air operating permit programs.
In addition, EPA periodically reviews Ecology’s, EFSEC’s, and local clean air agency’s air operating permit programs. These reviews allow EPA to identify recommendations for improvement, and ensure fair, consistent enforcement and compliance programs statewide.
Results of EPA’s most recent evaluation of the permit writing portion of the air operating permit program (program review) can be found here. Results of EPA’s evaluation of the compliance and enforcement portion of the air operating permit program (state review framework) can be found here.
EPA has completed the second state review framework.
For more information
Contact the appropriate clean air agency for your area.
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