Air Operating Permits
The federal Clean Air Act requires all states to have statewide 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 any of seven local air quality agencies have received United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval to administer Washington’s air operating permit program.
This web site is intended for air pollution sources and regulators. For more general information about air operating permits, see Ecology’s Focus Sheet on Washington’s Air Operating Permit Program.
Title V of the federal Clean Air Act requires states to develop and implement an 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 all operational and procedural requirements, applicable regulations, emission standards, and monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements. The purpose of the Operating Permit is to make it easier to comply with and enforce air pollution laws.
Washington’s Operating Permit Regulation is in Chapter 173-401 Washington Administrative Code. It requires a facility to have an Operating Permit if it has the potential to emit any of the following:
A facility may also be required to have an Operating Permit if it is subject to certain federal air quality requirements, including:
For more information about Washington’s AOP Program, please use the following links:
Agencies with authority to issue permits in Washington are:
Ecology, EFSEC, and local 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 permit program. Permits are issued for a term of five years. An application to renew a permit is due six to 18 months before the permit expires.
For an operating permit application for facilities in Ecology’s jurisdiction, use the links below.
EPA requires Ecology, EFSEC, and local air agencies to fund their 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 air agencies each have operating permit fee schedules in their respective rules.
Ecology determines its operating permit fees based on a workload analysis and budget prepared each biennium. The analysis identifies permit administration activities needed to issue and oversee operating permits at facilities under Ecology’s jurisdiction. It also identifies activities associated with development and oversight of the statewide operating permit program for the biennium.
From this workload analysis, Ecology prepares a budget projection for the biennium. This projection covers the entire cost of the program activities identified in the analysis. Ecology publishes a notice that the draft biennial workload analysis and budget is available for public comment in the Operating Permit Register. Comments on the draft can be submitted for up to 60 days following the publishing date. Following the public comment period, Ecology finalizes the workload analysis and budget.
Following the end of the fiscal year, a report summarizing the Air Operating Permit program is prepared.
Permit Administration - Ecology calculates operating permit administration fees for facilities in its jurisdiction using a three-tiered structure that accounts for:
Program Development and Oversight - Operating permit program development and oversight fees are apportioned out to each permitting agency based on the number of operating permit sources in their jurisdiction. Ecology collects this fee from operating permit sources in its jurisdiction as part of the three-tiered structure described above. Local 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 31st in the Operating Permit Register.
For the most recent fee schedule, contact: Crystal Alford, (509) 329-3595
Washington maintains an Operating Permit Register, which is updated on the 10th and 25th of each month (or on the nearest business day). This register publishes notices of permit actions or program changes and allows a mechanism for public involvement.
Permit actions include:
Program changes include:
For more information on the action published in the permit register, contact Ecology, EFSEC, or the local air agency with jurisdiction.
Agency contact: Crystal Alford, (509) 329-3595
Washington’s operating permit program undergoes frequent fiscal and performance audits. The State Auditor’s Office conducts fiscal audits of Ecology and each local air agency operating permit program every two years. These audits focus on:
Performance audits of Ecology’s and each local air agency’s 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 air agency’s programs. Use the links below for recent audit reports.
In addition, EPA periodically reviews Ecology’s, EFSEC’s, and local clean air agencies’ air operating permit programs. These reviews allow EPA to identify recommendations for improvement and ensure fair and consistent enforcement and compliance programs across the state.
Results of EPA’s most recent evaluation of the permit writing portion of the air operating permit program (Program Review) can be found here.
Another Program Review is currently being conducted by EPA of select agencies within the state. Final results of this review will be posted once they are available.
Results of EPA’s evaluation of the compliance and enforcement portion of the air operating permit program (State Review Framework) can be found here
The second State Review Framework has been completed by EPA and the final report and recommendations will be posted this fall at the link posted above. In addition, planning for a third State Review Framework in Washington is already underway.
NOTE: PDF forms and other type documents may require one of these free readers.
For more information
Contact the appropriate air quality agency for your area.
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