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Air Quality Program

Registration Program clouds.

Ecology has operated a registration program since the early 1970s. About 350 air pollution sources are registered with Ecology by businesses throughout central and eastern Washington and San Juan County.

The registration program is the method Ecology uses to develop and maintain a current, accurate record of industrial and commercial sources of air pollution. The information collected helps us evaluate the effectiveness of air pollution control strategies and verify whether a facility is meeting air pollution requirements.

How does the registration process work?

Emissions inventory
Ecology requests information from registered businesses every December. The frequency of the request varies depending on which registration program category a business falls in. This information is due back to Ecology by January 31. The information will report details about the business’ process, sources of air emissions, emission control devices and material throughput.

Emission calculations
Each business will provide information on the quantity of their emissions. Ecology uses this information to determine which air pollution rules apply and the registration category.

Ecology will inspect the registered business to verify information submitted, answer questions, and determine compliance with air quality rules and permits. After an inspection, Ecology will send a letter explaining the results of the inspection.

What are the Registration Program categories?

A registered source’s emission rates of air pollutants determine its registration program category. There are three registration categories:

  • Annual — emission inventories and inspections are required every year
  • Periodic — emission inventories and inspections are required at least every 3 years
  • Exempt — emission inventories are required every 6 years, with no regular inspections

Businesses that move between categories may be required to turn in an emission inventory more frequently to ensure they are in the correct category. More information is in the Registration Program Emission Rates Table below.

Registration Program Emission Rates Table

Air Contaminant Category

(tons per year)

Periodic (tons per year)

(tons per year)




Carbon monoxide < 5 5 to < 15 15 to < 30 30 to < 100 100 >
Lead < 0.005 0.005 to < 0.3 0.3 to < 0.45 0.45 to < 0.6 0.6 >
Nitrogen oxides < 2 2 to < 5 5 to < 14 14 to < 40 40 > to < 100
Particulate matter (TSP) < 1.25 1.25 to < 6 6 to < 12 12 to < 25 25 > to < 100
Particulate matter2.5 < 0.5 0.5 to < 2 2 to < 5 5 to < 10 10 > to < 100
Particulate matter10 < 0.75 0.75 to < 3.5 3.5 to < 7 7 to < 15 15 > to < 100
Sulfur dioxide < 2 2 to < 5 5 to < 14 14 to < 40 40 > to < 100
Volatile organic compounds < 2 2 to < 5 5 to < 14 14 to < 40 40 > to < 100
Toxic air pollutant All pollutants < de minimis emission rates* One pollutant > de minimis emission rates*

* “De minimis emissions” means trivial levels of toxic air emissions that do not pose a threat to human health or the environment. WAC 173-460-150 contains the de minimis emission rate of a toxic air pollutant in pounds per averaging period (year, 24-hour, 1-hour).

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All facilities are required to notify Ecology when they:

  • Change ownership
  • Close their business
  • Expand operations
  • Add new equipment

Which sources must register?

WAC 173-400-100 identifies types of sources that must register with Ecology. They are identified by:

  • Category
  • Equipment type
  • Federal rule
  • Emissions limits in the permit

Some examples of source categories that must register are:

  • Asphalt, concrete, or rock crushing plants
  • Agricultural operations
  • Foundries
  • Plating operations
  • Auto body and other surface coating operations
  • Gasoline dispensing and storage facilities
  • Dry cleaners

A complete listing of the categories is in WAC 173-400-100(1).

Equipment type
Some examples of equipment that must be registered are:

  • Gas-fired boilers greater than 10 MMBtu per hour
  • All other non-gaseous fuel-fired boilers
  • Incinerators
  • Degreasers
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Burn-out and heat-treat ovens

A complete listing of equipment is found in WAC 173-400-100(2).

Federal rule
A source must register if it is subject to any of these federal rules:

  • 40 CFR Part 60 — Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources (NSPS)
  • 40 CFR Part 61 — National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)
  • 40 CFR Part 63 — National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Source Categories.

Emissions limits in the permit
A source may take a permit limit restricting emissions to avoid a federal requirement. The limits may include such things as restrictions on fuel type and use, hours of operation, or materials use.

You must register your facility if it belongs in either of these categories:

  • Any facility that has chosen a permit limit on its emissions so that it is not subject to Operating Permit Program.
  • Any facility that is required to report emissions to confirm that EPA rules do not apply. Most reporting is required yearly, but the frequency may vary. EPA rules that may apply are:
    • New Source Performance Standards in 40 CFR Part 60
    • National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Source Categories in 40 CFR Part 63

Is there a fee for registration?

Yes. Ecology charges an annual fee to cover the cost of the Registration Program. This fee covers Ecology’s costs to

  • register, inspect, collect and estimate facility emissions,
  • assess and collect fees,
  • review tests and reports, and
  • verify that businesses are meeting their air pollution control requirements.

Fees are due every year by June 30. A source can pay an annual fee, a periodic fee, or be exempt from fees for that year.

Annual source registration fee
There are three parts to an annual source fee:

  • Part 1: $1,057 for each source
  • Part 2: $469, $938 or $1407 depending on the complexity of the source
  • Part 3: Annual sources multiply their billable emissions (in tons) by $16 per ton
    Annual source billable emissions include:
    • Nitrogen oxides
    • Particulates (size 10 and smaller)
    • Sulfur dioxide
    • Volatile organic compounds

Add the emissions fees together to determine the total fee. Fees range from $1,700 to more than $4,000.

Periodic source registration fee


Yearly fee

Small periodic source $450
Medium periodic source $700
Large periodic source $1,000

The emission rate of the periodic source billable emission with the highest emission rate determines the fee. Refer to Table 173-455-040(c) Periodic Registration Fee Table for more information on the list of pollutants and emission rates.

Exempt source registration fee
No fee

Is there an option for a fee reduction?

Yes. A business may apply by June 30 for an extreme hardship fee reduction if it meets the following criteria:

  • It is a periodic registration program source
  • It has documented annual net profit of $12,000 or less
  • It is a sole proprietor, partner, limited liability company, or a corporation
  • It is independently owned and operated from all other businesses (that is, not a subsidiary of a parent company)

Under this program, Registration Program fees may be reduced by half.

To enroll in the program, return the Air Quality Fee Reduction Application form, tax documentation, and your new fee by June 30.

Is there a payment plan?

Yes. Any registration program source may apply to pay their yearly registration program fee on a payment schedule.

To enroll in the program:

If the payment that is due on November 1 is late, you are ineligible to continue in the fee payment program.

Delinquent fee accounts
Facilities that do not pay their yearly registration fee by the billing due date (June 30) are considered delinquent. Delinquent accounts will be assessed a surcharge of $68 or 10 percent of the amount owed. This amount will be added to the delinquent amount. For delinquent accounts more than 90 days past due, Ecology may issue an enforcement action subject to civil penalty and/or send the delinquent account to collections.

How does a business register with Ecology?

Existing businesses with sources of air pollution need to fill out registration forms with process information, sources of air emissions, emission control devices, and material throughput.

Businesses establishing new air pollution sources must first apply for a Notice of Construction (air quality permit) with Ecology. This permit process will request most of the information needed to initially register your business. Here is a link to the form.

Where can I get more information?

If your business is located in the counties listed below, contact the Ecology office or local clean air agency for your area for registration help.

  • Central Regional Office
    Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan Counties
    (509) 575-2490
  • Eastern Regional Office
    Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman Counties
  • Northwest Regional Office
    San Juan County
    (425) 649-7082