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ERA's Environmental Compliance Management Blog

Title V Air Permits 101

Posted by Alex Chamberlain

Alex Chamberlain is a writer for ERA Environmental Management Solutions.

title_v_permits_blogIf you operate a business that emits hazardous air emissions during the manufacturing process, then your productivity is regulated by the U.S. Clean Air Act (CAA).

The CAA is designed to protect air quality to support public health, making it your responsibility to take the necessary actions to ensure your business isn’t having an adverse environmental effect on the local air quality. An adverse environmental effect could be any significant or widespread impact on human health, natural resources, or wildlife.

Since so many businesses are required to have a Title V air permit, there are often many questions and uncertainties. To help solve that problem here is ERA’s crash course in Title Air V permitting, which will answer many of the most common (and not so common questions).

Who Needs a Title V Air Permit?

Not every business in America needs a Title V Air permit, even if they emit some form of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Instead, the EPA has set some specific requirements, meaning only some businesses are obliged to comply with Title V Air Permit conditions.

Your business is required to have a Title V Air Permit if one or more of the following conditions apply to your facility:

  • Your major sources emit HAPs equal or above the Major Source Threshold (MST) of 100 tons per year. A major source is defined as any emission point that emits at least 10 tons of any particular HAP per year, or more than 25 tons of any combination of HAPs per year.Title V Air also applies if your sources emit more than 50 tons per year of VOCs or Nitrogen Oxides.
  • Any of your emissions are subject to New Source Performance Standards, NESHAPS, or chemical accident prevention provisions.
  • Any of your affected sources – of any size – are subject to federal Acid Rain regulations.
  • If you use any solid waste incinerator that is subject to Section 129(e) of the CAA. These incinerators have the capacity to burn more than 35 Mg per day of residential or commercial waste.
  • Your sources emit more than 100,000 Carbon dioxide equivalent tons of greenhouse gases per year.

Who Doesn’t Need a Title V Air Permit?

There is some flexibility in the CAA that could mean your business isn’t required to have a Title V Air Permit. Check to see if any of these conditions apply:

  • Your facility has a lower potential to emit (PTE) regulated air emissions than the MST or other Title V emission limits.
  • You agree to artificially limit your potential emissions through an enforceable permit condition. This would apply if your PTE is higher than the MST but you agree to operate at a lower production capacity.
  • You have accurately reported actual air emissions of HAPs and VOCs below 50% of applicable Title V air emission thresholds, demonstrating that despite your PTE your real-world operations would not put you at risk for breaking Title V emission thresholds.

Of course, it is always best to double check with your local air regulators about your Title V requirements before you decide you don’t need to keep an updated permit. The consequences for accidental noncompliance can be quite hefty.

Getting Your Title V Air Permit

If you are required to get a Title V Air Permit for your facility, you will need to contact your state or local air pollution control agency. They will be responsible for the administrative work of arranging your permit.

However, when you apply for a Title V Air Permit, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has 45 days to review the permit proposal and submit any changes to the standard Title V conditions that it sees fit based on your facility’s location, potential to emit, types of processes, and other environmental aspects which could impact your ability to comply with the overall requirements of the CAA.

In addition, your Title V Air Permit enters the public domain and is available for public and governmental scrutiny. Comments from the public and other local governing bodies are gathered for 30 days and are later used during the EPA’s own evaluation of our Title V Air Permit application. This is the opportunity for community groups to raise any concerns they might have about the impact your processes might have, and the moment at which you’ll most need to prove your environmental responsibility.

Usually, these two evaluation periods overlap, which can speed up the permitting process down from 75 days, but this is not always the case.

Once the EPA has reviewed your permit proposal and the public commentary, it will either reject or accept your Title V Air Permit. This will allow your local air regulator to issue your business its operating permit. However, if the EPA rejects your Title V Air Permit application, you will have 90 days to revise your permit proposal to comply with the EPA’s recommendations that are designed to keep your business compliant with the CAA.

Furthermore, if your permit is accepted, the public will be given 60 days to submit any complaints they might have, as long as the complaint is based on comments gathered during the public review period. If the public did not raise any issues previously, they cannot block your permit now. However, the public can issue a compliant based on a situation that occurred (for example, an equipment failure or leak) with the last 30 days, as this would have happened outside the public commentary period.

Once You Have Your Title V Air Permit

Once you have been issued your Title V Air Permit, it will need to be renewed every 5 years. During this time you’ll need to demonstrate your compliance with the permit conditions by reporting your air emissions, including HAPs and VOCs, every year to your regulators.

In order to complete your compliance reporting, you’ll need to monitor all of your air emissions by keeping daily or weekly records ensuring that they fall within emission limits.

Your permit might require you to collect extra data about some of your sources, depending on the nature of your business and the EPA’s recommendations. They could require you to monitor your air emissions from certain major source every hour or even every minute. In order to do this you’ll need to implement some sort of Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS).

Any deviations in your operations or air emissions will need to be accurately accounted for and reported to your regulators, including the time it occurred, why it occurred, how long it lasted, and what corrective actions you took.

If you are interested in learning more about Title V Air Permits, download our Free Guide 'The Title V Air Permit Handbook'

 

Download our Title V Air Permit Handbook