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Air Quality Permits

Air quality permits ensure facilities meet emission standards that protect public health. Local air districts require permits for major pollution sources. CDMS guides clients through the entire permitting process, providing inventory analyses, flexibility planning, applications preparation, and compliance reporting. With decades of air quality expertise and positive agency relationships, CDMS offers streamlined Title V permitting, health risk assessments, audits, and more. Our personalized services ensure your facility complies with clean air regulations from application to operation. Air permits are complex but essential – CDMS has the experience to handle them efficiently.

Regulatory bodies
  • California Air Resources Board (CARB).
  • California Air Quality Management Districts (AQMD). The AQMD in each area is responsible for making sure their district is meeting air quality standards set by Federal EPA. Because each district is different because of the variances in the amount and type of contributors within a district as well as the lay of the land and how air flows in a district, each District sets its own requirements in an attempt to control contributions to air quality issues that can be a problem in their district. Some of the main Air Districts that CDMS works with:
  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) (greater Bay Area)
  • San Joaquin Air Quality Management District (Central Valley) Sacramento Air District (Sacramento Area)
  • South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) California Air Resources Board (CARB) oversees local districts, and regulates non-stationary sources (such as diesel trucks).
Who needs it

Facilities that emit air pollutants above certain threshold levels are required to obtain permits from local air districts. This includes power plants, refineries, factories, and other industrial sources. Each district has permitting thresholds.

Common activities that are generally regulated under the AQMD’s are:

  • Painting
  • Printing
  • Wipe Cleaning (wiping parts with Isopropyl Alcohol).
  • Spray booths (big booths in which spray paining is done).
  • Activities involving significant amounts of Epoxy or glue.
  • Activities which use materials that have VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) in them – and 20 gal of VOC per year are used.
  • Plating using heated tanks.
Regulation reference
  • Federal Clean Air Act.
  • California Clean Air Act.
  • 40 CFR Parts 50-99.
  • Local Air District Rules and Regulations.
  • Title V Federal Operating Permit Program.
  • AB 2588 Air Toxics “Hot Spots” Program.
What our service provides:

CDMS provides a variety of services to maintain compliance with the Air Quality Management Districts. The following are some of the services that are offered are:

Permit Application Preparation

CDMS compiles all necessary information for permits, prepares and submits the applications and interfaces with local and federal air permitting agencies to acquire the permit. We are well versed on the Air Quality Management District’s rules, and we are a Certified Permit Professional from the District. This enables us to process permits on a fast track basis.

Environmental Air Quality Health Risk Assessment (HRA)

CDMS conducts studies to analyze and mitigate the effects of emissions of hazardous air pollutants on the environment and local population.  These studies are often required by local Air Quality Management Districts or the California Air Resources Control Board.

Clean Air Act Permitting and Reporting

CDMS offers a service to conduct an air permit audit of the client’s facility to determine the status and requirements necessary to comply with the local Air Quality Management District and the Federal Clean Air Act.

Title V Permitting

CDMS offers a full range of Title V permitting services necessary to meet the regulatory requirements. These services include:

Create an inventory of all regular sources of emissions and calculate the levels of emissions and potential emissions to determine the permitting requirements of the client.

Determine Operational Flexibility Requirements to enable the client to be able to expand future operations and avoid additional permitting fees. CDMS and the client jointly develop operational scenarios that will provide flexibility with the Title V permit regulation.

Prepare all the required permit applications for submittal of the Title V permit.

AB 2588 Reporting (California Only)

CDMS offers this service to fulfill reporting requirements of California’s air quality regulations. This includes the development and application of Emission Factors, Emission Inventory Reporting, and Toxic Hot Spot Reporting.

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What are the major regulated air pollutants?
The EPA regulates six criteria air pollutants – ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and lead. Hazardous air pollutants are also regulated under the Clean Air Act.

What facilities/operations require air permits?
Facilities that emit air pollutants above certain threshold levels are required to obtain permits from local air districts. This includes power plants, refineries, factories, and other industrial sources. Each district has permitting thresholds.

How do I apply for an initial permit?
You submit an application to your local air district demonstrating how your facility complies with all applicable air quality regulations. This includes emissions estimates, process diagrams, air pollution control equipment details, and compliance monitoring methods.

What are Title V operating permits?
Title V permits are federally required, comprehensive Clean Air Act permits for major stationary sources of air pollution. They consolidate all CAA requirements into one permit document.

What is the cost to apply for a permit?
Permit application fees vary greatly depending on the permit type, size of the facility, amount of emissions, and the district. Simple permits may be a few hundred dollars while complex Title V permits can cost over $100,000.

How long does it take to get a permit?
A simple permit for a small source without air quality issues may be issued in 3 months. Larger sources with air quality concerns may take 6-12 months for initial permit issuance.

Can I operate during the permit application process?
In most cases, facilities may continue operating while their permit application is processed, provided they submitted the application on time and are complying with applicable requirements.

What emissions limits are placed on permitted sources?
Permits contain source-specific emission limits designed to maintain air quality standards and reduce public exposure to air pollution. Limits may include pounds/hour, tons/year, ppm, and other metrics.

What are the reporting requirements?
Annual compliance certification reports are generally required, documenting monitoring methods, compliance status with all permit terms, deviations, and corrective actions taken.

What are the record keeping requirements?
Facilities must keep maintenance logs, production records, emissions measurements, reports, and supporting data for at least 5 years to demonstrate compliance.

Can I modify or transfer my permit?
Permit modifications can be made through administrative and minor permit revision processes. Permit transfers to new owners are also allowed by notifying the district.

How do I renew a permit?
The permit renewal application is submitted at least 6 months prior to permit expiration and contains updated emissions data, compliance certifications, fees, and relevant new regulatory requirements.

What are the consequences for permit violations?
Violations may result in fines, permit termination or suspension, consent decrees, or criminal penalties depending on circumstances and severity. Daily penalties may apply.

What emissions testing is required?
Initial source testing and periodic testing (every 1-5 years) is required to demonstrate compliance with permit emission limits, using EPA reference test methods.

How are emissions monitored and documented?
Monitoring methods include continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS), parametric monitoring, predictive emissions monitoring systems (PEMS), mass balance calculations, fuel use monitoring, and process operational indicators.

What are the maintenance requirements?
Proper maintenance of pollution control equipment, CEMS, and monitoring systems following manufacturer specifications are required to sustain compliance.

What staff training is required?
Staff must be thoroughly trained in monitoring procedures, recordkeeping, reporting requirements, and proper operation of emission control equipment.

How are equipment changes handled?
Prior to making equipment changes, the facility must apply for and receive an amendment or modification to their existing permit from the air district.