Air Permitting

What Kind of Permit Do You Need?

Unless specifically exempted, any person wishing to construct an air contaminant source or to modify an existing air contaminant source is required to obtain a construction permit from the Tennessee Division of Air Pollution Control (APC). Examples of air contaminant sources include:

  • Process emission sources such as printing presses, asphalt plants, coating processes (painting of automobiles, office equipment, wood furniture, etc.)
  • Fuel burning equipment such as boilers, gas or oil fired heaters, coal fired steam electric generating plants
  • Incinerators for medical waste, municipal waste, etc.
  • Farming equipment, mobile sources and other exempted air contaminant sources are not required to obtain a construction permit.

Unless specifically exempted, persons planning to operate an air contaminant source require an operating permit from the Tennessee Division of Air Pollution Control (APC). New Construction Permit applicants who are non-Title V sources are required to apply for a state operating permit within 30 days of startup. The 30-day period may be extended when stack sampling is required as a condition of the construction permit. Examples of air contaminant sources that are eligible for a state operating permit are small surface coating operations, small printing operations, and other minor sources.

Facilities that have the potential to emit more than 100 tons per year (tpy) of an air pollutant, 10 tpy of a hazardous air pollutant, and/or 25 tpy of a combination of hazardous air pollutants are not eligible for a state operating permit but must obtain a Title V Operating Permit.

Generally, farming equipment and mobile sources are not required to obtain operating permits from APC; however, there are provisions for inspection and maintenance of mobile sources in certain nonattainment areas.

A Title V Operating Permit is required of companies that have operations involving a major air contaminant source or a non-major air contaminant source that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared subject to part 70 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations. These companies include the following:

  • Facilities with the potential to emit 10 tons per year (tpy) of any hazardous air pollutant (HAP), 25 tpy of any combination of HAPs, or 100 tpy of any regulated air pollutant
  • Facilities subject to acid rain requirements under Title IV of the Clean Air Act
  • Facilities with lower tpy limits in non-attainment areas
  • Facilities required to obtain a Title V operating permit by federal regulation (such as some landfills)

The Permit-by-Rule program will apply for “minor” sources of air emissions for specific source categories. The Permit-by-Rule program is now available for gasoline dispensing facilities (GDFs), stationary emergency internal combustion (IC) engines, and auto body refinishing.

Additional categories of sources will be added to the Permit-by-Rule program in the future.

General permits are single permits issued by the Technical Secretary of the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board for a specific type of facility. They look like traditional permits, but are not issued to a specific facility. Sources can choose to be covered under a general permit, if eligible, or they can request a traditional permit if they prefer. General permits can act as both construction and operating permits, eliminating one step from the current permitting process. Facilities wishing to be covered by a general permit will submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the Technical Secretary requesting coverage. 

Are There Rules & Regulations You Should Know?