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  • Air Quality Permits

    Stationary Sources

    A stationary source is any building, structure, facility, or installation subject to regulation which emits or may emit any air pollution.  These sources include power generating plants, landfills, petroleum facilities, chemical plants, mining operations, cement and glass manufacturing companies, and many other heavy industrial sources.  Pollutants are emitted into the air from these plants through fossil fuel combustion, chemical processes, and the grinding or pulverizing of metals for cement, fertilizers, etc.  These processes emit a number of harmful contaminants into the air including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, synthetic compounds, and particulate matter.  PDEQ regulates these sources to ensure Pima county meets and maintains the national air quality standards.     Search Pima County Stationary Source Permits

    What's New?

    Electronic submittal of compliance correspondence to PDEQ by email is now acceptable when sent to the PDEQ Air Quality Permitting Section.   PDF format is preferable for notification letters and reports, including a required statement of truth, accuracy, and completeness certified with the signature of a Responsible Official.  Please note that correspondence related to the actual permit application process is still required to be submitted via signed original hardcopy for all Title V, Class I sources.  If you have any questions about submittal formats, please contact the PDEQ Air Quality Permitting Section.

    Stationary Source Permitting

    There are several different types of air quality permits depending on the type of activity and emission rates of air pollutants.  A key tool in assuring that facilities comply with air quality regulations is the issuance of a permit.  A permit allows the regulated facility to be knowledgeable of all applicable air quality regulations and allows the regulating agency to be familiar with the type of operations at the facility and the methods of air pollution controls used.  Air quality regulations lay out the requirements and process for the application and issuance of an air quality permit.  Potential emissions are based on operating the unit/source 24 hours per day at maximum capacity for twelve months or 8,760 hours.

    Major Source Permits

    The federal major source program (Class I or Title V) regulates larger sources of air pollution. A Class I source or major source has the potential-to-emit (PTE) quantities greater than:

    • 100 tons per year (tpy) of any criteria air pollutant excluding lead;
    • 10 tpy of any single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) or 25 tpy of a combination of HAPs;
    • 5 tpy of lead.

    Minor Source Permits

    The minor source program (Class II and Class III permits) regulates smaller sources of air pollution.There are two classifications for minor sources: synthetic minor and true minor.

    Synthetic Minor Source Permit

    • Potential emissions above Class I emission levels (see previous section)
    • Federally enforceable limits are taken to keep emissions below Class I emission levels

    True Minor Source Permit

    • Potential emissions below the Class I emission levels

    General Permits

    PDEQ has expanded its use of general permits to authorize activities under various environmental regulations. General permits streamline the permitting of classes of facilities or activities that are sufficiently similar in design or operation to warrant general requirements or conditions.

    Stationary Source Permit Types

    Air Quality Permit Revisions

    Permit Revisions, Why Does PDEQ Care?

    Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) oversees the provisions of your air quality permit, including those regarding permit revisions.  Because PDEQ recognizes that business growth benefits more than just the business, we want you to be able to make changes to your operations as easily as possible.

    What is a Permit Revision?

    Based upon state and federal requirements, an Air Quality Permit Revision may be required when a permitted facility foresees changes in its operation such as a change of ownership, change in potential to emit air pollutant or equipment swapping.

    Stationary Source Permit Fees

    Local, State, and Federal Laws, Rules, and Regulations - Air Quality

    Environmental rules and regulations are major tools in protecting Pima County's unique environment.
    These rules and regulations set standards for environmental quality and limits on pollutants.  PDEQ's regulatory authority is established pursuant to applicable provisions of the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.), Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.), Pima County Code (PCC), Federal Environmental Statutes, delegation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (via the Clean Air Act), and by delegation from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.  We encourage and reply on you to become involved in the rulemaking process.

    Local

    Pima County Code Title 17 - Air Quality - Air Quality Permitting (including Stationary Sources, Fugitive Dust, Asbestos, and Open Burning)

    State

    Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ)
    Arizona Revised Statutes - Title 49
    Arizona Administrative Code - Title 18

    Federal

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Laws and Regulations
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Clean Air Act
    U.S. Code of Federal Regulations - Title 40
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Status of Pima County State Implementation Plan (SIP)

    Air Quality Permitting FAQs

    Answers to commonly asked questions about air quality operating permits in Pima County.

    If you do not find an answer to your question or need further assistance you may contact PDEQ directly at (520) 724-7400 or e-mail Air Quality Permitting Section.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Air Permits

    1) Who Needs an Operating Permit?

    Any source that emits or has the potential to emit more than 100 tons of any regulated air pollutant per year will be required to have an operating permit.  In addition, any source that emits or has the potential to emit more than 10 tons per year of a hazardous air pollutant, or more than 25 tons per year of a combination of hazardous air pollutants, will be required to have a Class I (Title V, Major source) operating permit.

    Minor source operating permits are issued to smaller emitting facilities with generally less complicated permitting requirements (i.e. Non-Title V or Synthetic Minor), will be required to have a Class II or Class III operating permit.  Synthetic Minor operating permits are issued to facilities requesting voluntary restrictions in their operations to limit the quantity of air pollutants emitted to below major source levels.

    2) What's in a Permit?

    Air quality permits are legally binding documents that include enforceable conditions with which the source owner/operator must comply.  Some permit conditions are general to all types of emission units and some permit conditions are specific to the source.  Overall, the permit conditions establish limits on the types and amounts of air pollution allowed, operating requirements for pollution control devices or pollution prevention activities, and monitoring and record keeping requirements.

    3) Where can I find the Pima County regulations for air permitting?

    The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) Rules & Regulations page provides links to all PDEQ regulations. Local air quality regulations are contained in Title 17 of the Pima County Code (PCC)

    4) How will I know what Class of permit my source qualifies for?

    In most cases, the class of the air permit depends on the source's total potential to emit (PTE) of regulated air pollutants in tons per year.  Based on the emissions emitting equipment maximum capacity and other factors, PDEQ will review the PTE for your entire source, and then determine the class of your permit.  To apply for any air quality operating permit, complete the relevant air permit application forms located on the PDEQ website.

    5) I have an emission unit that I am only going to use for a few months in a year. What would the appropriate class of permit be?

    In general, the class of the air permit is based on the source's total potential to emit which assumes operation at full capacity for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  If you estimate that your actual emissions and/or production rate are going to be much lower, you may qualify for a lower class of permit such as a Synthetic Minor Source or Minor Source Operating Permit.

    6) How do I know if my emission source is exempt from permitting requirements?

    An emission source is exempt from air permitting requirements if it fails to meet the criteria for requiring an air permit pursuant to PCC 17.12.140.B.

    7) My permit has expired, can I continue to operate?

    If you have an expired permit and you have submitted a complete renewal application at least 6 months, but not greater than 18 months prior to date of permit expiration date, you may continue to legally operate under an expired permit until a new permit is issued by PDEQ.

    8) How long does it take to get a permit?

    The amount of time it takes to get a permit varies according to many factors, including what type of permit it is, its complexity, how controversial the project is, and whether the permit is appealed after issuance.  A major source Class I permit takes between six months and eighteen months.  The time frame for minor source Class II and III permits varies, and often depends on whether the permit is required to go to public review; as a result, the timeframe may be at least four months to a year.  Class III (general permits) permits are designed to streamline the permitting requirements for a large number of sources that are similar in nature, have similar emissions and would be subject to the same or substantially similar requirements governing operations, emissions, monitoring, reporting, or recordkeeping; Class III general permits may be issued within hours or days of the complete permit application submittal.

    If you have any questions or concerns about the timing of the permit issuance, please contact your Air Permit Engineer.  You can find out who your Air Permit Engineer is by contacting the PDEQ Air Quality Permitting Section at (520) 724-7400 or e-mail the Air Quality Permitting Section.

    9) Do I need a permit to construct and/or operate even though I have a new minor source?

    All new sources, unless they qualify for an exemption under Pima County Code 17.12.140 C, require an air permit to operate.  To apply for an air permit, complete the relevant air permit application forms located on the PDEQ website.  Once PDEQ has received your complete permit application, your facility may continue to operate during the permit processing and issuance period understanding that you are subject to all applicable rules and regulations during operation of your facility.

    10) I have an air permit that is going to expire next year. When is the deadline for submitting the application for a renewal?

    A renewal application must be submitted at least 6 months, but not greater than 18 months prior to date of permit expiration.  More information about air permit renewals is available on the PDEQ Air Quality Operating Permits website page.

    11) I am planning to make additions/changes to my current operation. What do I need to do?

    Unless the changes or modifications are by themselves exempt under Pima County Code 17.12.230 or 17.12.240, you will need to apply for a permit revision.  In some instances, you may qualify for an administrative amendment or minor permit revision.  If you do not qualify for an administrative or minor permit revision, a significant permit revision is required.  To apply for any air permit revision, complete the relevant air permit application forms located on the PDEQ website.

    12) I currently have a Minor Source Operating Permit. I am planning to make additions to my facility, but I do not want it to become a major source. What are my options?

    You can take a voluntary limit under Pima County Code 17.12.190 on your production and/or emissions which will let your facility qualify for a Synthetic Minor Operating Permit.  To apply for any air permit, complete the relevant air permit application forms located on the PDEQ website.

    13) I currently have a Class III General Operating Permit. I am planning to make changes at my facility to add or remove an emission source. What are my options?

    All changes are required to be evaluated for permitting.  Your authorization to operate identifies the equipment subject to permitting.  To apply for any air permit revision, complete and submit the relevant air permit application forms located on the PDEQ website.

    14) Where can I find air permit application forms?

    A complete list of air permit application forms is located on the PDEQ website.  You can download and print the application forms in Adobe PDF.  Contact the PDEQ Air Quality Permitting Section at (520) 724-7400 or email the Air Quality Permitting Section if you have additional questions.

    15) How do I know which forms to fill out?

    At a minimum, all applicants need to complete the application form for the specific type of air quality operating permit.  A completeness checklist and filing instructions are provided as guidance with each application.  A new source would need to complete the entire application since PDEQ has no information about the facility, but for a modification, it is only necessary to provide information on the process being changed.

    16) How much will my operating permit modification or amendment cost?

    The air quality operating permit fees for permit related activities are listed in Pima County Code 17.12.510 and 17.12.520 for individual permits and 17.12.400 for general permits.  Contact the PDEQ Air Quality Permitting Section at (520) 724-7400 or email the Air Quality Permitting Section to inquire about permit fees.

    17) I have a specific question about my air permit and/or my facility. Who can I talk to?

    If you know the name of the Air Permit Engineer that is working on your permit, you may contact them directly.  If you are unable to contact your Air Permit Engineer, please contact the PDEQ Air Quality Permitting Section at (520) 724-7400 or e-mail the Air Quality Permitting Section if you have additional questions.

    18) I submitted an application for an air permit/permit/renewal/permit modification recently. What is the status of my application and who has it been assigned to?

    Contact the PDEQ Air Quality Permitting Section at (520) 724-7400 or email the Air Quality Permitting Section to inquire about the status of your application.

    19) The name of my facility changed. What do I need to do?

    A name change with no other associated changes such as a transfer in ownership can be processed through an administrative amendment which does not require a fee.  Send a letter and the completed application cover sheet signed by the Responsible Official notifying us of the name change to:
    Pima County Department of Environmental Quality
    Air Permits Section
    33 N. Stone Avenue, Suite 700
    Tucson, AZ 85701-1429

    "or"

    Submit electronically via email by contact the Air Quality Permitting Section. PDF format is preferable.

    20) What is the life of an air permit? When should I apply for a renewal?

    All air quality operating permits issued by PDEQ including Part 70 (Title V) Class I permits have a 5 year permit term.  The date of issuance and the expiration date are clearly printed on each stationary source operating permit or Authorization to Operate (ATO) issued with each general permit.  More information about air permit renewals is available on the PDEQ website.

    21) How do I know what reports I need to submit?

    You may need to submit annual reports, quarterly reports, and/or other reports and certifications.  Please review the entire permit, with particular attention to subsections titled "Record Keeping and Reporting".

    22) Do I need to submit an Annual Compliance Certification?

    An Annual Compliance Certification form should be submitted to satisfy the annual certification requirements for Part 70 (Title V) sources.  You are required to attach a signed certification of Truth, Accuracy, and Completeness with the annual compliance certification.

    23) How often do I need to submit an Emission Statement?

    For all sources required to submit an emission statement: 
    Once every year if your source is a Title V source and is permitted to emit more than 2,500 tons per year of CO, NOX, or SO2, or 250 tons per year of PM-10.
    Once every three years if your source is a Title V source and is permitted to emit less than 2,500 tons per year of CO, NOX, or SO2, or 250 tons per year of PM-10.

    24) When and where do I submit these reports?

    All air quality operating permit reports are to be submitted to:
    Pima County Department of Environmental Quality
    Air Permits Section
    33 N. Stone Avenue, Suite 700
    Tucson, AZ 85701-1429

    "or"

    Submit electronically via email by contacting the Air Quality Permitting Section. PDF format is preferable.
    NOTE: Sometimes you are also required to send a copy to U.S. EPA Region 9.

    25) I have a permit for a facility or process that has shut down. What do I need to do?

    Part 70 (Title V) Class I permits are required to send a signed letter to us at the following address, and include the permit number, location of the facility, and date when the facility or process was shut down.  All other air quality permits may complete a Notice of Intent to Terminate form available on the PDEQ website for submittal.

    Pima County Department of Environmental Quality
    Air Permits Section
    33 N. Stone Avenue, Suite 700
    Tucson, AZ 85701-1429

    "or"

    Submit electronically via email by contacting the Air Quality Permitting Section. PDF format is preferable.
    A termination approval or denial letter will be issued for facilities requesting termination of their permit. Termination of a permit does not relieve a source of any applicable fees.

    26) I am the owner/operator of a source that may become subject to a new MACT standard. Where can I find information about this?

    Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) is required by Section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act.  MACT requirements are codified in 40 CFR Part 63, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).  All of the latest information about Section 112(d) NESHAPs is located on U.S. EPA's Air Toxics website.

    27) What happens if a source violates its permit?

    A source that violates one or more enforceable permit condition(s) is subject to an enforcement action including, but not limited to, penalties and corrective action.  Enforcement actions can be initiated by PDEQ, EPA or in many cases, citizens.
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    Department of Environmental Quality

    33 N. Stone Ave., Suite 700
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Phone: (520) 724-7400
    Fax: (520) 838-7432


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