Title V Operating Permit Program
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Title V Operating Permit Program
Title V of the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act requires each state to develop a comprehensive operating permit program for major industrial sources of air pollution. The program clarifies the environmental obligations of a business by organizing in one document all of a business' air pollution control requirements.
The Title V Operating Permit Program does not require any tighter emissions standards; it does, however, place a greater responsibility on the business for monitoring, reporting and certifying compliance with the conditions of the permit.
As defined in the program, a major source of air emissions has the potential to emit 100 tons of any criteria pollutant. Or, for emitters of hazardous air pollutants, a major source has the potential to emit 10 tons of any single hazardous air pollutant or 25 tons of any combination of hazardous air pollutants. A major source can choose to limit its potential to emit through federally enforceable physical or operational restrictions on the facility and can remain in the ACDP program as what is known as a synthetic minor source. Approximately 120 sources are currently permitted under the Oregon Title V Operating Permit program.
Monitoring Responsibilities Increase
The Oregon Title V Operating Permit Program places greater responsibilities on the source of air pollution. When a business applies for a permit, it is required to supply the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) with all the information necessary to draft a permit. After the permit is issued, the permitted source has a responsibility to monitor its compliance with requirements of the permit and to keep detailed records and reports.
DEQ's role is to evaluate the information provided by the business, issue the permit and make periodic compliance determinations through inspections and review of reports and records and take enforcement action when appropriate.
Under the Title V Operating Permit Program, a business has to report on compliance with conditions of its permit at least every six months. At that time, a responsible official must either certify compliance or inform DEQ of noncompliance and submit a schedule to bring the business into compliance. If certifications are falsified, federal and state law provide for both civil and criminal enforcement actions. Violations found to be knowing are now a felony, with potential for imprisonment for up to 5 years and fines up to $250,000.
The 1990 Clean Air Act gives important new enforcement powers to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DEQ. In the past, EPA had to go to court to penalize a company for violations. Now EPA can issue administrative penalty orders of up to $25,000 per violation. Like a police officer giving traffic tickets, EPA also has the authority to fine violators up to $5000 for minor violations observed in the field. DEQ continues to use its authority to issue administrative penalties and also has added enforcement provisions where knowing endangerment from the release of air toxics can carry imprisonment of up to 15 years and fines up to $1 million. Citizen lawsuit provisions also have been expanded in the Act.
Under the Title V Operating Permit Program, there are increased opportunities for the public to take part in determining how the law will be carried out. All new permits, renewals, and significant permit modifications must have a public notice period during which citizens can comment on the permit and request a public hearing. Issues that are not resolved with DEQ can be appealed to EPA. Neighboring states and EPA also have more opportunity to comment on permit content.
The entire cost of the Title V Operating Permit Program is funded through emission fees, base fees and user fees from the regulated businesses. The emission fees will result in the industries with the highest emissions paying the majority of the cost of the program.
What is in a Title V operating permit?
The Title V Operating Permit organizes in a single document all the air requirements which apply to the permit holder. The operating permit follows the same structure and format as the current ACDP but contains greater detail. The operating permit begins with a list of permitted activities and describes all emission units and pollution control devices at the facility. Then the permit lists all of the emission limits and standards which apply to the facility. The next section of the permit describes methods of monitoring and record keeping to be used by the business to determine compliance with all applicable requirements.
Finally, the permit describes the methods to be used by the business for reporting and certifying compliance to DEQ. In contrast, the state ACDPs contain less detail in the identification of emission units. The ACDPs typically do not list all applicable requirements, require less monitoring, and have less detailed record keeping and reporting requirements.
For guidance and forms see Title V Forms and Guidance.
New Emission Levels in Permits
Many of the Title V Operating Permits include increases in permitted emissions. Some of these are actual increases where the permittee has requested higher levels of production or installed new equipment. In these cases, DEQ has required the business to address applicable rules prior to granting any increases in emissions. Other emissions increases, as well as decreases, in the operating permit do not represent an actual emission change but are a paperwork increase or decrease. Many of the paperwork increases result from the new permit including equipment that wasn't covered in the previous ACDP permit. The equipment may have always been operating at the site and meeting all applicable requirements; but unlike the new Title V Operating Permits, the ACDP didn't require all of the equipment to be included in the permit.
Paperwork increases also result from the new permit having expanded to include emission limits for all regulated air pollutants emitted by the devices and processes at the facility. The prior permit may not have included emission limits for all regulated air pollutants. Paperwork increases or decreases may also occur when corrections are made to information used to set emission limits in previous ACDP permits. In prior permits, emission limits were often based on estimated emission factors.
In preparation for the Title V Operating Permit, many ACDP holders extensively tested and measured their actual emissions. This new information almost always leads to an increase or decrease in permitted emission levels. It does not allow an increase or require a decrease in allowable emissions. There is no change in the actual emissions from the business--the paperwork correction improves the accuracy of the permitted emissions.
Hazardous Air Pollutants
The Clean Air Act requires that states use the Title V Operating Permit system to administer the air toxics program. Although the majority of Title V Operating Permits do not contain enforceable limits on specific hazardous air pollutants, most hazardous air pollutants are regulated as particulate or VOCs. The review report of the permit will usually contain rough estimates of other hazardous air emissions. These estimates in the review report are for information purposes only and are not specified as enforceable limits. As techniques for estimating hazardous air pollutant emissions improve, some of these estimates may increase while others decrease.
EPA has set standards requiring companies to sharply reduce "routine" emissions of hazardous air pollutants. EPA will do so by setting performance standards based on the best demonstrated controls and practices for each regulated industry, termed Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT). Should EPA miss an established deadline for setting a MACT standard, the states must issue these standards.
EPA has also established a list of substances that are particularly hazardous when inadvertently released into the air by an unanticipated or uncontrolled event. Title V Operating Permit applications require the business to indicate the range of the facility's annual usage of these chemicals. Facilities that use more than established quantities of these substances will be required to prepare risk management plans and comply with accidental release prevention regulations.
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