Commercial and industrial businesses that emit large amounts of air pollution are required to get an air operating permit. An air operating permit is a master document that lists all of the air pollution requirements that apply to a business or industry. We issue these permits along with other local clean air agencies in Washington.
Apply for an air operating permit
A business must turn in an air operating permit application 12 months before it has the potential to emit:
Even if a business emits less than these amounts, EPA may decide that it still needs an air operating permit.
- More than 100 tons per year of any air pollutant.
- More than 10 tons per year of any hazardous air pollutant.
- More than 25 tons per year of a combination of hazardous air pollutants.
The federal rules that might apply include:
A permit is valid for five years. A business must apply for renewal 6 – 18 months before the current permit expires.
Agencies that issue air operating permits
Agencies that issue air operating permits include:
- Ecology Air Quality Program in Central Regional Office
- Ecology Air Quality Program in Eastern Regional Office
- Ecology Industrial Section — aluminum smelters and pulp and paper mills
- Ecology Nuclear Waste Program — Hanford
- Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) — stationary thermal power plants with generating capacity of 350,000 kilowatts or more
- EPA — tribal lands
- Local clean air agencies
Twice a month, we publish a Permit Register that lists milestones for air operating permits.
Draft permits and public comment opportunities
To check for a public comment period and review a draft permit:
Budget and fees
Every two years, we prepare a workload model and a budget projection. The projection evaluates the cost of reviewing and tracking air operating permits. When the draft workload analysis and budget have been published, we announce a public comment period in the Permit Register. After the public comment period, we finalize the workload analysis and budget.
At the end of each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30), we prepare an annual report summarizing air operating permit program work and fees.
We publish the current fiscal year’s fee schedule every year by October 31.