Notice of construction permit

We issue a notice of construction permit to businesses to make sure Washington meets state and federal air quality requirements. A notice of construction permit limits the amount of air pollutants a business can emit. This permit is sometimes called a "pre-construction permit" because you must have one before you start construction or operate your business.

Public comment opportunities for air quality permits or orders

When we receive an application for a notice of construction air permit or a general order, we post a 15-day notice on our website. During that time, you can request that we conduct a formal 30-day public comment period. An application for a larger facility with a certain level of air pollution, or significant changes to an existing permit, may automatically trigger a 30-day public comment period.
To view current notices, applications, public comment periods, and to request a formal comment period, visit our public input and events listing page, select ‘Air Quality’ and use the filters to refine your search.  

Who needs a permit

Whether your business needs a notice of construction permit depends on the equipment or its emission levels. You may need a notice of construction permit if your business is:

  • New.
  • Replacing or changing air pollution control equipment.
  • Increasing its air pollution emissions.

Apply for a permit

The agency that issues your permit depends on the location of your business. We issue permits in the counties that do not have a local clean air agency. To apply for a permit:
  1. Determine if a local clean air agency issues your permit.
  2. If an agency other than Ecology issues your permit, contact them. Each agency has its own application and process.
  3. If Ecology issues your permit, contact us. We will verify if your business needs a permit.
  4. Read the permit application instructions.
  5. Fill out a SEPA checklist, if required
  6. Fill out a notice of construction application. 
  7. If your business emits toxic air pollutants, then you may have an extra level of review, called a health impact assessment.
  8. Send us your application and permit fee.

Some types of businesses are regulated statewide:

Type of business Agency Location/phone
Pulp and paper mills, aluminum smelters Ecology Industrial Section Olympia
Hanford Ecology Nuclear Waste Program Richland
Large power plants Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) Olympia

Permit timeliness

Processing time for permits can vary significantly. The average time to complete an application is 86 days, followed by an average of 46 days to receive a decision on the application.

Annual permit requirements

After a business receives a permit, most must join the registration program. A business in the registration program pays a yearly fee for the amount of air pollution listed in their permit.