The most significant way that the Air Pollution Control Bureau controls air pollution in Hamilton County is by permitting facilities that are potential sources of air pollutants. All industry operating in Hamilton County that have the capability to emit any air pollutant is required to obtain an air pollution permit. This permit may be in the form of a Certificate of Operation for minor pollution sources or a Part 70 Operating Permit for major sources. The Bureau engineering staff addresses all permitting issues for the companies to which they are assigned, and conduct annual inspections, track air emissions, and develop special operating conditions to ensure compliance with the applicable rules and regulations.
Part 70 Operating Permits (Major Sources)
As mandated by Title V of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the Bureau implemented an operating permit program that applies to major sources of air pollution. In 1996, the EPA approved the program. In addition, Congress required that a fee structure be put into place to have the major sources pay for the administrative costs of the permit program, thus shifting the burden from tax payers and placing it on the sources of air pollution.
Local companies are considered major sources* of air pollution if they meet the following the following criteria:
the potential to emit 100 tons or more per year of any criteria pollutant the potential to emit 10 tons or more per year of any one of the 188 listed hazardous air pollutants or 25 tons or more of any combination of the listed hazardous air pollutants acid precipitation sources any other source the EPA Administrator determines by rulemaking should be included.
* Certain companies are required by EPA to keep their major source status even if they no longer pollute at major-source levels.
Synthetic Minor Sources
These pollution sources have the potential to emit what would be considered major sources of air pollution, subjecting them to Part 70 requirements, but have agreed to enforceable permit limitations to reduce their potential to emit. As long as these sources do not violate the conditions which are placed in their current certificates of operation, they are not subject to Part 70 requirements and fees.
Companies that have the potential to emit pollution but do not meet the major source criteria are under this classification. Minor source companies must obtain a certificate of operation for each piece of equipment or process that may release pollutants into the air. Special operating conditions are developed for each certificate to ensure compliance with all application rules and regulations. The minor sources are subject to the same regulations as Part 70 major sources and synthetic minor sources.
Industries that are potential sources of air pollution must receive an installation permit before constructing, installing, or reconstructing any equipment that has the potential to emit air pollutants. Installation permits contain emissions limitations and operating requirements that must be agreed to by the source prior to receiving the permit. A certificate of operation must be issued or a Part 70 permit application must be received prior to operating the equipment.