In Hamilton County, the Air Pollution Control Board and the EPA have primary enforcement authority for air pollution regulations. We have been granted a Certificate of Exemption, which means that the State of Tennessee has relinquished its primary authority to enforce air pollution regulations within Hamilton County and its included municipalities.
Air Pollution Control Regulations
To receive and maintain a Certificate of Exemption from the State, which is renewable every two years, local governments must establish and enforce air pollution regulations that are at least as stringent as state regulations. Local programs are regularly audited by both the state and the EPA to ensure that air pollution regulations are being adequately enforced. In Tennessee, the metropolitan areas surrounding the cities of Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis also have Certificates of Exemption from state supervision. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) enforces air pollution regulations in the remaining 91 counties.
The Air Pollution Control Board and Bureau enforce air pollution regulations, but they do not make the laws. The Board recommends policies and regulations to local governments. Then, Hamilton County, the City of Chattanooga and each municipality within Hamilton County decide whether to adopt recommended air pollution control regulations.
Citizens and industries are given the opportunity to comment on proposed changes in local air pollution regulations. Citizens who wish to become involved in the process are encouraged to get involved with their local governments and to talk with their city and county representatives about their views. Interested citizens are also invited to attend Air Pollution Control Board meetings. Board meetings are usually held on the first Monday of the month at 5:00 p.m. A meeting notice is published in the “Legal Notice” section of local newspapers during the week before each Board meeting.
The Bureau responds to all complaints received concerning possible visible emissions from area companies, burning, odors and suspected asbestos materials. Complaints within Bureau jurisdiction are investigated, while those that are outside of our jurisdiction are referred to the appropriate agency or group. A copy of the written report resulting from our investigation is provided to all complainants who request one.
For local regulations please see the Chattanooga Air Pollution Control Ordinance, which serves as the basis of all air pollution control regulations. Similar regulations have been adopted by Hamilton County and the included municipalities. The following table cross references the Chattanooga Air Pollution Control Ordinance with those in Hamilton County and the cities of Collegedale, East Ridge, Lakesite, Lookout Mountain, Red Bank, Ridgeside, Signal Mountain, Soddy Daisy and Walden. There may be slight variation from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. One should refer to the actual ordinances for precise wording.
|Chattanooga||Hamilton County, Lookout Mt., Ridgeside, Signal Mt., Walden||Collegedale, Lakesite||East Ridge||Red Bank||Soddy Daisy|
|Purpose & Title||
|Test Methods & Rules Cumulative||4-3||3||14-303||8-703||20-103||8-103|
|Permits, Including Asbestos D&R||4-8||8||14-308||8-708||20-108||8-108|
|Charges for Reports||4-9||9||14-309||8-709||20-109||8-109|
|Duty to Keep Records||4-10||10||14-310||8-710||20-110||8-110|
|Certificate of Alternate Control||4-13||13||14-313||8-713||20-113||8-113|
|Two Applicable Standards||4-14||14||14.314||8-714||20-114||8-114|
|Suit to Abate||4-15||15||14-315||8-715||20-115||8-115|
|Right of Entry||4-16||16||14-316||8-716||20-116||8-116|
|Appeals/Hearings/ Judicial Reviews||4-18||18||14-318||8-718||20-118||8-118|
|Reserved||4-22 thru 4-40||22 thru 40||14-322 thru 14-340||8-722 thru 8-740||20-122 thru 20-140||8-122 thru 8-140|
|Rules – Section||4-41||41||14-341||8-741||20-141||8-141|
|Hand-fired Fuel Equipment||5||5||5||5||5||5|
*Signal Mountain Ordinance Title 7, Chapter 2
|Internal Combustion Engine Visible Emissions||9||9||9||9||9||9|
|Transport (Open Air)||11||11||11||11||11||11|
|New Source (NSPS)||15||15||15||15||15||15|
|NESHAPS & MACT||16||16||16||16||16||16|
|Asbestos Emissions Standard||17||17||17||17||17||17|
|Prevention of Significant Deterioration||18||18||18||18||18||18|
|Infectious Waste Incinerators||20||20||20||20||20||20|
|Process Gaseous Emissions||23||23||23||23||23||23|
|VOC’s (New: LAER or BACT)||25||25||25||25||25||25|
|Particulate Matter RACT||26||26 (Hamilton County Only)||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Particulate Matter BACT||27||27||27||27||27||27|
|Sulfuric Acid Mfg. Plants and Oleum Mfg. Plants||28||28||28||28||28||28|
|Part 70 Sources||4-50 thru 4-67||50 thru 67||14-350 thru 14-367||8-750 thru 8-765||20-150 thru 20-165||8-150 thru 8-165|
|General Incorporation by Reference||4-68||68||14-368||8-768||20-168||8-168|
The Bureau monitors industrial air pollution sources through engineering reviews of plant operations, scheduled and unannounced inspections, patrols by Bureau investigators, citizen complaints and self-reporting by the industries.
When violations are discovered, the Bureau proceeds with enforcement actions as deemed appropriate. Enforcement action usually begins with a Notice of Violation (NOV) being issued to the alleged violator. The NOV is ordinarily followed by a Director’s Conference, at which the Bureau staff and the Director discuss the problem with the person or business involved to learn how and why the incident occurred.
During the Director’s Conference, the Director will determine whether a violation of the law has occurred. At that time, the Director determines what action needs to be taken. On occasion, the allegations may be dismissed. As a condition of dismissing the allegations, the Director may issue a Director’s Order, requiring the alleged violator to take action to prevent future violations.
If the Director decides that the matter is serious enough to warrant recommending civil penalties and possible remedial action, the matter will be presented to the Air Pollution Control Board. In most cases, a proposed agreement, called a Consent Order, between the alleged violator and the Board will be drafted. The Consent Order will state the violation, provide for civil penalties, and may include a plan to bring the violator into compliance. If the Bureau and the alleged violator agree upon the terms of the proposed Consent Order, it is presented to the Board. The Board then decides whether to accept the terms of the tentative settlement.
If the Bureau and the alleged violator cannot reach an agreement, the Bureau has the option of bringing the case before the Board in a contested hearing or taking the matter to court. In that event, the Board or the court will hear the evidence and arguments, determine whether a violation has occurred, and decide if any penalties and corrective actions will be required. If the alleged violator does not agree with the Board’s or court’s decision, further judicial review is available.
At any time during the enforcement process, the Bureau and Board may refer a matter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has the authority to enforce environmental laws and assists local and state programs in their enforcement efforts. Also, if the EPA decides that local enforcement has been inadequate in a particular case, or if it has targeted a particular type of industry, it can over-file and enforce federally-approved limitations.
All enforcement cases are a matter of public record. Interested citizens may view these files during normal business hours at the Air Pollution Control Bureau’s offices at 6125 Preservation Drive, Ste. 140, Chattanooga, TN 37416-3740.
State and Federal
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau is one of four counties in Tennessee with a local air pollution control program. These four counties are Davidson (Nashville), Hamilton (Chattanooga), Knox (Knoxville) and Shelby (Memphis). The remaining 91 counties are served by the state’s Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
The Bureau works with the state of Tennessee and the federal government to determine national standards for various air pollutants. Then, communities measure to see if they meet those standards and develop pollution reduction plans for those pollutants that fail. Upon review, these plans are presented by the state governor to the federal government as part of the state’s overall pollution reduction proposal, known as the State Implementation Plan (SIP), to achieve acceptable air qualities throughout the state. The federal government then accepts the SIP or returns it for revamping.
The federal government agency involved is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was created by an executive order from President Nixon. Following its formulation, the EPA eventually singled out several pollutants as most urgently needing attention: hydrocarbons, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate and ozone. For those “criteria” pollutants the EPA set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
Hydrocarbons were dropped from the criteria pollutant list because controlling for ozone would also control hydrocarbons (the precursor to ozone). Lead pollution has never appeared to be a problem in Hamilton County.
State Regulations: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
As stated on The Division of Air Pollution Control’s page:
“The Division of Air Pollution Control is directed to maintain the purity of the air resources of the State of Tennessee consistent with the protection of normal health, general welfare, and physical property of the people while preserving maximum employment and enhancing the industrial development of the State.
The Division directly serves 91 counties within the state and oversees and assists in the actions of Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Shelby counties, which have their own local air pollution control programs.
The Division establishes emission standards and procedure requirements to monitor industries in the State through the issuance of construction and operating permits. Established to carry out control and abatement of air pollution, the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board adopts regulations, holds hearings, and initiates court actions to enforce regulations. Division staff function as the administrative agency of the Board. Other duties include conducting source visits and compliance inspections, developing enforcement cases on violations of the regulations, maintaining surveillance of the state’s ambient air sampling stations, performing and observing stack tests, certifying persons as Visible Emissions Readers, and collecting and disseminating information relative to the control of air pollution.
Federal Regulations: Environmental Protection Agency
EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) works to improve air quality under the Clean Air Act. They develop national programs, technical policies, and regulations for controlling air pollution and radiation exposure. OAR is concerned with energy conservation and pollution prevention, indoor and outdoor air quality, industrial air pollution, pollution from vehicles and engines, radon, acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion, and radiation protection.