About Engineering and Permits
The Air District's Engineering Division issues and annually renews air quality permits for equipment that emits air pollutants in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and the southern portions of Solano and Sonoma counties.
What is a permit?
An air quality permit is a document that states the requirements for equipment to comply with air pollution laws and regulations. Air quality permits, like city and county building permits, are required by state and federal law and are required for any entity that may emit air pollution to ensure healthy air for Bay Area residents. These permits are issued by the Air District.
The Air District issues and reviews federal Title V Major Facility and Synthetic Minor operating permits.
In addition, the Air District reviews New Source Review (NSR) permits, which are needed for:
Any equipment that may emit air pollution
- Modifications of existing permitted equipment
- Existing permitted equipment at a facility with a new owner
- Permitted equipment that is transferred from one location to another
- Installation of abatement equipment used to control emissions
The NSR permit system requires an engineering review of the equipment design and may require an inspection of the installed equipment to ensure compliance with Air District regulations. Two types of NSR permits may be required:
- An Authority to Construct, issued after Air District engineers review a proposed project and determine if it is capable of complying with air quality laws; and
- A Permit to Operate, issued after the project is built and compliance is demonstrated.
Both the Authority to Construct and the Permit to Operate are issued under the same permit application. By granting a permit, the Air District indicates that permitted equipment should be able to comply with all air quality rules and regulations.
Who needs a permit?
Any person, business, or agency that puts in place, builds, erects, installs, modifies, modernizes, alters or replaces any equipment or anything that may cause, reduce or control the emission of air pollution.
Typical large businesses that need permits include bulk petroleum operations, chemical plants, refineries and power plants. Typical small businesses include dry cleaners, gasoline service stations, auto body shops, coating operations and printers.
The Air District has a Permits Ombudsman who acts as a liaison with regulated businesses, trade associations, other regulatory agencies, environmental organizations and community members in order to promote and direct permit and compliance assistance activities. The Permits Ombudsman works with businesses and community groups in resolving issues related to permit/compliance assistance and regulatory requirements. For assistance in these matters, contact the Permit Ombudsman, Joe Slamovich, at (415) 749-4681.
New Permit Applications Received
The Air District posts information on new permit applications on a weekly basis. A full listing is available on the New Permit Applications webpage.
The Permit Ombudsman is Joe Slamovich, (415) 749-4681.