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More Air Permitting FAQs

 

What are a Natural Minor, Synthetic Minor, and Major Source?

Answer:
Natural Minor: A natural minor source does not meet any of the applicability criteria specified for a major stationary source or a synthetic minor source. Generally, a natural minor source does not need to rely upon limitations (such as restrictions on hours of operation, fuel usage, air pollution control device removal efficiency, etc.) in calculating the potential to emit of the source. Even without these restrictions or limitations the source still does not trigger major source or, therefore, synthetic minor applicability criteria.

Synthetic Minor: Your facility has a potential to emit that is at or above major source emission thresholds, but you accept restrictions on emission rates, process controls, or other limitations in a permit order to stay below major source emission thresholds.

Major Source: Your facility is considered major if you have the potential to emit equal to or greater than the emission rates listed in Attachment A, B, and/or C.

Sources that are considered major are subject to the permitting requirements of 7 DE Admin. Code 1125 and 7 DE Admin. Code 1130. 7 DE Admin. Code 1125, which is also generally referred to as New Source Review (NSR) and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), is a preconstruction review program for major stationary sources of air pollution. Approval in the form of a permit is required prior to construction, reconstruction, or modification of emission units. 7 DE Admin. Code 1130, which is also generally referred to as the Title V Operating Permit Program, is an operating permit program for major sources.  If you are subject to 7 DE Admin. Code 1125 and 7 DE Admin. Code 1130, the process to obtain a permit is more complex and therefore, more lengthy. If you have additional questions, contact Air Quality Management at (302) 739-9402 if you are in Kent or Sussex County or (302) 323-4542 if you are in New Castle County.

What happens when I submit an application to construct or operate?

Answer:
This depends upon the type of permit you are requesting and the permitting program you are subject to. As discussed previously, you may be classified as a natural minor, synthetic minor, or major source depending upon your potential to emit. The timeframe to obtain a permit from the Department depends upon your facility’s classification. Please remember that you can not commence construction, operation, and/or alteration of equipment prior to receiving Air Quality Management approval (in the form of a permit.)

Natural Minor: Upon receipt of an application, an Air Quality Management engineer or scientist will be assigned to your facility and will evaluate your project before proceeding with the process to issue a permit to construct. This evaluation is based upon the information you put in your application. This information includes but is not limited to: the proposed air pollutant emission rate(s), plans you provide regarding the design and intended operation of the equipment, and manufacturer’s specifications regarding air pollution control equipment.  

The Air Quality Management Section is required to advertise receipt of your application including a brief description of the project and associated emissions. The advertisement is public noticed once in Sunday’s classified section of the Delaware State News and The News Journal. Following this advertisement, your application will be made available in the Dover and New Castle Offices for public review and comment for a period of fifteen (15) days. The public can request a public hearing during this time period. 

Air Quality Management considers all comments. A final permit will be issued only after addressing any comments received including the outcome of a public hearing, if requested.

A construction permit will take 90 days from receipt of a complete application. However, if a public hearing is requested, issuance of the permit is dependent upon the results of the public hearing and can take significantly longer.

Once you have received your construction permit and then completed construction, you may request permission to operate. You will need to contact your assigned engineer or scientist. A time will be setup for the Air Quality Management personnel to inspect and observe the equipment in operation.  Provided the inspection indicates compliance with State and Federal rules and regulations, Air Quality Management will issue you a permit to operate. Note, you may only operate the equipment and/or air pollution control equipment for the purposes of debugging and the compliance inspection. You may not operate the equipment until such time as you have received Air Quality Management approval.

After you have received your Construction and then Operating Permit, it is your responsibility to comply with the terms and conditions of the permits. If you have any questions regarding the meaning of the terms and conditions of your permits, it is important that you contact your assigned engineer or scientist to review your obligations.

Synthetic Minor Source: Upon receipt of your application, an Air Quality Management engineer or scientist will be assigned to your facility. In this instance, you are required to identify in your application any limits (such as fuel usage, hours of operation, minimum destruction efficiency for air pollution control equipment, etc.) that you will ensure that the emissions from the facility will be below major source threshold.  

Your assigned engineer or scientist will evaluate the project based upon the information in the application before proceeding with the process to issue the permit. This information includes but is not limited to: the proposed air pollutant emission rate(s), plans you provide regarding the design and intended operation of the equipment, and manufacturer’s specifications regarding air pollution control equipment. A draft permit will be developed. 

The Air Quality Management Section is then required to advertise your application and draft permit in the Sunday Delaware State News and The News Journal in the classified section. Following this advertisement, your application, copy of your draft permit, and any other supporting documentation will be made available in the Dover and New Castle Offices for public review and comment for a period of thirty (30) days. The public can request a public hearing during this time period. 

Air Quality Management considers all comments received and may modify the draft permit based upon those comments. A final permit will be issued only after addressing any and all comments received including the outcome of a public hearing, if requested.

Once you have received your construction permit and then completed construction, you may request permission to operate. You will need to contact your assigned engineer or scientist. A time will be setup for the Air Quality Management personnel to inspect and observe the equipment in operation.  Provided the inspection indicates compliance with State and Federal rules and regulations, Air Quality Management  will issue you a permit to operate. Note, you may only operate the equipment and/or air pollution control equipment for the purposes of debugging and the compliance inspection. You may not operate the equipment until such time as you have received Department approval.

After you have received your Construction and then Operating Permit, it is your responsibility to comply with the terms and conditions of the permits. If you have any questions regarding the meaning of the terms and conditions of your permits, it is important that you contact your assigned engineer or scientist to review your obligations.

Major Source: The process to obtain a construction permit, pursuant to 7 DE Admin. Code 1125, Preconstruction Requirements, and then an operating permit, pursuant to 7 DE Admin. Code 1130, (Title V) State Operating Permit Program, for a major source is more complex and also more lengthy. If you think that you may be considering a project to construct, modify, and then operate equipment that is major, please contact Air Quality Management and schedule a “pre-application” meeting. The purpose of such a meeting is to help you identify applicable requirements and to help ensure that you submit a complete application. 

More Air Permitting FAQs

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