Air Quality FAQs
|Does the size of my business matter?||No. The size of your business is not a determining factor in permitting. The need for an air permit is based upon the amount and type of air pollutants emitted from the business. Even a small business may need a permit.|
|Does the location of my business matter?||Yes, your location is important. Clark and Washoe counties operate their own air quality management programs with separate permitting processes. If your facility is located in either of these counties, contact the following agencies for additional information:
• Clark County Department of Air Quality:
• Washoe County Health District, Air Quality Management Division:
For all other areas of Nevada, air pollution regulations and permitting requirements are enforced by:
• Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s (NDEP) Bureau of Air Pollution Control:
|Which air emissions are regulated?||Regulated air pollutants are defined in the Nevada Administrative Code. There are six criteria pollutants: particulate matter (PM) as PM10 and PM2.5, sulfur dioxide carbon, monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead and ozone. Other regulated pollutants are particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, mercury, hydrogen sulfide, hazardous air pollutants, and greenhouse gases. Stationary sources that emit these pollutants may need an air permit.|
|What types of activities or equipment produce air emissions?||State and federal air regulations may apply to your business if you emit air pollutants such as particulates, dust, fumes, gases, mist, smoke, vapors or odors. The following four questions can often help identify a potential source of air pollution. Do you:
• Have something with a stack, dust collector or vent?
Examples: abrasive blasting, wood and metal sanding, grinding, and crushing
• Use a process that includes paints, varnishes, solvents, adhesives or other chemicals?
Examples: painting and coating, solvent cleaning and degreasing, and floor cleaning.
• Use a process that burns fuel (e.g., oil, natural gas, coal)?
Examples: boilers, furnaces, incinerators, emergency generators, and heat treating units.
• Have an area that produces visible dust or smoke?
Examples: construction and demolition activities and material handling.
|Do all air emission sources require permits?||No. Some businesses are exempt and do not need an air permit. An emission source is exempt from air permitting requirements if the facility does not meet the minimum thresholds under the Nevada Administrative Code.|
|If I do not need a permit, I do not have to comply with any air regulations, right?||Wrong. You might. Many smaller sources of air pollutants were recently exempted from state air permitting requirements. However, just because an air permit is not required does not mean a facility does not have air quality regulations to follow. For example, small perchloroethylene dry cleaners, auto body shops, gas stations, and small emergency generators no longer need an air permit but they are still required to follow federal standards for emissions of hazardous air pollutants.|
|I have regulated emissions and I am not exempt, what are my next steps?||Make a process flow diagram. This will help you communicate the technical aspects of your process or activity. Include all pieces of equipment, all equipment emission release points, and provide a descriptive narrative. Identify each emission unit and, for each, specify all throughput rates, heat input rates, fuel usage rates, and specify if emission controls are employed.
Calculate your potential emissions. In order to calculate your emissions you take either the material throughput or the fuel consumption rate of an emission unit and multiply it by an emission factor. This gives you the quantity of a pollutant emitted. The emission factor may be obtained from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Compilation of Air Emissions Factors (AP-42) available on EPA’s website or from the equipment manufacturer.
|I have evaluated my emissions and think I need a Washoe County air permit, what kind of permit do I need?||Stationary sources: In Washoe County if your facility anticipates to emit any more that 2 pounds per day of a criteria air pollutant or one pound per day of a hazardous air pollutant, you will need a permit. There are several permit types with Washoe County for this depending on if you are a gas dispensing operation, fuel burning equipment, or a general source.
Title V permitting: This permit is designated for sources of air pollution that have the potential to emit over 100 tons of any air pollutant per year.
Dust control: A dust control permit may be required in Washoe County for any activity that disturbs one or more acres of soil. This may include mass grading, demolition, landscaping, etc.
If you are not sure what permit your facility will need please contact the BEP program and we will be able to assist you.
|I have evaluated my emissions and think I need an NDEP air permit, what kind of permit do I need?||Class I (major) permits are for facilities that emit more than 100 tons per year for any one regulated pollutant, more than 10 tons per year of any single hazardous air pollutant (HAP), or more than 25 tons per year for any combination of HAPs.
Class II (minor) permits are typically for facilities that emit less than 100 tons per year for any one regulated pollutant, less than 10 tons per year of any single HAP, and less than 25 tons per year for any combination of HAPs.
Surface Area Disturbance (SAD) permits are issued for surface area disturbances of more than 5 acres.
General/Construction at a Location (COLA) permits are issued for temporary portable equipment (less than 12 months) for road and highway construction at a location.
|How do I get a permit application?||Download an application in PDF or Word format by clicking here,
Download an application in PDF for Washoe County by clicking here.
Or contact the BEP team and we can provide you with any applicable forms.
|At what point should I submit an air permit application?||Apply for a permit as early as possible. You cannot commence construction of an emission unit or begin operating without the necessary air permits.
NDEP, BEP, and Washoe County staff are available for pre-conference meetings to discuss an applicant’s plans and to provide feedback on the type of permit potentially needed.
You cannot start construction of an emission unit or begin operating until you have an NDEP or Washoe County approved permit.
|How long will it take to get a permit?||The length of time varies greatly depending on the type of permit as well as the facility size- and location. Our best advice is to be prepared and plan in advance if you think you need a permit. Class I permits generally take longer to complete and receive approval. Each permit type has its own review and regulatory timelines, which range from four months to over a year.
In Washoe County the permitting process may take up to 180 days. This is why it is so important to make sure your business submits a complete permit application with as much detail as possible.
|What should I do when I receive my permit?||Read your permit carefully to ensure it specifies the proper equipment, processes, and throughput rates. Make sure you understand all monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Develop your facility’s operating procedures for monitoring and recordkeeping and make sure staff is trained accordingly. If you have any questions, contact UNR-BEP, NDEP, or Washoe County Air Quality Management Division staff as improper monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting can result in a violation.|
|How long is my permit valid?||Nevada air permits are generally good for one or five years.|
|I have an air permit that is going to expire next year. When is the deadline for submitting the application for a renewal?||This depends on which class of permit you are filing for. A Class I permit must be submitted at least 240 days prior to the expiration date of the current permit but not earlier than 18 months. A Class II permit application must be submitted at least 70 days before the expiration date of the current permit.
It is in your best interest to submit the permit renewal far in advance of the renewal deadline date. If you do not submit your renewal permit before the 240 or 70 day deadline for the appropriate class you will be required to submit a new permit application once the renewal deadline date passes. If you submit your renewal permit immediately before the 70 day deadline for the Class II permit and it is deemed incomplete, you will be required to re-submit it as a new permit application.
|What if I change or modify my process or equipment?||A permit revision will be required if your emissions increase. To obtain a revision submit the permit revision application and processing fee to NDEP or Washoe County. Permit revisions are required before construction or a modification can occur. You could be in violation if your facility’s process or equipment does not match those specified in the permit.|
|I have evaluated my emissions and do not believe I need an air quality permit—is there a way to confirm this?||Yes. Fill out the Class II Air Quality Operating Permit Applicability Determination Form located on NDEP’s website and send it in. The agency will confirm whether or not you need a permit and send a letter back to you. Keep a copy of your determination form and NDEP’s reply letter.
The key to a quick turnaround is submitting high quality, detailed and complete applications. The most common delays in permitting are due to incomplete applications with insufficient detail or calculations, or lacking a process flow diagram for the permit writers to evaluate. Seeking assistance early can help with the process.
Unlike NDEP, Washoe County Air Quality Management Department does not offer an applicability determination. In order to confirm if you will need an air quality permit in Washoe County you may contact BEP staff to confirm or deny permitting requirements.
|Where can I go for assistance?||If you need help determining if you need a permit or understanding the compliance obligations that may apply to your business, contact BEP and one of our environmental professionals can help. Primarily set up to assist small and medium sized businesses, all of our services are strictly confidential and free of charge. Call us at (800) 882-3233 or email us at email@example.com.
More information about Nevada air quality regulations is available through the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.
More information about Washoe County Air Quality regulations and permitting is available through WCHD Air Quality Management Division.