Title V Air Permits
We understand the complex world of environmental regulations. We also understand how daunting a task it could be to apply the myriad of applicable requirements and amendments of the CAA to your facility. As such, we are here to help clear up any confusion you may have throughout the process. We negotiate the terms of the permit, prepare the applications, develop policies & procedures to comply with the permit as well as assist with the monitoring & reporting of emissions.
Read on to learn more about Title V Air Permitting or contact us directly to discuss how we can help you find the answers to your compliance questions.
WHAT ARE TITLE V PERMITS?
As defined by the EPA, Federal Operating (Title V) Permits are legally-enforceable documents designed to improve compliance by clarifying what facilities (sources) must do to control air pollution. These permits are issued to all large sources (“major” sources) and a limited number of smaller sources (called “area” sources, “minor” sources, or “non-major” sources).
Most Title V permits are required to include: semi-annual reporting, Continuous Emissions Monitoring (CEMS) and Continuous Opacity Monitoring (COMS), a permit shield condition, processes for submitting malfunction reports, as well as numerous conditions pertaining to daily recordkeeping and operations.
HOW THEY WORK
Title V air permits are intended to be a picture of every emissions-related process and piece of equipment onsite. Permit conditions are written to explain how the facility will comply with applicable state and federal regulations. Compliance is measured through recordkeeping, monitoring, reporting, and testing requirements.
Upon application and issuance of a pre-construction permit, the facility must also designate a Responsible Official. This person will be the point person for all permit-related matters onsite as well as being legally responsible for the content of subsequent compliance reports.
All Title V permits contain various conditions for recordkeeping, monitoring, reporting, and testing for emissions of specified contaminants. Smaller Title Vs and a few select facilities are also allowed to monitor emissions through other means, such as through daily fuel recordkeeping. Similarly, at smaller Title V facilities, a daily Method 9 analysis is often sufficient instead of having a COMS installed.
In most larger Title V facilities Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) and Continuous Opacity Monitoring Systems (COMS) are in place to track actual emissions and flag any permit exceedances. After each permit reporting period expires, a summary report of any permit exceedances is compiled. This report includes the date, time, and extent of any emissions limit exceedance as well as any cause for that exceedance and corrective actions taken. These CEMS reports then become the basis for Title V compliance reporting.
The compliance reports are submitted using Agency-preferred media and templates. Lately due to the Paperwork Reduction Act, most submissions are now done online through submission portals (e.g., ACE, RADIUS, EGGRT). Facility personnel would have to grant permission for Cemtek staff to perform compliance work on their behalf. In most cases, final reports have to be certified and submitted by the designated Responsible Official for the facility.
GENERAL PERMIT CONDITIONS
Title V air permits will share some common permit conditions. A few of these general permit conditions are: Facility Inspection by the Department, Processes for Permit Renewal and Modification, Open Fires Prohibitions, Emergency Defense and, Permit Shield.
The permit shield is included to protect the facility. Compliance with the terms of the permit will be deemed as compliance with the regulations listed therein as of the date of permit issuance.
WHAT IS AN NOV?
An NOV is a Notice of Violation from a state environmental protection agency or the EPA. This action will include a monetary penalty (based on a published penalty schedule), a potential criminal penalty, and directions for action.
If an NOV goes unanswered it will eventually lead to a Consent Order, which is essentially a lawsuit against your facility. You don’t want that. In some cases, an NOV can be disputed and monetary penalties can be reduced if cause is shown and steps are taken to promote future compliance.
WHEN MUST A TITLE V RENEWAL BE SUBMITTED?
Title V permits are good for five years and renewal applications must be received by the Agency no later than 180 days prior to the permit expiration date. Intermittent emission testing, required once during the term of the permit, must also be completed prior to submission of a permit renewal application.
WHAT IS DEMAND RESPONSE?
Demand Response (DR) is a program that has gained popularity in NY and other major cities around the world where facilities cut electricity use at set times. The facility is compensated by the utility, often in the form of lower rates at set times, for adjusting the power demands.
WHAT SORT OF INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED IN A TITLE V APPLICATION?
A Title V air permit, and application, should be a picture of all emissions sources and processes onsite.
Some of the elements of an application would include:
- Address and contact information for the facility and for the Responsible Official
- Emission Source, Unit, Point, and Control Designations
- Make/Model/Date of Installation/Heat Rating/Fuel (s) consumed for each emission unit
- Actual vs Potential to Emit (PTE) Emission Totals for the facility
WHAT ARE THE BASIC COMPLIANCE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS?
Basic Reporting Requirements each year by Permit Level - Using NY State as an example
Title V (Annual Facility Potential to Emit of greater than 25 tons of NOx)
- Permit application with public notice and comment period
- Lists each emission unit, heat input rating, process, applicable regulation, facility potential to emit, and annual actual emissions
- One Annual Compliance Report
- Two Semi-Annual Compliance Reports
- Four Quarterly Compliance Reports
- Submittal of Malfunction Reports
- One Annual Emission Statement
- Along with on time payment of the yearly emissions fee
- Intermittent Emission Testing (once during permit term)
- Permit Renewal (submitted at least 180 days prior to the permit expiration date)
- Permit Modifications (submitted as needed)
- One Greenhouse Gas report (if applicable)
- NSR Permitting (if applicable)
- RACT, BACT, MACT, or LAER compliance certifications (as required)
Maintaining an effective environmental compliance system will save your firm money.
"I once had a client that was being fined $30,000 by the EPA for violating their SO2 emissions limit while burning natural gas. After some investigating we found that this was due to a previous consultant mischaracterizing their operations. They should have had a much higher emission factor for that process. Since there was no actual rise in emissions and no actual exceedance, the EPA agreed to rescind that part of the fine. Your permit must always accurately portray facility operations.
In another case, my client was allowed to use a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) to reduce the total sum of a NOV. They were allowed to use the money onsite for an environmental or public health good instead of sending in for a fine payment. A SEP can be something as mundane as planting trees in common areas or something more technically complex such as improving efficiencies in heating, lighting or refrigeration systems. SEPs provide a way to keep funds onsite, and their application can increase the value of the property."
Cemtek Air Permitting Manager
In our experience smaller facilities are more likely to not have environmental management systems in place. Management turnover is high and there is often little attention paid toward training management in their environmental compliance requirements. Such items should be included in budgeting. It always costs less to do it right the first time. Noncompliance events can cost a facility a great deal of money through NOVs and lost time. There are also often federal and local opportunities and programs that facilities can use to generate capital. If you don’t know to apply, you will miss the potential benefit. A good example of this would be the Emission Reduction Credit (ERC) program in NYC.
Quite frankly it's a shame to see how many facilities continue to pay double, or even triple for what their environmental compliance program should cost because they do not scope the work properly. The following are a couple of real-life examples that our Air Permitting Manager has shared.
Failure to submit Annual Emission Statement (AES)
I worked a job toward the beginning of my career where a smaller client neglected to do their compliance reporting for a full year due to a management change onsite. If we were contracted with them at the time the work would have cost them approximately $40,000.
Among the reports that were not completed was an Annual Emission Statement (AES). For those who do not know if you neglect to submit an AES the state agency can then assume that all of your permitted emission units onsite operated at full capacity for 8760 hours. They then charge you on a dollar per ton basis for “actual emissions” of criteria pollutants. In normal cases this annual fee amounts to around $3000 for this size of a facility. That year the fee was $140,000. Add that fee to the $75,000 in fines from the Agency and this facility nearly had to pay $215,000, before they even had any reports submitted.
We heard about the situation, submitted a proposal to satisfy the backlog, and over the next few months we submitted all of their reports. Finally, we were also able to negotiate the penalties down to more accurately reflect emissions for that time period. Fines were also reduced since all back reports were submitted and the facility was able to demonstrate a sound compliance plan going forward.
The client paid us $48,000 to complete the report backlog and negotiate on their behalf with the Agency under the condition that we would also get contracted for compliance work for the coming year. The potential $215,000 fine was reduced to $69,000.
Unnecessarily operating under a Title V permit
A few years back I had a tough client in NY that was always late to respond to my requests for information or action. They also had a habit of inadvertently giving me incorrect information about site operations. This client did not want an annual contract with a general services task so he generally only picked up the phone when he was in trouble.
So one day a colleague and I decided to make a site visit and get some firsthand site information. We discovered that one of their four diesel oil boilers had been out of service for a little over a year. They had no intention of replacing the boiler. They were running at a low capacity factor so the change would not affect operations. The price of natural gas was also coming down so they also began to consider a fuel switch.
After crunching some numbers, we saw that the actual and proposed changes in operations could lead to a permit reduction, which would save them more than $30,000 a year. In addition to this, the facility was also eligible to apply for Emission Reduction Credits (ERCs). At the current market rate of around $5,000/credit, the application process could have netted them over $125,000. Our costs for the permit and ERC applications would have been around $20,000 at the time. As of this writing, no application has been filed, and the facility is still unnecessarily operating under a Title V permit.