August Mack Newsletter | July, 2018

Avoiding an Air Permit Violation When Your Permit Does Not Include All the Requirements
by Alic Bent

Air permits consist mainly of requirements that are regulated by the State that a facility is located in. However, there may be other requirements that are applicable to your facility but are not listed in your air permit. This is true for emission units at facilities that belong to one or more of the federal regulation under the area source category for National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutant (NESHAP) or Maximum Achievable Control technology (MACT) standards. The U.S. EPA regulates the emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) from specific industries and processes through the MACT standards.  Historically, the U.S. EPA and most facilities have focused their attention on permitting and complying with the more widely known major MACT standards for facilities with substantial emissions of HAPs. Therefore, it may come as a surprise that your smaller facilities are subject to one of the area source MACT categories.  

The area source MACT standard may or may not be cited or included in your permit depending on your State’s delegation status for each MACT category. Unlike the major source MACT rules, the area source rules have largely not been adopted by individual states. This does not mean that your facility does not need to comply with the rules; however, it does mean that the requirements will most likely not be included in your air pollution control permit. So if you are an area source of HAPs for one of the listed categories, do not assume that compliance with your permit equals compliance with applicable area source MACT rules. It is also possible that your facility may not currently have an air permit and you are not aware that due to the area source MACT applicability you are now required to be permitted under a general permit, permit by rule or registration. Therefore, it is important to be aware of any MACT rules that apply to your industry.

Determining applicability of an area source MACT standard.

Developing a hazardous air pollutant emission inventory. First, you will need to determine if the facility is an area or major source. This is done by developing an inventory of all HAP emitting emission units, and calculating the potential to emit for the worst case single HAP and the combined total HAPs. If your facility has the potential to emit any single HAP in quantities greater than 10 tons per year and/or a combination of HAPs in quantities greater than 25 tons per year, the facility is considered a major source of HAPs.  Sources that emit HAPs but do not exceed the major source thresholds are considered “area” sources (sometimes referred to as “non-major” sources) for HAPs.

Determining applicable source categories. Since 2004, the EPA has adopted area source MACT standards for approximately 70 area source categories. These standards regulate 33 pollutants emitted from a variety of different sources. Each MACT standard is specific to that category’s operations. A review of all the potentially applicable MACT standards are required to determine which categories, if any, will apply. Some of the area source categories for which MACT standards have been put in place are shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1. List of Some of the 70 Source Categories Regulated Under Area Source Standards

Aluminum Foundries

Lead Acid Battery Manufacturing

Asphalt Processing & Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing

Medical Waste Incinerators

Autobody Refinishing

Miscellaneous Coatings

Brick & Structural Clay

Misc. Organic Chemical Manufacturing (MON)

Chemical Manufacturing: Chromium Compounds

Municipal Landfills

Chemical Preparations

Municipal Waste Combustors

Chromic Acid Anodizing

Nonferrous Foundries

Clay Ceramics

Oil and Natural Gas Production

Commercial Sterilization Facilities

Paint Stripping

Copper Foundries

Paints & Allied Products Manufacturing

Decorative Chromium Electroplating

Pharmaceutical Production

Dry Cleaning Facilities

Plastic Materials and Resins Manufacturing

Fabricated Metal Products

Plating & Polishing

Ferroalloys Production: Ferromanganese & Silicomanganese

Polyvinyl Chloride and Copolymers Production

Flexible Polyurethane Foam Production

Prepared Feeds Manufacturing

Hard Chromium Electroplating

Publicly Owned Treatment Works

Hazardous Waste Incineration

Primary Nonferrous Metals-- Zinc, Cadmium, and Beryllium

Hospital Sterilizers

Secondary Copper Smelting

Industrial Boilers

Secondary Lead Smelting

Industrial Inorganic Chemical Manufacturing

Secondary Nonferrous Metals

Industrial Boilers

Stainless & Non-stainless Steel

Industrial Inorganic Chemical Manufacturing

Manufacturing: Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF)

Industrial Organic Chemical Manufacturing

Stationary Internal Combustion Engines

Inorganic Pigments Manufacturing

Steel Foundries

Institutional/Commercial Boilers

Synthetic Rubber Manufacturing

Iron Foundries

Wood Preserving

Navigating combined area and major source requirements. Most of the MACT categories were written strictly for major or area sources. However, there are some standards which include language for both major and area sources as a part of the same document. Examples of this are 40 CFR 63, Subpart ZZZZ for reciprocating ignition combustion engines (RICE), which includes requirements for all your emergency generators, and 40 CFR 63, Subpart RRR for secondary aluminum foundries. You must be able to navigate both major and area source requirements to determine applicability.

Once In Always In (OIAI) policy withdrawal. The new January 2018 U.S. EPA change regarding the OIAI policy, while a welcome change, will now add another layer of difficulty for area source MACT applicability. The OIAI Policy, which required that a major source of air pollution always be classified as a major source, was officially rolled back by the EPA at the end of January. Without this regulation, major sources—facilities that have the potential to emit 10 tons per year (tpy) of any single HAP or 25 tpy or more of any combination of HAPs—may be re-classified as a non-major or area source after reducing their emissions below this threshold. Facilities that are considering opting out of the major source MACT category will need to: apply for the addition of enforceable emissions limitations to their operating permit, obtain authorization from local permitting agency, and ensure ongoing documentation of emissions decreases. 

Determining Compliance

Once the applicable area source regulations are identified, your facility must take steps to achieve compliance. Here are some steps to consider:

Identify compliance requirements

Use an audit to develop regulatory compliance requirements. Items that will be identified during the audit will include inspection, reporting, recordkeeping, monitoring and training requirements; good management practices; and frequency of compliance activities.

Develop compliance activities

One of the best ways to ensure that all requirements are tracked is to create a comprehensive list of all required activities according to frequency. The list should be made up of template forms and procedures.

Assign responsibility and train personnel

Training should be provided to the assigned responsible personnel by a person experienced in compliance procedures. The training will familiarize the assigned responsible person with the procedures to be performed to maintain compliance.

Monitor progress

Make sure compliance activities are being completed. Follow up on action items, document and maintain an Inspector file.

Verify effectiveness of activities

Review for needed modifications, to determine accuracy of recordkeeping and reporting and complete documentation.

To learn more about this topic, register to attend our free webinar, Avoiding an Air Permit Violation When Your Permit Does Not Include All the Requirements, on September 5, 2018 @ 3:00pm.

Alic Bent is a project engineer at August Mack Environmental, Inc. in its Indianapolis, Indiana office. He has more than ten years of experience in preparing air permit applications, storm water pollution prevention plans, air emission inventories, spill prevention, containment and countermeasure (SPCC) plans and stack testing. Alic can be reached at 317.916.3124 or via e-mail at

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