Environmental Permits Handbook
Air Quality Construction Permit
Any person wishing to construct an air contaminant source or to modify an existing air contaminant source, is required to obtain a construction permit from the Tennessee Division of Air Pollution Control (APC). Examples of air contaminant sources include:
Air contaminant sources typically are classified as major or minor sources depending on their potential to emit pollutants. Major sources generally are (1) those that are subject to New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and have potential total facility emissions greater than 100 tons per year (tpy), and (2) other sources with potential total facility emissions greater than 250 tpy or more of the following criteria pollutants: carbon monoxide, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, lead and ozone (indirectly determined from emissions of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides). Examples of major sources are TVA power plants, chemical manufacturers, some secondary metal production facilities and large printing operations.
Minor sources are sources of air contaminants that are not major sources and are not exempt from construction permit requirements. Examples include concrete batch plants, medical waste incinerators, and small surface coating and printing operations.
APC Rule Chapter 1200-3-9 contains the general requirements for construction permits. Specific requirements that limit emissions from individual processes are located at various points in the regulations. It is suggested that anyone filing a construction permit application first contact the Division for assistance in identifying all applicable rules.
Applicants must submit the following items at least 120 days before starting construction for major sources, and at least 90 days in advance for minor sources:
Contact the Division of APC for information concerning applicable forms.
In addition, some major sources may need to submit one year of preconstruction air quality monitoring data for the relevant area, emission control plans that include the best available control technology, and ambient impact analysis based on air quality modeling. Contact the Division of APC for information concerning requirements for major sources.
When applications are submitted, the Division of APC reviews them for completeness. The applicant is notified in writing of any deficiencies. When the necessary items are complete, a draft permit is prepared. Notices of minor source draft permits are published for public review. Major source draft permits go through a public review process where the public, affected states and the EPA's comments are solicited. A public hearing is held if significant interest is displayed. After considering public comments and a final supervisory review, a final decision is made, and the permit is issued or denied. Under state law, a construction permit for a minor source must be issued within 115 days after receipt of a complete application. For major sources, the permit is to be issued within six (6) months after receipt of a complete application. The entire permit process may take two (2) to four (4) months for minor sources and five (5) to more than 12 months for major sources.
Permits are issued for the period of time required to complete construction and to meet any start-up conditions identified in the permit - usually less than one (1) year.
Construction application fees are based on the total of all regulated pollutants emitted by the source, except for carbon monoxide.
Title V facilities do not pay construction application fees.
Upon issuance of the permit, the applicant may proceed with the approved construction. An applicant denied a permit may appeal to the APC Board. Some minor changes and extensions to the construction permit can be made administratively. Any modification to the air contaminant source requires a construction permit. The construction permit is not transferable.
The Division is responsible for protecting the air quality of Tennessee. A construction permit ensures that any new, modified, replaced or relocated air contaminant source or business complies with all air quality requirements and will not have a detrimental impact on human health or the environment.
The Division has the right to conduct inspections and to suspend or revoke any construction permit if the permit holder fails to comply with permit conditions. The Tennessee Air Quality Control Act provides for civil penalties up to $25,000 per day for each day of violation.
For air contaminant sources located in Davidson, Hamilton, Knox or Shelby counties, the applicant must contact and obtain a construction permit from the applicable county air permit agency. For all other counties, applications and assistance can be obtained from the Division of Air Pollution Control. New applicants who need more than one permit can contact their regional Environmental Coordinator for further assistance. The Office of Environmental Assistance: Clean Air Assistance Program provides regulatory compliance assistance to small businesses through workshops and onsite visits.
Applicants may refer to the following publications for further information: