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Lower High Falls, Talladega Forest - Bill Wilson
Air Permitting

Many sources that anticipate constructing or modifying an air emission source within the Air Division's jurisdiction have the following questions regarding the permits issued by the Air Division:
  • What types of air quality permits/certifications does the Air Division issue?
  • Who must apply for an air quality permit/certification?
  • What permit application form(s) must I submit?
  • How much will my permit(s) cost?
  • How long will it take for my permit(s) to be issued?
  • When can I start construction?
  • When can I start operation?

The Air Division issues many types of air quality permits/certifications. The table below lists each type of permit, the regulatory basis for requiring/issuing the permit, and the duration of each permit.

Type Basis for Permit Duration
Air Permit (Minor Source)335-3-14-.01Does not expire
Air Permit (NSR/PSD)335-3-14-.04Does not expire
Air Permit (Gasoline Transporters)335-3-6-.20Permit does not expire, but Air Sticker must be renewed annually
Major Source Operating Permit (MSOP)335-3-16-.035 years
Synthetic Minor Operating Permit (SMOP)335-3-15-.03Does not expire
Acid Rain Permit335-3-185 years
Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) Permit335-3-8-.185 years*
NOx Budget Trading Program Permit335-3-8-.055 years
Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) Permit335-3-215 years**
Asbestos Removal Contractor Certifications335-3-11-.051 year

* The application has been developed, but no permits have been issued to date.
** This program does not begin until 2010. CAMR permit applications have yet to be developed.

Except for the Asbestos Removal Contractor Certifications, each air quality permit consists of a cover page identifying the type of permit, the permittee name, the facility name (if different from permittee name), the facility location, the date the permit is effective, and the date the permit expires (if applicable). After the cover page, there are standard provisos (general conditions that would apply to most sources) followed by source specific provisos (emission standards, monitoring requirements, recordkeeping requirements, or reporting requirements that would apply to each source based on the nature of that process/equipment or any source-specific regulations to which the source is subject). The certificate issued for the Asbestos Removal Contractor Certification is a one page document identifying the contractor's information, the issuance date, and the expiration date of the certification.

Who must APPLY FOR an Air Quality Permit/Certification?

Division 3 regulations require that any source that plans to construct or modify equipment or a process that has the potential to emit air contaminants apply for a permit from the Air Division. For the purposes of the Air Pollution Control Program, ADEM Admin. Code r. 335‑3‑1‑.02 defines a "source" as "any building, structure, facility, installation, article, machine, equipment, device, or other contrivance which emits or may emit any air contaminant." Division 3 regulations require air emission sources to comply with all applicable regulations whether or not they have been issued a permit by the Air Division.

The Air Division has not established a list of source types or sizes that are exempt from permitting. The Air Division determines, on a case‑by‑case basis, whether or not an air quality permit is necessary. However, certain thresholds have been established level that specify which sources must obtain certain types of air quality permits. These are considered "major source thresholds". There are two permitting programs that have major source thresholds established: Title V Major Source Operating Permit Program and New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program.

Title V Major Source Operation Permit Program

Title V of the Clean Air Act required the establishment of federally enforceable operating permit programs which would consolidate into one document, all applicable air pollution control requirements to which a "major" source is subject. A major source is defined as a source with the potential to emit 100 tons/year or more of a criteria pollutant, a source with the potential to emit 10 tons per year or more of a single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) or 25 tons per year or more of any combination of HAP.

Facilities are required to submit a Title V application within one year of the facility start up or within one year of becoming a major source. For new facilities, Air Permits are generally issued to the facility prior to the issuance of a MSOP. These Air Permits authorize construction and operation until the issuance of the MSOP. The MSOP has a five year term and is renewable. A complete application to renew a MSOP must be submitted to the Department at least 180 days prior to the expiration of the MSOP. If a renewal MSOP is not issued prior to the expiration of the current MSOP, then the current MSOP is still in effect until the issuance of the renewal. This is applicable only if the renewal application was timely and complete.

Title V Permit Application Requirements

Title V Trivial and Insignificant Activities Lists
Lists of activities at a major source that do not require permit applications or to be listed in the Major Source Operating Permit (otherwise known as a Title V Operating Permit). However, activities that are subject to federal requlations (NSPS, MACT, PSD or NESHAPS) cannot be exempted from the permitting process. Insignificant activities must be listed in the permit applications, while trivial activities do not.

Title V Annual Compliance Certification
This document, when completed properly, meets the minimum requirements for the Annual Compliance Certification required under Title V Major Source Operating Permits.

New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration (NSR/PSD) Program

PSD for Attainment Areas
Facilities are subject to PSD permitting requirements if the project by itself is a major source (i.e. it has potential emissions of regulated pollutants greater than 100 tons per year (TPY) or 250 TPY depending upon the source category) or if the facility is already a major source and the project will have potential emissions greater than specific significance levels. If the project is undergoing the PSD permitting procedures, the facility must propose in the application Best Available Control Technology (BACT) to be required on the project, and must perform an ambient air quality modeling review, among other requirements, to insure that the air quality in the area is adequately protected.

NSR for Nonattainment Areas
Facilities are subject to Nonattainment NSR permitting requirements if the project by itself is a major source (i.e. it has potential emissions of regulated pollutants greater than 100 TPY) or if the facility is already a major source and the project will have potential emissions greater than specific significance levels. If the project is undergoing the Nonattainment Area permitting procedures, the facility must propose in the application Lowest Achievable Emission Rates (LAER) to be required on the project. These represent the greatest level of controls that are currently being achieved at other sources. Additionally, the facility will be required to create "offsets" at least equal to the amount of emissions from the project by creating reductions in existing emissions in the surrounding area.
What Permit Application form(s) must I submit?

Sources are encouraged to call the Air Division prior to submitting an application. The permitting staff will discuss the project with the applicant and provide guidance to the applicant as to what information and forms, if any, should be submitted. An application must be submitted at least 10 days prior to commencing the construction or modification of an air emission source.

The Air Division utilizes the same application forms for Air Permits, MSOPs, and SMOPs. Each permit applicant must complete an ADEM Form 103 (Facility Identification Form) for each project. This form must be signed by the appropriate facility representative. Process/equipment specific forms are also required to be submitted in an application. Which forms are required is dependent upon the specific process(es) being constructed or modified. These forms are:

ADEM-104 Indirect Heater Permit Application Form
ADEM-105 Manufacturing or Process Permit Application Form
ADEM-106 Waste Disposal Permit Application Form
ADEM-107 Internal Combustion Engine Permit Application Form
ADEM-108 Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Storage Tanks Permit Application
ADEM-109 Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Surface Coating Permit Application
ADEM-110 Air Pollution Control Device Permit Application Form
ADEM-112 Solvent Metal Cleaning Permit Application Form
ADEM-437 Compliance Schedule Permit Application Form

Other specialized forms are utilized for certain industry sectors or programs. For each of the activities listed below, the submittal of an ADEM Form 103 is not required.

ADEM-197 Stage 1 Gasoline Dispensing Permit Application Form
ADEM-198 Gasoline Transport Tank Truck Application
ADEM-52 Approval Procedures, Registration Form and List of Approved Incinerators
ADEM-496 Notice of Asbestos Demolition Form
ADEM-497 Asbestos Removal Contractor Certification Form
ADEM-436 PERC Dry Cleaner Update Form
ADEM-440 Petroleum Solvent Dry Clean Questionnaire
ADEM-426 NOx Budget Permit Application Form
ADEM-427 NOx Budget Retired Unit Exemption Claim Form
ADEM-519 CAIR Permit Application

When preparing a permit application, an applicant should provide all of the information requested on the application forms and ensure that they are using the current version of each form. In addition to the completed forms, it is helpful to the Air Division permit writer if the applicant provides a narrative which describes the proposed project and what effect, if any, the proposed project would have on any existing processes (e.g. would the proposed equipment replace existing equipment or would the proposed project affect the capacity of another process upstream or downstream).

An applicant should determine the potential emissions of all air pollutants from the proposed project and determine whether the proposed project would be able to comply with all applicable State and federal regulations. If the applicant initially determines that the proposed project could exceed an applicable emission standard, the applicant should propose controls in the application that would ensure that the proposed project could comply with all applicable standards. If a proposed project could cause the source to exceed a major source threshold (either under Title V or PSD), the applicant must decide whether it wants to be regulated as a major source or whether it wants to take restrictions to limit its potential to emit below the major source threshold. If the applicant decides that it wants to remain below the major source thresholds, it must propose restrictions in the application which will ensure that the proposed project would not result in the exceedance of any major source thresholds.

How much will my Permit(s) cost?

Permitting fees are charged for construction activities which require an Air Permit or Synthetic Minor Operating Permit (SMOP) and for modifications to units with existing permits. There are no "permit" fees charged for the issuance of Major Source Operating Permits. For Title V major sources, the fee charged for each ton of pollutant emitted each year is intended to cover the costs associated with issuing and modifying those permits.

The fee regulations for air quality permits are found in Schedule A of Division 335‑1 of the ADEM Administrative Code. Additional permit application fees are required by ADEM Admin Code R‑335‑1‑6‑.04 to include: Greenfield site fees, public notice fees, public hearing fees, and name change fees.

Fees for Air Permits and Synthetic Minor Operating Permits vary greatly since the fees charged are dependent upon which State and federal regulations may apply to a permitting project. The applicability of many Air regulations is determined based on one or more of the following factors: the type of process, the compounds utilized in the process, and the "size" of the facility based upon the potential emissions on a facility‑wide basis.

The fact that Air Permits and Synthetic Minor Operating Permits are issued on a per process basis makes it necessary for the Air Division permit writers to conduct a preliminary application review to determine the application fees that will be required. Except for applications that may be submitted by some industry sectors (i.e. gasoline stations, gasoline transporters, and asbestos abatement contractors), applicants should not submit application fees with the application. Applicants are issued a fee letter requesting the correct fees following the preliminary application review.

How long will it take for my Permit(s) to be issued?

The time required to obtain an air quality permit can vary depending upon the type of permit(s) required and the number and type of air emission sources being constructed or modified. For an Air Permit or SMOP that authorizes the construction or modification of an air emission source, the Air Division can typically issue the permit within 4-6 weeks of the date a complete application is received. For an Air Permit for a project undergoing PSD review, the Air Division can typically issue the permit within 120 days of the date a complete application is received. The additional time for these permits is necessary due to the complexity of the analysis involved and the procedural requirements.

When can I start construction?

Division 3 regulations specifically prohibit construction until after the applicant is issued the appropriate permit for the following projects:

1. Air Permit or SMOP authorizing construction of a new facility at a Greenfield site; and
2. Air Permit to authorize construction of a project undergoing NSR/PSD review

For other types of projects, the applicant is allowed to commence construction 10 days after submitting an application. However, an applicant should contact the Air Division if they are not sure whether construction is prohibited prior to obtaining the appropriate permit.

When can I start operation?

For a project that requires construction, the issuance of an Air Permit or SMOP does not authorize the applicant to start operation. Permits authorizing construction contain a condition that requires the applicant to provide a written notification to the Air Division when construction of the equipment/process is complete and prior to commencing operation. The notice must state whether the project was completed as proposed in the application, and if not, what changes were made. Upon review of the notification, the Air Division will determine whether a Temporary Authorization to Operate (TAO) should be granted. If so, the TAO provides a time period for facility personnel to make any necessary adjustments to the unit(s), become familiar with procedures for proper operation and maintenance, and conduct any required emission testing. In addition, it will allow Air Division personnel the opportunity to inspect the unit(s) and verify the accuracy of the information provided in the permit applications. Upon conducting an inspection of the new equipment/process and reviewing the results of any required testing, the Air Division will determine whether an Authorization to Operate should be granted.

Contact Information

Attn: Air Division
Post Office Box 301463
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-1463
(334) 271-7861
(334) 279-3044 fax