Air permitting compliance is a crucial aspect of operating a facility that generates air emissions. The process involves obtaining permits from regulatory agencies that establish requirements to demonstrate that the facility operates within limits set by air quality regulations.
Air permitting is not just for industrial operations but impacts many businesses.
In Miami-Dade County, Florida, the agency responsible for issuing air permits is the Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM). Businesses that emit air pollutants, such as fine particulate matter (dust), volatile organic compounds, and hazardous air pollutants, or which operate combustion equipment such as ovens, furnaces, boilers, and backup power generators must obtain air permits to operate legally. The Florida Department of Environmental Quality provides state guidance here. These permits are required to ensure that the facility’s emissions are within limits set by air quality regulations and that the facility is taking the necessary steps to control and reduce emissions.
Local business example
In the case of one apparel printing facility in Miami-Dade County, SCS Engineers (SCS) was hired to assist with obtaining the necessary air permits from DERM. The scope of services included reviewing current and proposed operations information, calculating air emission estimates, and preparing the narrative and application forms. SCS also prepared a Request for Information (RFI) to confirm the necessary background information, such as equipment specifications, facility layout, projected usage, and operating records. The deliverables included an Air Construction Permit Application and an Air Operating Permit Application. In this case, SCS could prove that the client did not need a permit even though the regulatory agency thought they might.
What are the steps?
The process of obtaining an air permit can be complex and time-consuming, which is why businesses often hire specialized environmental engineering firms to assist them. In this example, SCS provided DERM with a detailed report and application package, including a process flow diagram, equipment specifications, and actual and potential emissions calculations.
It’s important for businesses operating in Miami-Dade, or any county, to understand the air permitting process and the regulations set by local authorities. Environmental engineering firms can provide more accurate and detailed information, so management understands the specific air quality regulations that apply to their business.
The value is in implementing the practices necessary to maintain compliance with air quality regulations and keeps your reputation with workers and the community stellar. Businesses continuing to operate illegally face administrative and civil violations, court actions, and potential environmental insurance challenges. Another consideration is that the same engineering firm can likely advise you on stormwater and groundwater permits and compliance for your facility.
About the Author: Troy Schick, PE, is a Project Manager based in our Miami, Florida, office. He is a Professional Engineer licensed in Florida and a Qualified Stormwater Management Inspector.
Stormwater and Air Permitting Compliance Resources for Businesses: