DOEE Proposes Changes to Air Quality Permitting Regulations

On February 3, 2017, the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) proposed two rulemakings which would update air quality permitting regulations.  All permitted emission sources in D.C. would be impacted by the proposed regulatory changes.  Details on some of the major changes proposed in these rulemakings are provided below.

  • Synthetic Minor Permitting Program – DOEE is proposing to create a synthetic minor permitting program.  Currently in D.C., if a facility's potential emissions are above the Title V major source thresholds, the facility is required to obtain a Title V or Chapter 3 operating permit.  With the proposed synthetic minor program, a facility could opt to take a limit on operation or emissions to limit the facility's potential emissions to below the major source thresholds.  Such a facility would then be considered a synthetic minor source and would be permitted under the minor source permitting regulations in Chapter 2 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (20 DCMR 200).  Typically, synthetic minor sources would be subject to less stringent monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.
  • Chapter 2 Permitting Fees – DOEE is proposing to add fees for Chapter 2 or minor source permitting actions.  In order to obtain or renew a Chapter 2 construction, modification or operation permit, the facility would be required to pay a fee.  Currently, there are no application fees associated with air quality permitting in D.C.  Proposed fees are due prior to issuance or renewal of the permit.  The fees are based on the type of source and permitting action and range from $250 for a degreaser – cold solvent tank to $5,000 for a plantwide applicability limit (PAL) or new source review (NSR) permit.
  • Chapter 3 Permitting Fees – DOEE is proposing to substantially change the fees required for Title V or Chapter 3 operating permit sources.  Currently, DOEE charges major sources an annual fee based on actual emissions ($/ton).  The proposed regulations would change the annual fee structure and add an application fee for Title V permits.  Application fees would be based on potential emissions from the permitted facility and would range from $5,000 for facilities with potential emissions less than 100 tons per year (tpy) of regulated pollutants to $30,000 for facilities with potential emissions greater than 1,000 tpy of regulated pollutants.  A $5,000 application fee for synthetic minor sources is also proposed under Chapter 3.  Annual fees would continue to be based on actual emissions.  However, sources with emissions less than 100 tpy of regulated pollutants would follow a tiered cost structure and be required to pay fees of $1,000 to $10,000 depending on actual emissions and facilities with actual emissions of 100 tpy or greater of regulated pollutants would pay a base fee of $30,000 plus an additional $300 per ton of emissions above 100 tons.  All fees will be adjusted for inflation based on the consumer price index.
  • Administrative Amendment Process Update – DOEE is proposing to update their Title V permitting regulations in Chapter 3 to allow for the incorporation of preconstruction permit requirements into Title V permits via the administrative amendment process.  This would allow existing Title V permitted facilities to incorporate Chapter 2 permits for new emission units into their Title V permit through an administrative process which would decrease permit review time.
  • Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 Administrative Updates – DOEE is also proposing to make updates to Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of DCMR to incorporate changes from the Air Quality Amendment Act of 2013 and a May 22, 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulemaking.  The updates are administrative in nature and include revisions to the regulations regarding right of entry and inspection, penalties and injunctive relief, cease and desist orders, hearing rights of aggrieved parties, the process for denying, revoking, suspending, or amending permits, and appeals.  In addition, DOEE is proposing updates to definitions in 20 DCMR 199 including deleting obsolete definitions and updating cross-references.

The proposed rulemaking regarding the synthetic minor program, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 permitting fees, and updates to administrative amendment process can be found here.

The proposed rulemaking regarding the proposed administrative changes to Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 can be found here.

Comments on both rulemakings will be accepted until March 4, 2017 and can be submitted through the links above.

If you have any questions about the proposed regulations and how they would impact your facility or need assistance with preparing comments, please contact Trinity Consultants' Washington, D.C. office at (240) 379-7490.