A general permit is a permit that covers a specific category of facilities/ sources that have similar operations and types of emissions. Individual permits are unique to each facility based on the facility's operations, type and amount of emissions, equipment, and other factors. Because individual permits for some categories of sources can contain very similar or, in many cases, identical emission limitations and requirements, their standard contents have been compiled into one pre-approved permit that can be applied to certain categories of sources. This is a general permit.
In an effort to streamline permitting as required under Section 39.10 of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (Act), the Illinois EPA is providing general operating permits for two new categories of true minor sources: portable material (non-waste) crushing plants and soil/groundwater remediation systems. In addition, the Illinois EPA is updating and expanding the general operating permits for stationary concrete batch plants from the existing six to twelve and adding four new general operating permits for portable concrete batch plants.
With these additions, available general permits from the Bureau of Air include:
Once a source has a general operating permit they can add or modify emission units without having to obtain a construction permit or revised operating permit up to the number of emission units allowed by the general operating permit they are requesting coverage by. This saves the source time and money since they do not have to prepare a construction and operating permit application, pay the construction permit application fee, and wait for their permit to be issued each time they want to add or modify an emission unit as long as they can comply with the general operating permit limits. This increases efficiency for the Bureau of Air as it reduces the number of permit applications reviewed and issued for true minor sources of pollution so more resources can be allocated to reviewing and permitting larger sources of air emissions.
In order to obtain coverage by the general operating permits being provided pursuant to Section 39.10 of the Act, the source must complete and submit a Notice of Intent to be Covered Form and the appropriate construction permit application fee if they are a new source or portable source requesting coverage by a joint general construction and lifetime operating permit. If the source is an existing non-portable source, then just the appropriate Notice of Intent to be Covered Form would need to be completed and submitted in order to obtain coverage by one of the lifetime general operating permits.
Upon Bureau of Air Permit Section review of the Notice of Intent to be Covered Form, either the appropriate general permit would be issued and a copy sent to the applicant or the applicant would be notified of deficiencies with their Notice of Intent to be Covered Form. If the noted deficiencies are rectified then the appropriate permit would be issued and a copy sent to the applicant.
It is important to note that only true minor sources of emissions are eligible for general permits. Air pollution sources whose potential to emit (PTE) is less than the major source annual emission thresholds are considered minor sources. Potential to Emit (PTE) is defined at Section 39.5 of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and is used to predict the release of air contaminants from an emission source operating at its maximum rate capacity, 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. A true minor air pollution source is one that, even operating at its maximum capacity and continuously, cannot exceed the major source annual emission threshold levels. A true minor source should not be confused with a synthetic minor source which is an air pollution source that has a Federally Enforceable State Operating Permit (FESOP) with conditions that legally restrict its PTE to below the threshold levels.
A major source is defined as any stationary source (or any group of stationary sources that are located on one or more contiguous or adjacent properties, and are under common control of the same person or persons) belonging to a single major industrial grouping and is described in one of the following:
Potential to emit is the maximum capacity of a stationary source to emit any air pollutant under its physical and operational design after any required reduction by air pollution control devices. Note that this is calculated considering the maximum capacity of the equipment (use 8760 operating hours per year).
If you have questions regarding the general permits please email Charlie Zeal or call him at 217-785-1715.