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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Washington Air Quality Permit - Notice of Construction Permit (15-WA-a)

This flowchart illustrates the process for obtaining an Air Quality Notice of Construction Permit. The Washington State Department of Ecology (WSDE) oversees the permitting process under WAC 173-400.

Air Quality Permit - Notice of Construction Permit Process

15-WA-a.1 to 15-WA-a.2 – Does the Project Require an Air Quality Construction Permit?

The developer will be required to obtain a Notice of Construction (NOC) air quality permit to construct or modify any building, structure, facility, or installation that:

  • Increases, or may increase, the amount of any air contaminant emitted by such source; or
  • Results in the emission of any air contaminant not previously emitted.

15-WA-a.3 – Is the Project Categorically Exempt?

Construction of a new emissions unit that has a potential to emit less than each of the levels listed in WAC 173-400-110(5) is exempt from new source review.

15-WA-a.4 to 15-WA-a.5 – Does the Project Require an Air Operating Permit?

If the project requires both an Air Operating Permit and an Air Quality Construction Permit, then the developer may enter a consolidated permitting process using the requirements for an Air Operating Permit. WAC 173-400-111(2).

An Air Operating Permit is required if a facility has the potential to emit any of the following:

  • More than 100 tons per year of any pollutant;
  • More than 10 tons per year of any hazardous air pollutant; or
  • More than 25 tons per year of a combination of hazardous air pollutants.

15-WA-a.6 – Conduct Pre-Application Consultation, if Requested

The developer may choose to request a pre-application consultation with the WSDE to go over the application procedure and requirements.

15-WA-a.7 – Notice of Construction Application

The DECY is required to post a notice of the application on their website for a minimum of fifteen consecutive days. The internet posting must include a notice of the receipt of application, the type of proposed action, and a statement that the public may request a public comment period on the proposed action. WAC 173-400-171(2).

15-WA-a.8 – Review Application for Completeness

The DECY will examine the application materials to ensure that all necessary components are included.

15-WA-a.9 to 15-WA-a.10 – Is the Application Complete?

A complete application contains all the information necessary for processing the application. The developer, at a minimum, must provide:

  • Information on the nature and amount of emissions to be emitted by the proposed new source or increased as part of a modification; and
  • The location, design, construction, and operation of the new source as needed to enable the permitting authority to determine that the construction or modification meets requirements. WAC 173-400-111(1)(b).

15-WA-a.11 – Provide Notice of Completeness of Application

Within 30 days after receiving a notice of construction application, the WSDE must either notify the developer in writing that the application is complete or notify the developer in writing of all additional information necessary to complete the application. WAC 173-400-111(1)(a).

15-WA-a.12 – Is a Public Comment Period Required?

The WSDE must provide public notice and a public comment period before approving or denying the following types of applications or other actions:

  • Any application, order, or proposed action for which a public comment period is requested in compliance with the internet posting requirement;
  • Any notice of construction application for a new or modified source, including the initial application for operation of a portable source, if there is an increase in emissions of any air pollutant at a rate above the emission threshold rate or any increase in emissions of a toxic air pollutant above the acceptable source impact level for that toxic air pollutant as regulated under WAC 173-460;
  • Any use of a modified or substituted air quality model, other than a guideline model in Appendix W of 40 CFR Part 51 as part of review under WAC 173-400-110, WAC 173-400-113, or WAC 173-400-117;
  • Any order to determine reasonably available control technology, RACT;
  • An order to establish a compliance schedule issued under WAC 173-400-161, or a variance issued under WAC 173-400-180;
  • An order to demonstrate to creditable height of a stack which exceeds the good engineering practice, GEP, formula height and sixty-five meters, by means of a fluid model or a field study, for the purposes of establishing an emission limitation;
  • An order to authorize a bubble;
  • Any action to discount the value of an emission reduction credit, ERC, issued to a source per WAC 173-400-136;
  • Any regulatory order to establish best available retrofit technology, BART, for existing stationary facility;
  • Any notice of construction application or regulatory order used to establish a creditable emission reduction;
  • Any order issued under WAC 173-400-091 that establishes limitations on a source’s potential to emit;
  • The original issuance and the issuance of all revisions to a general order of approval issued under WAC 173-400-560;
  • Any extension of the deadline to begin actual construction of a “major stationary source” or “major modification” in a nonattainment area; or
  • Any application or other action for which the WSDE determines that there is a significant public interest.

15-WA-a.13 – Post Announcement of Receipt of Application

The WSDE must post notice on its website that an application has been received which does not require a public comment period. The posting must remain on the website for at least 15 days. If anyone requests a public comment period, then the WSDE must provide one.

15-WA-a.14 – Is there a Request for Public Comment?

If there is a request for public comment during the 15 day notice period, then the WSDE will allow a 30 day comment period on the application.

15-WA-a.15 – Comment on Application

The public will be given the opportunity to comment on the application if requested during the notice period.

15-WA-a.16 – Proposed Decision

The WSDE will issue a proposed decision after taking any public comments into consideration.

15-WA-a.17 – Publish Notice of Proposed Decision

The WSDE is required to publish notice of their proposed decision. The notice must include the following:

  • The name and address of the owner or operator and the facility;
  • A brief description of the proposal and the type of facility, including a description of the facility’s processes subject to the permit;
  • A description of the air contaminant emissions including the type of pollutants and quantity of emissions that would increase under the proposal;
  • The location where those documents made available for public inspection may be reviewed;
  • A thirty-day period for submitting written comment to the permitting authority;
  • A statement that a public hearing will be held if the WSDE determines that there is significant public interest;
  • The name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of a person at the permitting authority from whom interested persons may obtain additional information, including copies of the proposed decision, the application, all relevant supporting materials, including any compliance plan, permit, and monitoring and compliance certification report, and all other materials available to the permitting authority that are relevant to the permit decision, unless the information is exempt from disclosure. WAC 173-400-171(6)(a).

15-WA-a.18 – Comment on Proposed Decision

The public is given an opportunity to comment on the proposed decision for thirty days.

15-WA-a.19 to 15-WA-a.20 – Is there a Request for a Public Hearing?

If the WSDE determines that there is a significant public interest, they will hold a public hearing to explain the project to the public. WAC 173-400-171(8)

15-WA-a.20 to 15-WA-a.23 – Does the WSDE Approve the Proposed Permit?

Within 60 days of receipt of a complete notice of construction application, the WSDE must either:

  • Issue a final decision on the application; or
  • Initiate notice and comment for projects requiring it followed as promptly as possible by a final decision.

If the permit is approved, then the developer must comply with all conditions attached to it and pay necessary fees. WAC 173-400-111(9)&(10). Every final determination on a notice of construction application must be reviewed and signed prior to issuance by a professional engineer or staff under the direct supervision of a professional engineer employed by the WSDE. WAC 173-400-111(4)(b).

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