Regulating particulate matter

Information on PM2.5 emissions must now be included in all total facility permit applications (state and Part 70) and permit amendment applications. The MPCA will be requesting that facilities amend total facility permit applications already submitted that do not contain information on PM2.5 regardless of when the application was submitted. The MPCA may also request updates to permit amendment applications already submitted. For example, permit amendment applications that are incorporated into a reissued total facility permit may need to be updated to include PM2.5. Exceptions may be made by the MPCA on a case-by-case basis.

Frac sand mining

The MPCA has experienced an increase in proposals to mine Frac sand along with corresponding public interest in those projects. Information is available on the Frac sand mining in Minnesota page.

Background

The new national ambient air quality standard for PM2.5 became effective on September 16, 1997. Soon after that, EPA issued an interim policy for New Source Review (NSR) that allowed states to use PM10 as a surrogate for PM2.5. This policy went away with EPA’s final rule on implementing NSR for PM2.5 which became effective in Minnesota on July 15, 2008. That rule also established January 1, 2011 as the end of the NSR transition period for PM2.5; because that date has passed, NSR permits must account for condensable emissions in PM2.5 and PM10 limits. Similarly, permits that limit particulate emissions below NSR major source levels or major modification levels must account for condensable emissions. EPA’s rule is limited to a facility’s obligations under PSD for projects that are subject to the requirements of PSD and to projects where the facility demonstrates that PSD does not apply. The MPCA’s position on PM2.5 permitting beyond PSD is now established.

Discussion

All permit applications must include information on PM2.5 as required by Minn. R. 7007.0500. This information includes, but is not limited to, emission calculations (Emissions Calculations Forms), emissions source and total facility potential and actual emissions (Form GI-07), and new source review status (Forms GI-09C and CH-04). Please note that the MPCA is in the process of amending its application forms to include information on PM2.5. Even if a form does not clearly identify PM2.5, the information may still need to be provided. In general, wherever criteria pollutant information is required on an application form, it should be assumed that PM2.5 is also required.

The MPCA believes that dealing with PM2.5 during the processing of a facility’s total facility permit is prudent because it will avoid delays in the gathering of such information during the processing of subsequent permit amendment applications that the facility may submit. These amendments are often more time critical for facilities to obtain than total facility permits.

More Information

For more information or assistance, contact the MPCA at 651-296-6300 or 1-800-657-3864. Or send a question through the Ask MPCA Web-based form.