Conditionally exempt facilities and technical standards

Technical standards. Certain types of facilities are exempted from needing an air quality permit if they follow these specific requirements.

Notification. To operate under a technical standard, the facility must meet and follow all the requirements and notify the MPCA.

Common questions

Why are there technical standards? The MPCA has heard from small businesses that air quality permit applications are too complex and overwhelming, so technical standards are designed to be simpler and easier to follow than a permit. Technical standards allow facilities with low overall air emissions to bypass the paperwork and cost of an air permit while remaining environmentally protective. The requirements are written to echo federal requirements that many facilities are already following and common best practices in the industry. Proof of compliance is generally based on business information that most facilities are already tracking.

Do I still have to follow federal standards, such as NESHAPs? Yes, you still have to follow the federal standards that apply to your facility. Following a technical standard only exempts your facility from MPCA air quality permitting. All other MPCA requirements and federal requirements still apply.

What if I don’t qualify for a technical standard or don’t want to use one? If your facility doesn’t qualify to use a technical standard, calculate the facility’s potential emissions to determine if a permit is needed. Very small facilities may qualify as an insignificant facility. If your facility needs a permit, small facilities usually qualify for a registration air permit. If you prefer to have a permit rather than follow the technical standard, you can apply for a permit. The technical standard is offered as an alternative to a permit.

What if I already have a permit? Shops that already have a permit can keep their permit or switch to a technical standard if they qualify and follow the requirements. The technical standard is offered as an alternative to a permit. The proper way for your facility to switch from a permit to technical standard is by requesting to void your permit online using MPCA’s Notice of Permit Termination e-Services. There are two guidance documents available to assist with e-Services. One is for first -time users called PDF icon Getting started with MPCA e-Services (p-gen1-17); the second is the PDF icon Guidance: Notification of permit termination e-Service (p-gen1-18).

What if I want to follow a technical standard, but my facility has been operating without a permit or I’ve missed a notification deadline? The MPCA encourages you to get into compliance with the technical standard and submit the notification form.

If I had a permit and switch to this technical standard, do I have to submit an emissions inventory and pay fees? You will still have to submit your emission inventory and pay fees for the previous year’s emissions. If you receive an invoice, pay it. However, after that, you will no longer have to submit an emission inventory or pay emission inventory fees. For example, if you void your facility’s permit in the middle of 2019, you will have to submit the emission inventory for 2018 and pay the fees, but you won’t have to report or pay fees for any emissions produced during 2019.

How do I calculate my air emissions? The File VOC and HAP total air emissions calculator (p-sbap5-41) can be used for coating and auto body facilities that purchase or use 2,000 gallons or more of coating and cleaners per year and seek eligibility based on emitting 20,000 pounds or less of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and 12,000 pounds or less of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP). If you have a woodworking facility, the File Particulate matter air emissions calculator (p-sbap5-40) can be used for Option 1 of the technical standard; limiting emissions to less than 40,000 pounds per year. A series of air emission calculators are available to help identify if your other air pollutant activities are insignificant activities based on emission limits. For example, if you have a boiler, process heat, or other indirect heat exchangers, such as air make-up units, see the File Boiler air emissions calculator (p-sbap5-21). If you are a small business and need help with calculating air emissions or have any questions, contact the business assistance helpline at 800-657-3938 or email.