Permitting FAQs

Permitting Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my business needs an air permit?

Air pollution permits are required for "air contaminant sources." A business may have any number of sources at its facility. Each source requires its own permit unless it is specifically exempted.

What is an "emissions unit" or an "air contaminant source"?

An emissions unit is a term used to define a source of air pollution. The actual definition as found in OAC rule 3745-77-01: An "emissions unit" means any part or activity of a stationary source that emits or has the potential to emit any regulated air pollutant or any pollutant listed under section 112(b) of the Act. The term is not meant to alter or affect the definition of the term "unit" for purposes of Title IV of the Act. This definition allows some flexibility in defining an emissions unit. Generally it is a machine or operation which emits a pollutant.
There are four ways to determine an air contaminant source:  
1. Something that has a stack, dust collector, or vent, such as shot blasters, grinders, and storage tanks.
2. Processes using paint, solvents, ink, or adhesives, such as paint booths, printing presses, and solvent cleaning tanks.
3. Processes that burn a fuel such as boilers and furnaces.
4. Processes that produce visible smoke or dust, and/or produce an odor, such as incinerators, unpaved roadways, and material handling.
If you are unsure if your air pollution source is considered one or more emission units, contact the Agency to inquire. 

Whom do I contact in order to obtain an air permit?

The Agency is the local air agency regulating Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties. If you have a facility in one of these counties, please call 513-946-7777 during the Agency’s business hours and one of our Environmental Compliance Specialists will assist you. If you have a facility in any other Ohio county, refer to the Ohio EPA District Offices & Local Air Pollution Control Agencies.

How do I get help with my air permit?

There are several options to obtain assistance for filling out these forms or for general EPA related matters. The first is to simply contact your Ohio EPA representative. It is highly recommended that you discuss your plans with the appropriate Ohio EPA representative very early in the process to make the process go as smoothly as possible. You may have to contact several people within Ohio EPA. For example, if your project involves air pollution emissions units and wastewater discharges, then you will need to contact the air and wastewater sections in the appropriate local office.

You can also contract with environmental consultants for assistance. The Ohio EPA cannot recommend any one consultant. It is highly recommended that you get references before hiring a consultant. Consultants have a wide range of experience and expertise so it is important for you to find out if the consultant you plan to hire can do the job you need done correctly.

The Ohio EPA Small Business Program is available to help small businesses get permits. This is a confidential service.

Where can I obtain the permit application form?

Companies can go to the Ohio EPA’s website to obtain the permit application form.

When should I file and how long will it take to get a permit?

Both the final Permit to Install and Permit to Install and Operate must be obtained before beginning any construction of a new air pollution emissions unit. This means that it is very important for companies to plan for sufficient lead time for the time it takes to get a permit. The actual time it takes can vary for many reasons, including: the length of the review process, the completeness of the application, the complexity of the applicable regulations, the need for a draft permit and/or public hearing, Ohio EPA permit review backlogs, among others. Expect this process to take four to six months for normal permits, one to two years for major new facilities. It is best to contact the Ohio EPA field office representative as soon as you know about the need to install a new emissions unit. Ask them to estimate the time it will take and plan accordingly. When you fill out your application be sure to complete all information requested which is applicable to your situation. If you are unclear if you need to complete a form or part of a form, contact your field office representative. This will help assure your application is complete and will prevent delays due to an incomplete application.

What happens if I don't have all the information but still need a permit?

The application forms require a lot of information. Most of that information is needed for the review. However, sometimes a data item is not needed for your particular situation. If you don't have some information requested on the application, contact your Ohio EPA representative and ask them if it is needed. They can often give you advice on the need for that data element or how best to submit the data you do have.

Where do I send my application?

Applications should be submitted to the Ohio EPA field office or local office that covers the facility location. Some companies are required to submit applications electronically using the Ohio EPA’s Air Services. For facilities in Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties, send the applications to: Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency, 250 William Howard Taft Road, Cincinnati, OH 45219

Certain facilities may have to submit their permit applications electronically. For more information, consult with this Ohio EPA website.