4 The record articles

Pennsylvania Plan Approval Expiration Date/Duration Revisions

Posted: March 23rd, 2011

Author: All4 Staff 

Facilities in Pennsylvania should be aware of a recent change in the interpretation of standard Plan Approval (i.e., construction permit) language regarding Plan Approval duration and “shakedown” periods. The change impacts the temporary operation of a new, or newly modified, source authorized under a Plan Approval and has caught a number of companies by surprise. In approximately 2008, a new condition in Plan Approvals issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) was added into Section B, General Plan Approval Requirements. Condition #003(e) of that Section now automatically shortens the expiration date of a Plan Approval to 180 days from first operation under the shakedown provisions of 25 Pa. Code §127.12b. Interestingly this condition is not based on regulatory language, but is a new interpretation by PADEP of the meaning of a “shakedown period.” Companies need to note that this language change is present in all recently issued Plan Approvals. 

If a source needs additional time to be ready to move from Plan Approval status to Operating Permit status (e.g., more time is needed for debugging or for compliance testing), it will be critical to track the date associated with the 180 day expiration date. In order to obtain an extension to the expiration date, a formal request must be submitted at least 30 days before the Plan Approval expires, or 150 days after startup of the source. Once all Plan Approval requirements (e.g., compliance testing) have been completed, an Administrative Amendment can be filed under §127.450 to incorporate the Plan Approval requirements into the facility’s operating permit and no further Plan Approval extensions will be needed provided that the Administrative Amendment is submitted in a timely manner. 


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