4 The record articles

TCEQ Air Quality 101 Blog Series – Title V FOP Renewals

Posted: July 14th, 2017

Authors: Frank D. 

Let’s talk Title V Federal Operating Permits (FOPs) in Texas.  The Title V Operating Permit concept was introduced as part of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) and was promulgated as 40 CFR Part 70 – State Operating Permit Programs.  Following promulgation, states could develop their own Major Source Operating Program to include the provisions specified in 40 CFR Part 70 or could defer to the Federal Operating Permit Program as specified in 40 CFR Part 71. The Texas Title V regulations are codified as 30 TAC Chapter 122 – Federal Operating Permits Program.  Title V FOPs are required for major sources, which are sources defined in 30 TAC §122.10(13), as well as other affected sources specified in 30 TAC §§122.120(a)(2)-(4).  Unlike new source review (NSR) permits that are required for new or modified sources on a pre-construction basis, the intent of a Title V FOP is to consolidate the applicable air quality requirements (e.g., emission standards, permit limits, recordkeeping requirements, reporting requirements, etc.) associated with a facility into a single permit. Title V FOPs also provide stakeholders (i.e., businesses, TCEQ, U.S. EPA, the public, local government agencies, etc.) a clear picture of facility operations, and what activities the facility must meet to demonstrate compliance.  Generally, a Title V FOP is authorized for and renewed in five-year increments.  Title V FOP applications and renewals are subject to public notice requirements and typically are reviewed by U.S. EPA.

Read on as the two key authorizations under the TCEQ Title V FOP program: Site Operating Permits (SOPs) and General Operating Permits (GOPs) are discussed.  Continue exploring the blog to find ALL4’s five Title V SOP and GOP renewal tips, which you don’t want to miss.

Site Operating Permits

As stated above, the applicable air quality requirements associated with a facility are consolidated into a single permit encompassing an entire site (e.g., generally applicable requirements, site specific requirements, and emissions unit specific requirements) in an SOP.  In Texas, existing affected facilities were required to submit initial applications by February 28, 1998.  For newly affected facilities, initial operating permit applications are required before the new source or modification can operate. When submitting an initial operating permit application, a facility must meet the 30 TAC §122 procedural requirements, which include having an affected state review, a public notice, an opportunity for comment hearing, and a U.S. EPA review. Title V operating permits typically have a term of five years.

In accordance with 30 TAC §122.241(b), renewals of a SOP must be submitted in a timely manner (i.e., between six and 18 months prior to the existing SOP expiration date) every five years.  As a courtesy, TCEQ sends renewal notification reminders to facilities 12 months before the expiration date of the SOP.  However, if you don’t receive a letter, your obligation to submit a timely and complete renewal application remains.  When submitting an operating permit renewal application, a facility must meet the 30 TAC §122 procedural requirements, which include having an affected state review, a public notice, an opportunity for comment hearing, and a U.S. EPA review.  TCEQ has identified a target of approximately 365 days for issuing renewed SOPs (found here).

An authorized SOP has an organizational structure that includes a table of contents, general and special terms and conditions, attachments and appendices.  Special terms may include specific emissions limitations, monitoring, testing, recordkeeping or reporting requirements.  One example of what a special term may include is a limit on emissions of particulate matter (PM) from any source to not exceed the allowable rates as required in 30 TAC §111.151(a).  Another example of a special term in a SOP is a requirement to comply with the highly reactive volatile organic compound (HRVOC) recordkeeping and reporting requirements of 30 TAC §115.726.  SOP attachments can include such items as permit shields, compliance schedules, applicable requirements summaries, and New Source Review (NSR) authorization references.

General Operating Permits

GOPs are fundamentally different from SOPs.  GOPs contain requirements that are issued to a variety of similar sites and allow a more streamlined Title V permitting process for eligible sources.  To use an analogy: GOPs are similar to minor NSR standard permits (SPs) because GOPs contain uniform requirements that apply to sources defined through a category.  Sources opting for GOPs must agree to “up-front” terms and conditions to be permitted under a GOP and must meet those conditions to operate under a GOP.  GOPs are federally enforceable and are typically broken into sections that include qualification criteria, site-wide requirements, compliance assurance monitoring (CAM) applicability, periodic monitoring requirements, a statement of basis, and a cover letter.  The available GOPs can be found at TCEQ’s website here.  A few examples of GOPs include GOP No. 511 – Oil and Gas GOP for Brazoria, Chambers, Collin, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Fort Bend, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Orange, Tarrant, and Waller Counties, GOP 517 – Municipal Solid Waste Landfill GOP, and GOP 518 – Air Curtain Incinerator GOP.

Issued GOPs are also required to be renewed every five years and renewal applications must be submitted at least six months, but no earlier than 18 months before the expiration date of the GOP, in accordance with 30 TAC §122.505(c).  As a courtesy, TCEQ is to send renewal notification reminders to facilities 12 months before the expiration date of the GOP, as well.  However, if you don’t receive a letter, your obligation to submit a timely and complete renewal application remains.  When submitting a GOP renewal application, a facility is required to submit all required information through an application cover letter, accompanied by applicable application forms.   For GOP renewal applications, TCEQ has set forth a target of approximately 210 days for issuing renewed GOPs (found here).

Five Title V FOP Renewal Application Tips

When preparing, and submitting a SOP or GOP renewal application it is essential to be aware of TCEQ’s strict information requirements.  ALL4 has renewed countless Title V operating permits over the years and have compiled our top five tips identified below:

  1. Ensure that a SOP or GOP renewal application contains correct information to avoid time consuming back-and-forth communications between the permittee and TCEQ.  From identifying any updated company data, site operations, unit specific information, and providing a permit shield, all information must be accurate.
  2. Confirm that an authorized individual signs the application, that various components of the application are consistent (i.e., correct emissions limits identified throughout the various application forms, consistent source nomenclature throughout the application, etc.) and that process flow diagrams depict current operations appropriately.
  3. Take the time to review permit conditions and assess repetitive requirements, outdated requirements, etc.  Permit streamlining is often overlooked and underutilized in the Title V FOP renewal process, so be sure to propose revised or streamlined requirements that can simplify your life.
  4. Identify any newly applicable rules, updated monitoring activities and frequencies so TCEQ can pinpoint how a unit is demonstrating compliance with the appropriate permit requirements.
  5. Finally, submit renewal applications on-time and complete.  Untimely or incomplete applications can result in not being granted a permit application shield and could result in the loss of the permit holder’s authorization to operate if the permit expires.

Do SOP or GOP permit renewals cause you to lose sleep?  Does 30 TAC §122 give you nightmares?  ALL4 can alleviate the stress.  ALL4 has experience in working with TCEQ, setting up pre-application meetings and helping negotiate Title V Permit conditions that provide operational flexibility.  If you are in need of TCEQ Title V FOP Operating Permit guidance, please reach out to me at fdougherty@all4inc.com, 281-937-7553 x302.

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