Frequently Asked Questions

Q - Do I need an Air Quality Permit?

A - If your facility has any process which emits any gases or materials (other than pure water vapor) to the atmosphere, an air quality permit may be required.  The main pollutants of concern are referred to as "criteria pollutants," and include:

• PM10 (particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter),
• Ozone (regulated in part by controlling emissions of volatile
  organic compounds or VOCs),
• Sulfur Dioxide (SO2),
• Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx),
• Carbon Monoxide (CO), and
• Lead (Pb).

Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) and Toxic Air Pollutants (TAPs) must also be considered. Many are commonly used as solvents, coating ingredients or may be emitted as byproducts of industrial processes.

See a list of HAPs at:   Hazardous Air Pollutants and  TAPs at:   Toxic Air Pollutants

Q - What is the cut-off above which a permit is required for these pollutants?

A - For Criteria Pollutants, the permitting triggers are for processes that have the "Potential to Emit" more than 6 pounds per hour (PPH) and 10 tons per year (TPY) or 144 pounds per day of each individual pollutant.

For Hazardous Air Pollutants, the permitting triggers are for processes that have the "Potential to Emit" more than 2 pounds per hour (PPH) or 5 tons per year (TPY) of all HAPs in aggregate (added together).

For Toxic Air Pollutants the permitting triggers are for processes that have the "Potential to Emit" a small specific amount for each TAP. The amounts are found at:   Toxic Air Pollutants

Q - What is "Potential to Emit"?

A - "Potential to Emit" or PTE is a regulatory term that means the maximum capacity of a source to emit any air pollutant under its physical and operational design. Any physical and operational limit on the source's capacity to emit an air pollutant - including air pollution control equipment, restrictions on hours of operation, or the type or amount of material combusted, stored, or processed - is treated as part of the source's design if such a limit is federally enforceable. In other words, PTE is generally calculated as if the facility is operating 8760 hours per year and as if there is NO air pollution control equipment limiting emissions. Limitations such as these can only be counted if they are included in a permit so that they can be enforced. Controls that are inherent in the system can be counted, such as partial enclosure efficiency for a PM-emitting process in a building, etc.

Q - What are “General Permits?”

A - General Permits are a way for specific kinds of facilities or individual emission sources to get a required permit faster. They allow a facility to adopt a pre-set list of control requirements. If the company provides proper documentation, permits can be issued much faster than the traditional procedure. The Division of Air Quality has issued General Permits for:
• Coal Preparation Plants,
• Natural Gas Compressor Stations,
• Hot Mix Asphalt Plants,
• Material Handling Operations,
• Concrete Batch Plants, and
• Emergency Generators.

Class I general permit registrations shall be subject to a $250 application fee and Class II general permit registrations shall be subject to a $500 application fee, in lieu of the $1000 fee required under subdivision 3.4.a of 45CSR22 for normal 45CSR13 construction permits; provided, however, that a source applying for a Class I general permit which qualifies as a small business under section 507(c) of the federal Clean Air Act shall not be subject to any application fees.

An additional benefit of the general permit is the expedited time frame for issuance of general permit registration. This time frame includes a 30 day public notice period. The Director may grant registration to operators demonstrating compliance with its requirements and conditions of the general permit in as little as 44 calendar days but no more than 60 calendar days. Individual air quality permits have an average issuance time of approximately three to four months.

The general permit addresses the construction, modification and operation of eligible sources as well as the reduction and control of criteria and hazardous toxic pollutants currently subject to West Virginia Legislative Rule 45CSR13. The general permit, registration application and related documents may be downloaded from the WVDAQ webpage at General Permits. Further information may be obtained by contacting DAQ at (304) 926-0499, extension 1223.

Q - Are portable rock crushers subject to Title V Operating Permit requirements? (How does WVDAQ treat fugitive emissions with respect to PTE?)

A - Yes, portable sand, gravel and/or stone crushers are considered as Title V (deferred) sources if they are built (or modified) after August 31, 1983 and have a throughput of more than 150 TPH. In WV, they are required to obtain a minor source permit-to-construct (fixed sand, gravel and/or crushed stone plants have a 25 TPH or less threshold). The state does exercise its discretion and does NOT count fugitive emissions such as haulroads and stockpiles in determining a source's Title V PTE (although they are considered for minor source construction permits).

Q - What criteria does the SBAP use to determine if a company qualifies as a “small business?”

A - A business must meet all of the conditions listed below:

•  is owned or operated by a person that employs 100 or fewer individuals (company-wide);
•  is a small business concern as defined in the Small Business Act;
•  is not a major stationary source;
•  does not emit 50 tons or more per year of any regulated pollutant; and
•  emits less than 75 tons per year of all regulated pollutants (combined)

The 100 or fewer employee limit applies to all businesses under common ownership and/or control, be they in the state or outside the state.

Q - Where can a small business apply for low-interest loans?

The WV district of the federal Small Business Administration may be of assistance. For more information, visit:

Q - My small business was found to be in non-compliance. I feel that I have been treated unfairly by DEP Enforcement, and/or the fines associated with my violations are overly excessive. Where can I go for assistance?

A - The WV Small Business Ombudsman (SBO) is a free and independent office which is supposed to safeguard small business's rights and help them when they have problems with regulatory agencies. The SBO also will step into situations for qualified small businesses to facilitate and resolve complaints involving DEP personnel. The SBO can be e-mailed at: 

For assistance with federal agencies, EPA's Office of the Small Business Ombudsman serves as an effective conduit for small businesses to access EPA and facilitates communications between the small business community and the Agency. The Office reviews and resolves disputes with EPA and works with EPA personnel to increase their understanding of small businesses in the development and enforcement of environmental regulations. For more info, visit the SBO webpage at:

Q - What is an MSDS?

A - A MSDS, or Material Safety Data Sheet is designed to provide both workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance. MSDS's include information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point etc.) toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill/leak procedures. These are of particular use if a spill or other accident occurs. Moreover, they are required to be on-site.


This page last updated October 2009.

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