Construction Permits to Protect Air Quality - Overview

Congress established a New Source Review (NSR) permitting program as part of the 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments. NSR is also referred to as preconstruction permitting or construction permitting. NSR regulations require stationary sources of air pollution to get permits before they start construction.

Air Construction Permits issued to a facility specify what construction is allowed and contain various conditions to ensure that the facility is built to match parameters submitted in the application that BAQ personnel relied upon in their analysis. Construction of the new or modified source shall not commence until your facility has received an effective permit to construct. (See Regulation 61-62.1, Section II(A)(1)(c) for types of activities that can be started prior to obtaining a construction permit.)

For construction permitting, the terms "major stationary source" and "major modification" are used to determine the applicability of Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NSR) preconstruction permitting regulations to your new facility or modification to an existing source. In a nonattainment area, any stationary pollutant source with potential to emit more than 100 tons per year (TPY) of any criteria air pollutant (CO, PM10, PM2.5, NOX, SO2, Pb, VOC) is considered a "major stationary source." In PSD areas the cutoff level may be either 100 or 250 tons per year (TPY) of any criteria air pollutant, depending upon the type of source. The term "major modification" is used to define modifications of major stationary sources of emissions with respect to PSD and Nonattainment NSR under the Clean Air Act. Sources may elect to take federally enforceable limitations to avoid PSD and Nonattainment NSR by getting a synthetic minor construction permit. All other sources requesting construction permits will receive a minor construction permit.

The applicant must have a South Carolina registered Professional Engineer (PE) review, sign, and stamp the completed construction permit application before submitting it to the BAQ. (See Regulation 62.1, Section II(C)(2) for exemptions from the requirement for PE review.)

If the operations covered by any construction permits involve land-disturbing activities in one of the eight coastal counties of the Coastal Zone under S.C. DHEC-OCRM's jurisdiction (Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry and Jasper), then a coastal zone consistency certification may be required prior to conducting land-disturbing activities.

The BAQ issues various types of construction permits depending on the facility process operation and/or emissions.