Construction Permits (Air)

Congress established an air construction permitting program as part of the 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments (EPA). This permitting program requires stationary sources of air pollution to receive permits from the government before they start construction.

Air construction permits issued to a facility specify what conditions must be met to demonstrate compliance with state and federal air quality requirements.

A construction permit must be issued by the BAQ before any actual construction begins; however, some pre-permit activities are allowed.

Types of Construction Permits

The Department issues several types of construction permits depending on the process operation and emissions of the facility/project in question. Those permits include:

Minor Source Construction Permit

Minor source construction permits are issued for projects where potential emissions are below the major source permitting thresholds.

Synthetic Minor Source Construction Permit

Synthetic minor construction permits are issued for projects where potential emissions are at or greater than major source threshold levels but the facility has requested a federally enforceable limit to restrict potential emissions below major source permitting thresholds.

Major Source Construction Permit or Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD)

A major source permit is triggered if the project's potential emissions are at or above major source (or major modification) thresholds of any pollutant subject to S.C. Regulation 61-62.5, Standard No. 7 located in areas that are in attainment with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) or are unclassifiable under 40 CFR 81.341.

Requesting a Construction Permit

Fill out the Construction Permit Application Form, along with all information required by the form or form instructions.

 Pre-application meeting is required for PSD Applications. We request the meeting be held at least 90 days prior to the application submittal.

Issuance Timeframes

Timeframes may be tolled if additional information is needed.

  • Upon receipt of a complete construction application, the review must be complete as follows:
    • Minor and Synthetic Minor Source Permits within 90 days, and
    • PSD within 270 days.
  • The BAQ also has an expedited construction permit program that reduces the review time as follows:
    • Minor Source Permits within 30 days,
    • Synthetic Minor Source Permits within 65 days, and
    • PSD within 120-150 days.

Public Notice Period

Public Notice (30 day) is required for the following:

  • Synthetic Minor Source Permits,
  • PSD, and
  • Public Meeting/Hearing if requested.

Application Fees

There are no fees for a traditional permit. However, the expedited construction permit program requires a fee.

Coastal Counties Require Additional Certification

If operations covered by construction permits involve land-disturbing activities in Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry or Jasper counties, then a Coastal Zone Consistency Certification may also be required prior to conducting the land-disturbing activities. Those eight coastal counties make up the Coastal Zone, which is under the jurisdiction of S.C. DHEC's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM).