Permits and Engineering
The APCD Permit Process
Why Does the APCD Issues Permits?
The US Environmental Protection Agency and
the California Air Resources Board and have
established health-based clean air standards and given the APCD primary
responsibility for controlling air pollution from local stationary sources to
help us attain these standards.
Air pollution is caused by large and small businesses, motor vehicles,
consumer products, and natural sources. In order to develop a comprehensive
strategy to achieve clean air, the APCD needs to know how much pollution is
created by each source, and must ensure that every business is operated to
minimize the air pollution they cause.
To fulfill this responsibility, we adopt rules in accordance with state and
federal laws and issue permits requiring compliance with these rules. Permits
allow us to specify conditions of construction and operation that are consistent
with our county-wide clean air strategy, and to quantify and track emissions
that have been permitted to occur.
In summary, permits are required:
To provide information to the APCD on the type and amount of air
pollution caused by businesses. This information is essential for planning a
county-wide clean air strategy.
- To ensure that businesses are designed, constructed, and operated to
minimize air pollution.
Who Needs a Permit?
Stationary sources (e.g., businesses, utilities, government agencies, and
universities) need an APCD permit before constructing, changing, replacing, or
operating any equipment or process which may cause air pollution. This includes
equipment designed to reduce air pollution. Permits are also required if an
existing business that causes air pollution transfers ownership, relocates, or
otherwise changes their operations.
Examples of businesses that need APCD permits are oil and gas facilities, gas
stations, dry cleaners, auto body shops, refinishing operations, printers, and
operators of certain gas or oil powered engines. A more detailed list is
If you also need a permit from either the county or a city building
department, you may be required to have your APCD permit before the final
building permit can be issued. It is important that you check with the building
department and the APCD early in the permit process to determine what is
The following activities may require an APCD permit:
Asphalt Batch Plants
Bulk Material Transfer & Storage Equipment
Circuit Board Manufacturing
Concrete Batch Plants
Contaminated Soil/Water Cleanup Systems
Curing & Burnoff Ovens
Diesel Emergency Standby Generators (> 50 bhp)
Emission Control Equipment
Ethylene Oxide Sterilizers
Fiberglass Fabrication Operations
Furniture Stripping Operations
Gasoline Dispensing Equipment
Gasoline Storage Equipment
Graphic Arts Printing
Internal Combustion Engines - Diesel Type Fuels (>50 bhp)
Internal Combustion Engines - Other Fuels (>100 bhp)
Oil/Gas Production & Process Equipment
Oil Water Separators
Organic Liquid Storage Tanks
Paint Spray Booths
Paint Spray Equipment (>40 gal/yr)
Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing
Product Dryers (e.g. aggregate)
Rock Crushing & Screening Equipment
Sand & Gravel Operations
Surface Coating Equipment
Waste Water Treatment Plants
Wood Chippers/Tub Grinders
This list is not exhaustive. If you have any questions or concerns about
whether you need an APCD permit, e-mail our
Engineering & Compliance Division or call (805) 961-8800 or email
Business Assistance or call the
Business Assistance Line at (805) 961-8868. We will be happy to answer your
The Permit Process: The Basic Steps
The Permitting Process Typically Has Four Phases:
- Authority to Construct (ATC) Permit
The ATC permit allows for the construction of a new facility or
installation as well as modification of equipment at an existing facility.
The ATC ensures that the equipment is designed, constructed, and operated to
meet local, state, and federal air quality requirements.
- Source Compliance Demonstration Period (SCDP)
After construction, installation or modification that is done under an
ATC, the SCDP allows for temporary operation for testing, calibration, and
demonstration of compliance with the ATC's requirements.
- Permit to Operate (PTO)
The PTO allows for ongoing operation of the facility in accordance with
all permit conditions and local, state, and federal air quality
- Reevaluation (Reeval)
The PTO is reevaluated every three years at which time it is updated as
necessary to ensure compliance and to reflect any changes to local, state,
or federal requirements. Gasoline service stations are renewed on an annual
How to Apply for a Permit
There are two permits required: first the Authority to Construct (ATC), and
after construction and demonstration of compliance, the Permit to Operate (PTO).
The ATC is required before construction begins, so you should submit the
application well in advance of your planned start date. In certain cases
the APCD can issue a combined ATC/PTO permit.
To get an ATC or PTO application use the Permits and Engineering
Download Documents feature of this web site. The completed application
must include a detailed description of your equipment and information on
materials and operations.
Within 30 days of when you submit your application, our permitting staff will
either find the application "complete", which means it contains all the
necessary information, or will request additional information.
Once the application is determined to be complete, our permitting staff
review the calculations, if any; evaluate the consistency of the project with
local, state, and federal air pollution control requirements; and prepare a
draft ATC or PTO which describes how the equipment must be operated to
minimize air pollution. Your review of the draft permit is very important. You
can ensure the permit is accurate and that you understand and agree with the
conditions under which you will be required to operate. Please take advantage of
the draft permit review to provide us your comments and input.
We charge permit fees to cover our costs for reviewing applications,
issuing permits, and ensuring compliance. Different fees apply to different
types of permits and equipment.
Our agency's mission is to provide clean air for the residents of our
community. To do this costs money. Federal and State law requires us to
implement our air pollution regulatory program and allows us to charge fees
to recover our costs. The agency gets no money from property or general
taxes collected by Santa Barbara County. Instead, the money to accomplish
our mission and mandates comes almost completely from fees we charge to
businesses and other sources of air pollution.
Fees are due to the APCD within 30 days of receiving an invoice from the
With the exception of DMV fees, all fees paid to the APCD stay within the
APCD to fund specific air pollution program activities. A portion of the DMV
fees are "passed thru" to other agencies to implement pollution reduction
programs. Permit filing fees cover the cost of determining whether a permit
application is complete and for related administrative paperwork activities.
Permit evaluation fees cover the cost of performing an permit evaluation,
issuing the permit, compliance monitoring, and three years of inspections.
Annual emission fees are used to fund APCD programs such as air monitoring,
air quality planning (the Clean Air Plan), business assistance, public
education, emergency response, and special projects. Reevaluation fees pay
for three years of facility inspections and for the permit reevaluation
processing. Air Toxics "Hot Spots" fees are used to fund the Air Toxics "Hot
Spots" program (Assembly Bill 2588). Annual air toxics emission fees are
used for regulating air toxics.
This is a flat fee which covers the initial review of your ATC or PTO
application to determine if all required information has been included as
well as related administrative paperwork activities. Payment should
accompany each submitted application. The current application filing fee is
listed in our fee schedule in Schedule F.
This fee is based on the number and type of equipment proposed, and covers
the technical processing and compliance inspections related to the ATC or
PTO permit to determine if the project meets all local, state, and federal
requirements. The invoice for this fee is sent with the final permit when it
is issued. Schedule A in Rule 210 lists the application fee rates per
equipment type. Large projects may be charged on a cost reimbursement (time
and materials) basis.
Sources permitted under the fee schedule of Rule 210 that require a
compliance source test are assessed a fee for APCD staff to review source
test plans and subsequent reports as well as to witness the test at the
facility. An invoice is sent to the source prior to actual plan submittals.
For most permitted businesses, the permit is reviewed (reevaluated) every
three years and updated as necessary. A reevaluation fee is charged
according to Schedule A of Rule 210 based on the number and type of
equipment. This reevaluation fee renews the operating permit for three more
years and covers the costs of updating and evaluating the permit and three
years of inspections and compliance monitoring. The source is notified of
the calculated fee amount when the draft re-evaluation permit is mailed. The
fee is due within 30 days after the final re-evaluation is issued. These
fees are calculated in the same manner as the permit evaluation fees, except
that there is a minimum flat fee.
This fee is based on a facility's actual emissions if those annual
emissions exceed 10 tons per year (TPY). For permitted businesses that emit
less than 10 tons in a year, a flat fee is assessed. See Schedule B.3. Dry
cleaners, for example, usually fall into this category. The fees are
calculated from a businesses' actual emissions in the previous calendar year
and are billed out by June or earlier of the current year. The bill may be
as early as January if the facility emits less than 10 tons per year.
This fee partially supports the APCD's Air Toxics Hot Spots Program which
is required by H&SC 44300 et. seq. These fees were approved by the Air
Resources Board and are fixed. The fees are based on actual annual emissions
of total organic gases (TOG), particulate matter (PM), oxides of nitrogen
(NOx), and oxides of sulfur (SOx), and the classification of the facility.
If the facility emissions are less than 25 tons per year for each of these
pollutants (as is the case for dry cleaners), then it will be assessed a
flat fee. Outer Continental Shelf sources are not subject to the Air Toxics
Hot Spots Program.
This fee helps fund the preparation of mandated air quality plans necessary
for the attainment and maintenance of ambient air quality standards. This
fee only applies to sources with actual emissions greater than 10 tons per
year. Fees are assessed according to Fee Schedule B-1.
On occasion, the fees in Rule 210 are adjusted to account for inflation.
The California Consumers Price Index is used for assessing these
adjustments. The APCD Board of Directors formally approves these requests,
however Rule 210 itself is not physically modified. In its place, the APCD
issues a revised fee schedule to all permit holders.
Download a copy of the APCD Fee
in Adobe PDF format.
Who Can I Contact if I Have Questions?
There are two good ways to get answers to your questions regarding our
- Call Kaitlin McNally, at (805) 961-8855 for minor sources or the Ben
Ellenberger, at (805) 961- 8879 for major sources.
- Send e-mail via the Internet to
Need Application Forms
Application forms may be downloaded from our Download page.
What Permit Streamlining Efforts has the APCD
For more information or assistance, call the APCD at (805)
or e-mail us at email@example.com.
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