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Air Programs

Nevada's air quality permitting is split between three authorities. The three authorities are the BAPC, Washoe County Division of Air Quality Management, and Clark County Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management. Nevada Revised Statutes requires that Washoe and Clark Counties maintain their own air quality management programs (NRS 445B.500). As a result, any air pollutant emitting process located in Washoe or Clark Counties must obtain an appropriate permit from the applicable county authority.

In all other portions of the state, the BAPC issues four types of operating permits - Class I Class II , Class III and Surface Area Disturbance (SAD). Generally, Class III operating permits are applicable to very small emitting facilities. At the other end of the permitting spectrum, Class 1 operating permits are applicable to large emitting facilities. Class II operating permits are for those facilities that emit pollutants in the range between Class I and Class III operating permits. Surface area disturbance permits are required if the project will disturb 5 or more acres of land.

An applicable operating permit must be obtained from BAPC prior to construction of any air pollution emitting source or disturbing land in Nevada. Depending on size and emissions, most geothermal (due to geothermal fluid or binary fluid releases) and biomass operations will likely require Class II or Class III operating permits. Generally, solar and wind operations will not likely require Class I, Class II or Class III operating permits, but may require an SAD operating permit if a sufficient quantity of land will be disturbed. In addition, although wind and solar operations may not be regulated, any facility that operates a backup internal combustion generator may require an operating permit for that process.

Where do I apply for an Air Quality Operating Permit

As indicated above, all air quality operating permits are obtained from the BAPC for all areas of the state, except for Washoe County and Clark County. Forms can be obtained from the BAPC website directly or by contacting any permitting staff member. Applications will not be considered complete if all information required in the application is not provided and the required application fee is not submitted with the application.

Regulatory Timeline for Processing Application

Applications for air quality operating permits are reviewed by BAPC in accordance with the regulatory schedules established in Chapter 445B of the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC). It should be noted that the Class I operating permit schedule is not provided, as Class I operating permits are federally required permits (for facilities that have the potential to emit a regulated air pollutant in quantities equal to or greater than 100 ST/yr), and few if any geothermal or biomass facilities will require a Class I operating permit. The Class III and Class II operating permit processing schedules are as follows:

Possibilities to Streamline the Regulatory Timeline

The BAPC has previously evaluated opportunities to streamline its permitting process. Prior to 2002, the BAPC only issued two types of operating permits - Class I and Class II. Beginning in 2002, the BAPC created the Class III operating permit to streamline the permitting process for small emitting facilities. This resulted in a reduction in the permitting time requirement of roughly one-half. In addition an applicant for an air quality operating permit can increase the likelihood that the BAPC will complete its review more quickly by providing all information required in the applicable application form and by quickly submitting any additional information the BAPC requests during the review period. All applications for operating permits are evaluated for the impacts on the ambient air quality standards. NAC 445B.310 specifies which applications must include the environmental analysis. To expedite the review process, an applicant for a Class II operating may also consider providing the environmental evaluation (i.e. modeling analyses) for the facility, even if it is not required to be submitted with the application. BAPC also recommends that a pre-application meeting be held to discuss the proposed project.

Governing Regulations and Statutes

The Nevada Revised Statutes 445B.100 through 445B.640 provide the legislative authority to develop and implement a regulatory program for the management of air resources in the State of Nevada. The statutes grant the State Environmental Commission the authority to adopt regulations and standards for air quality.

The Nevada Administrative Code 445B.001 through 445B.3791 contains the regulatory requirements related to stationary sources. The State Environmental Commission adopts these regulations and the Department of Conservation (through the Division of Environmental Protection-Bureau of Air Pollution Control) is charged with implementing the regulations. For further assistance with the permitting process, please see the Air Pollution Control staff contact list.


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