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  • Writer's pictureTom Petersen

Air Permit Basics

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

It’s been almost one year since Tom Petersen, President of EES, and Mark Huncik, EES Consultant, presented a webinar on Air Permit Basics. If you missed the webinar or would like a refresher on air permitting basics, below is a summary. You can also watch the Air Permit Basics webinar by clicking on the link below!

Tom Petersen and Mark Huncik presented a webinar on Air Permit Basics (Watch here!). Tom Petersen, President of Environmental and Engineering Solutions (EES), explained the foundation of our company and our mission as a full service environmental, health, and safety (EHS) consulting and engineering firm. He walked the webinar audience through services we provide and how we work with companies on quantifying personal exposure monitoring, developing safety manuals and OSHA related matters, designing ventilation systems, and consulting on sustainability. We do this work nationwide, and particularly focus on clients within a 100-mile radius of Philadelphia.

One of our areas of expertise is in helping our clients meet codes which are regulated in accordance with the 1970 Clean Air Act — which began during the Nixon era and was amended during George H.W. Bush’s presidency. Tom presented a case study on a local facility specializing in metal recovery and refining, which was having trouble passing Clean Air Act standards, and was threatened with fines by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Building on the partnership between the company and EES, we helped with a full range of air permitting services and ultimately guided the business leaders in evaluating and acquiring the equipment that was necessary to meet code.

Mark Huncik spoke next, from his perspective as a meteorologist and air quality consultant with over 30 years of experience, introducing the topic of dispersion modeling in permitting — this is the essentially computerized process which uses mathematical equations to characterize toxicity through atmospheric motion. The inputs include emission source parameters, meteorological features, and the terrain or local land uses. Typically, smaller facilities emit minimally and do not require dispersion modeling; while larger facilities are generally greater emitters. AERMOD, which was developed in the early 2000’s, is the most widely used air dispersion model today — this system monitors emissions being released by the facility and triggers the model's automatic response based on the amount of toxins measured. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for pollutants that are common in outdoor air and are considered harmful to public health and the environment: Therefore, dispersion modeling services such as these we provide at EES are necessary to ensure our clients can continue to operate.

The analyses that we perform on air toxins, or Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPS), reviews risk factors among each individual state for smaller facilities. For larger facilities, New Source Review (NSR) regulations, specifically Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) may be triggered — requiring a more thorough analysis of potential impacts of a project, to protect against the release of too many toxins. For facilities that don't trigger NSR or NAAQS analysis, they must use Good Engineering Practice (or GEP) — an analysis that will determine the best location and height of your stacks or vents, which is necessary if you’re near an existing building.

Air permitting practices and requirements frequently change, and each state is different, so staying updated is vital. In Pennsylvania, fees for applications and permitting increased in 2021. In New Jersey, new regulations regarding environmental justice have recently taken hold, allowing for the creation of a new risk screening worksheet, increased emitting fees, and a new general permit for smaller boilers. Delaware is also focusing on increasing action on environmental justice and has raised fees, as well.

Top priorities at EES are protecting human health and maintaining a safe environment. We are dedicated to assisting our clients in meeting and exceeding codes and standards for air quality and environmental justice. We’ll work with your team to acquire the right permits and will help you implement best practices in monitoring, measuring, and reporting — without delays in construction.

Interested in learning how EES can help you? Contact Tom Petersen, President of EES, at



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