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The California Air Resources Board over sees many programs regulating Argricultural Operations.
Here are seven permit programs managed by the SLO APCD affecting Agriculture Operations:
Here are the details of seven programs that have currently been identified that affect agricultural operations.
1. Senate Bill 700 (Florez-2003), Ag Permits
2. State Portable Equipment Registration Program (PERP)
3. Portable Engine Air Toxic Control Measure
4. Stationary Engine ATCM
5. APCD Permits
6. New Source Review (NSR)
7. Confined Animal Facilities
When the federal Clean Air Act was amended in 1990, a permit program was added for major stationary sources of air pollution (Title V permits). The Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has been delegated the responsibility to issue those federal permits in San Luis Obispo County. Senate Bill 700 contains two provisions that are of most concern here in the SLO APCD:
- Ag sources with a potential to emit of 100 tons per year (tpy) or more of NOx, or any other regulated air contaminant, and actual emissions of 50 tpy or more must apply for a Title V permit by December 31, 2004.
- Ag sources with actual emissions of more than 50 tons per year NOx, and with a potential to emit of less than 100 tpy, must apply for an APCD permit
Currently there is one Title V Permit issued for Agriculture Operations (stationary diesel engines) in the district.
These requirement appears under state law in Health and Safety Code section 42301.16.a. If you need assistance with topic or you have any other questions, please contact Gary Willey at 805-781-5912.
When the federal Clean Air Act was amended in 1990, a permit program was added for major stationary sources of air pollution (Title V permits). The Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has been delegated the responsibility to issue those federal permits in San Luis Obispo County. However, Agricultural sources have been exempt from APCD permits ever since the districts were formed in the mid-1970's. California's inability to permit major agricultural sources has become a major point of contention with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Consequently, the state Legislature was warned by EPA that sanctions, such as the withholding of federal highway funds, would be applied if the permit exemption for agriculture was not removed. While waiting for the Legislature to act, EPA implemented their own Title V permit program under Part 71 of Title 40 to the Code of Federal Regulations (40CFR71). Farms with actual emissions from stationary internal combustion engines that exceeded 50% of the major source threshold for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) were required to apply to EPA for a permit by November 13, 2003. Statewide, approximately two dozen farms submitted permit applications to EPA under that program, but none of those operations were located in San Luis Obispo County. When Senate Bill 700 was signed into law, EPA withdrew their requirement for Part 71 permits and forwarded all of the applications that they had received to the respective air districts that had jurisdiction over the farms that had applied. SB700 deleted the permit exemption for Ag equipment effective January 1, 2004. Two of the legislation's provisions that are of most concern here in SLOCo, with respect to the Title V program, are: - Ag sources with a potential to emit of 100 tons per year (tpy) or more of NOx, or any other regulated air contaminant, and actual emissions of 50 tpy or more must apply for a Title V permit by December 31, 2004. - Ag sources with actual emissions of more than 50 tons per year NOx, and with a potential to emit of less than 100 tpy, must apply for an APCD permit by a date as yet not specified. The San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District had an even earlier date for Title V applications (July 1, 2004) and an even lower applicability threshold (12.5 tpy), so farmers here might have heard of their very aggressive outreach campaign and series of public workshops. The term “major stationary source” needs to be discussed a little more. It's common practice for a large agricultural operation to be spread out over several parcels of land that are sometimes separated by other farms, roads, or even county boundaries. For the purposes of Title V, only emissions generated on contiguous parcels of land by the same operator are summed to determine if the source is “major.” Parcels that touch at a corner, and parcels that are only separated by a road, river, or county line, must be considered contiguous. Also, for the purposes of Title V, the person or company farming any given parcel is more important than the person who actually owns the parcel. For example, if three adjacent parcels of land are each owned by a separate individual, but a single operator runs a farming operation on all three parcels, all of that operation must be considered a single, contiguous source. A graphical representation of these criteria is available. If a farm's potential to emit air contaminants is 100 tons per year or more, it constitutes a “major stationary source” for San Luis Obispo County purposes. A group called the California Air Pollution Control Officer's Association has prepared an in-depth analysis of what SB700 involves and requires. To learn more about that legislation, download their white paper. a) Potential to Emit >100 tpy. For any given agricultural operation, the potential to emit is an estimate of what could happen, rather than what actually happens. This allows a permit decision to encompass all of the possible emissions that might occur, rather than having to revisited any given situation year-after-year. In San Luis Obispo County, the type of operation that is most likely to exceed the 100 tpy permit threshold for NOx is one that uses internal combustion engines for its irrigation. This includes engines burning any type of fuel, such as diesel, natural gas, or gasoline. However, only engines that are either mounted on a foundation or portable engines that haven't moved in the last year should be included when estimating the potential to emit. For the purposes of the Title V program, portable engines are excluded. Also, the Title V calculation excludes fugitive dust from unpaved roads and tilling, volatile emissions from pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, and open burning emissions. The California Department of Water Resources maintains a database that includes the amount of water typically used to irrigate various agricultural crops. A calculator for estimating a farm's potential to emit is available. The approach used to estimate the emissions for an irrigation operation works like this: - Based on a farm's acreage and average well depth, the amount of work required to raise that amount of water to grow the crop involved is calculated. - Assuming that diesel engine driven water pumps are used and assuming a typical NOx emission factor, the amount of NOx emitted to produce that amount of work is calculated. For example, if a farm irrigates 5,500 acres of vegetables using diesel engines that draw from an average well depth of 300 feet, their potential to emit would be about 105 tpy of NOx. Note that the emissions from an engine burning a non-diesel fuel would be slightly different, and that newer Tier 2 engines should have emissions that are about half of those assumed here. Consequently, a farmer with newer engines or using a different fuel should either use the detailed calculator available here or contact the APCD for assistance with their emissions estimate. If an agricultural operation's potential to emit equals or exceeds 100 tpy, the next test is whether or not its actual emissions exceed 50 tpy. APCD Rule 221, Federal Part 70 Potential to Emit Limitations, allows a major stationary source to be exempt from a Title V permit if their actual emissions are less than 50 tpy. To track those emissions from year to year, Rule 221 requires that: - if emissions are between 50 tpy and 25 tpy, fuel usage records must be kept and an annual report must be submitted; - if emissions are between 25 tpy and 5 tpy, only fuel usage records are required; and - if emissions are less than 5 tpy, or less than 16,600 gallons of diesel fuel is combusted in stationary engines per year, there are no recordkeeping or reporting requirements. Actual emissions are most easily calculated using the amount of diesel combusted in stationary engines. For example, to exceed 50 tpy NOx, a farm would have to combust approximately 240,000 gallons of diesel fuel in stationary irrigation engines per year. This excludes all diesel burned in tractors, harvesters, portable irrigation pump engines, etc. Note than the 5 tpy/16,600 gallons combination in Rule 221 doesn't ratio to the 50 tpy/240,000 gallon combination described here because Rule 221 uses a higher emission factor for diesel engines than is assumed here for agricultural engines. A format for calculating a farm's actual emissions is available here. For the most recent calendar year, if an agricultural operation's potential to emit exceeded 100 tpy and its actual emissions exceeded 50 tpy, then a Title V permit application must be submitted by December 31, 2004. This requirement appears under state law in Health and Safety Code section 42301.16.a. If you need assistance with these calculations or you have any other questions, please contact Gary Willey at 805-781-5912. The APCD has prepared a set of applications forms and instructions that can be downloaded here or obtained by calling or writing the APCD office at: San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District
3433 Roberto Court
San Luis Obispo, California 93401
An application filing fee of $100 is required and is applied toward the permit processing fees, which are charged at a rate of $72.56 per hour (as of November 2005). When a permit is issued, an initial fee is also charged based on individual pieces of equipment. Specifically, the initial fee for the first internal combustion engine is currently $601 and for each additional engine it is $286. Annual renewal fees are the same as the initial fees. For example, if a farmer applied for a Title V permit for 21 stationary irrigation engines with a filing fee of $100, and the permit processing time was 50 hours, the processing fee plus initial permit fee would be (50 hours * $72.56/hr - $100) + $601/first engine + (20 engines * $286/add'l engine) = $9,849. The discussion here has focused on irrigation engine emissions. Other types of agricultural operations may have the potential to emit large amounts of emissions, as well. Dairies often flush large amounts of water and manure into waste lagoons. The decomposition of that waste generates volatile organic compounds (VOC) to the point where the emissions from approximately 10,500 head of dairy cows might exceed 100 tpy. Greenhouse operations often use natural gas heaters to maintain their growing temperature. The NOx emissions from natural gas heaters used for approximately 400 acres of greenhouse floor space might exceed 100 tpy. VOC emissions are also associated with gasoline tank storage and dispensing, and organic solvents used for activities like equipment maintenance. With help from the County Agriculture Department and the County Farm Bureau, the APCD has only identified one farming operation in all of San Luis Obispo County to date whose potential to emit exceeds 100 tpy and whose actual emissions exceed 50 tpy. b) Actual Emissions >50tpy. If an agricultural operation's potential to emit is less than 100 tpy, they are not required to obtain a Title V permit. If their actual emissions exceed 50 tpy, however, they are still required to obtain an APCD permit. Under this aspect of SB700, the emissions from portable engines must be included along with the emissions from stationary engines. Selected fugitive emissions, such as those from animals at a confined feeding facility, must also be included. Emissions that are still excluded are those from mobile equipment, such as tractors, harvesters, etc., fugitive dust from tilling or unpaved roads, VOCs from pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, and emissions from open burning. The APCD's exemption rule was changed in March 2005, which was followed by a November 2005 announcement that permits are required for agricultural sources with air emissions of 50 tpy or more. A 90-day grace period for application is allowed so the deadline for permit applications is February 2006. Actual emissions would be calculated in the same fashion as described in section 1.a above. For example, to exceed 50 tpy NOx, a farm would have to combust approximately 240,000 gallons of diesel fuel in their portable and stationary irrigation engines. A format for calculating a farm's actual emissions is available here. The fees associated with an APCD permit are exactly the same as those for a Title V permit, except that the processing time should be more on the order of 10 hours instead of 50 hours. That is because the Title V permit process is much more complicated and involves both public and EPA review. The application forms are different, too, and can be downloaded or obtained by calling or writing the APCD office as indicated in section 1.a above. This requirement appears under state law in Health and Safety Code section 42301.16.c. If help with the emission calculations is needed or you have any other questions, please contact Gary Willey at 805-781-5912.
In 1997, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a statewide registration program for portable internal combustion engines and associated equipment. Once registered under PERP, engines and equipment units can operate throughout the State of California without the need to get individual permits from local air districts. Districts are pre-empted from permitting, registering, or regulating PERP equipment units but are still responsible for enforcing the requirements of any given registration through periodic inspections. The PERP program is designed to achieve emission reductions by requiring that all engines be certified to a Tier 1, 2, or 3 off-road emission standard by 2010 (see California Code of Regulations section 2456.d.6.
Agricultural engines were not allowed to enter the PERP program until Sept. 1, 2005. Normally an engine must meet the most stringent off-road emission standard to be accepted. However, CARB has adopted a revision that allows agricultural engines to register older existing engines until December 31, 2005, regardless of their emissions. The option to register an existing engine in 2005 is intended to work in concert with the Portable Engine Air toxic Control Measure, which is discussed in the next section. Starting in 2006, the amnesty period for existing engines will close and PERP registration will again require that engines meet current off-road emissions standards.
Under PERP, the operator must maintain records and their engines must meet certain emission limitations. The text of the PERP regulation may be viewed here. Under CARB's current proposal, registration fees would vary at the applicant's option depending on whether they choose a 3-year or a 5-year registration. Here is the CARB web page for the program.
The following table compares fees under the PERP process to those under the APCD's permit process.
|renewal frequency||1 year||3 year option||5 year option|
|processing fee||$290 (4 hrs @ $72.56/hr)||$270 each engine||$450 each engine|
|initial fee||$601 first engine $286 each add'l engine||$372 for off-road certified $654 for non-certified||$620 for off-road certified $1,090 for non-certified|
|interim charges||none||$75 per year inspection fee each engine||$75 per year inspection fee each engine|
|renewal fee||$601 + $286 each add'l||$225 each engine||$375 each engine|
|emission limits||- 0.3 grPM10/dscf @ 12%CO2 - upon rebuild, if Rule 431 is revised: - 8 gNOx/bhph - 36.6 gCO/bhph||- 100 lbNOx/day - 150 lbPM10/day - 0.1 grPM10/dscf @ 12%CO2 - 550 lbCO/day - 10 tpy per district of NOx, CO, PM10, SO2, or VOC||same as 3 year|
|future limits||same as PERP ATCM||same as ATCM||same as ATCM|
California has often taken the lead in protecting public health from the impacts of air pollution. One such action was the adoption of the AB1807 (Tanner) in 1983 that established a scientific review process to identify toxic air contaminants for control. That process has resulted in several regulations over the years, including the booted nozzles currently being used at gasoline stations here in San Luis Obispo County. In 1998, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) identified the particulate matter in diesel engine exhaust to be a toxic air contaminant, primarily because of the wide variety of cancer causing compounds created in the combustion process that tend to collect on it. A broad range of control measures have either already been adopted or are being considered to reduce particulate emissions. Some example control measures deal with school bus engines, commercial truck idling, harbor craft, transportation refrigeration units, transit buses, garbage trucks, and stationary and portable engines. The Air Pollution Control District is tasked with implementing those requirements on sources that fall within their jurisdiction, such as the last group concerning stationary and portable diesel engines.
The portable engine air toxic control measure (ATCM) will require that all portable diesel engines, which are rating at 50 horsepower or more (>50hp), reduce their emissions over time. These requirements appear in California Code of Regulations section 93116 and apply to all portable engines in the State of California, not just agricultural engines. The ATCM is quite complicated and includes provisions for fleet averaging of engine emission factors and allowances for engines fitted with selective catalytic reduction systems. The full text of 17 CCR § 93116 can be viewed here.
Since the ATCM became effective on March 11, 2005, CARB certified diesel fuel must be used in portable engines. With certain exceptions, by 2006 portable engines that have not previously been exempt from permit must meet the current off-road emission standard, or be either registered or permitted. These off-road standards apply to the engine manufacturers and the emission limits are phased in “tiers.” For example, a 200hp engine built in 1996 had to meet a Tier 1 particulate matter emission standard of 0.4 grams per brake horsepower-hour (g/bhph). The same size engine had to meet a Tier 2 standard of 0.15g/bhph in 2003 and will be required to meet a Tier 4 standard of 0.01g/bhph in 2011. A summary of California's requirements for off-road engines can be found here.
Portable engines at agricultural operations are considered to have previously been exempt from permit for the purposes of this ATCM. This means that the 2006 requirement that the engine either be permitted or registered does not apply. However, the APCD intends to have a permit requirement in place by 2009 for portable Ag engines. This means that by 2009, those engines have to be either permitted or registered. Farmers need to be aware that the option to register a non-certified engine will only be available until the end of 2005. In other words, the owner of an older Ag portable engine who doesn't want to obtain an APCD permit by 2009 should apply to the ARB under the Portable Equipment Registration Program before December 31, 2005.
For engines not previously exempt from permit to escape the requirement to be either registered or permitted by 2006, a portable engine rated at less than 175 horsepower (<175hp) would have to be certified to a Tier 2 emission standard and an engine rated >175hp would have to be certified to a Tier 3 standard. With certain exceptions, the owner of a portable engine >50hp that does not meet these standards will have to either apply to CARB for a PERP registration as described under item 2 above or apply to the APCD for a permit as described under item 5 below. Two exceptions to the 2006 requirement are available for emergency standby engines, and low-use engines that run no more than 80 hours per year.
- The owner can commit to upgrading to a Tier 4 certified engine by 2020.
- The owner can control their engine's particulate emissions by at least 85% by 2020.
The next general level of emission reduction comes in 2010 when all portable engines >50hp must be certified to meet an off-road emission standard, be it Tier 1, 2, or 3. The exceptions to this requirement are again only available to emergency standby engines and low-use engines. The owner can commit to upgrading to a Tier 4 engine, but must do so within two years of such an engine becoming available in the marketplace. For engines >175hp, the Tier 4 standards for new engines take effect in 2011. Consequently, the owner of a low-use engine that was not certified to an off-road emission standard could claim an exception to the 2006 requirements if they committed to replace their engine by 2020. Then they could claim an exception to the 2010 requirement by committing to replace their engine within 2 years of a Tier 4 model becoming available, which would probably call for a new engine by 2013. However, if the original engine was certified to a Tier 1 standard, the 2006 exemption could carry them all of the way through to 2020, because they would already satisfy the 2010 requirement. As mentioned earlier, the ATCM is quite complicated. If you have questions about your specific situation, contact David Dixon at 805-781-5912.
Finally, by 2020, all portable equipment engines in the State of California, including agricultural engines, but excluding mobile agricultural equipment that are rated at 50 horsepower or more must meet Tier 4 emission standards. Again, the text of the portable engine ATCM can be found here.
In a further attempt to reduce exposure to diesel particulate matter and effective January 1, 2005, this ATCM requires that all new stationary agricultural diesel engines >50hp meet the current off-road standards. One exemption is available.
- In an effort to promote clean-burn replacement engines, Tier 2 engines installed under either the Carl Moyer program or the federal Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) would be exempt from the off-road standards until 2008. For example, a new 200hp diesel engine purchased in 2007 with Carl Moyer funds would be allowed to meet Tier 2 emissions standards even though Tier 3 standards for that engine size went into effect in 2006.
In addition to the emission standards above that apply to new Ag diesel engines, there are fuel and reporting requirements that must be satisfied prior to installation of the engine. The text of the ATCM may be viewed here.
SB700 deals with agricultural operations involved in the growing of crops or raising of animals. The APCD also has an existing requirement that engines rated at >50hp that are not involved in the growing of crops or raising of animals are required to get a permit. For example, the standby diesel generator used to maintain power for an administrative building or a packaging operation would not be considered necessary for the growing of crops and would not be exempt from permit, regardless of the overall size of the agricultural operation. However, in recognition of the confusion that has surrounded the pre-2004 agricultural permit exemption, the APCD did not enforce that requirement until late-2005. As mentioned earlier the APCD's exemption rule was revised in March 2005, followed by a formal announcement that permits are required on November 14, 2005. After the 90-day grace period is allowed under the APCD's rules, the deadline for permit application then became February 14, 2006.
SB700 prohibits the APCD from requiring a permit for agricultural operations with actual emissions of <50 tpy, but it doesn't prevent the APCD from issuing a permit if a farmer requests one. In response to the portable engine ATCM's requirement that >50hp portable diesel engines either be registered or permitted as discussed in item 3 above, a farmer may prefer to have a local permit instead of a state registration. The APCD's permit would be designed to enforce the ATCM, which has fleet averaging provisions and other accommodations. In contrast, the PERP emission limitations are less flexible and offer fewer options.
Also, an APCD permit could cost more than a state registration. For example, using the fee information in the table included in section 2 above, the APCD annual permit fee for a single engine would be $891 while the 3-year PERP fee for a non-certified engine would be $924 (or $308 on an annual basis).
San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District
3433 Roberto Court
San Luis Obispo, California 93401
The APCD recognizes that emission controls are much easier to implement for newly installed equipment than for existing equipment. Consequently, new installations are held to a tighter control standard. For agriculture, new source review comes into play on at least three different levels. For any new operation involving the growing of crops or raising of animals and having a potential to emit of more than 50 tpy of NOx, a pre-construction APCD permit would be required. This process would also be triggered for an existing operation undergoing a major modification.
Under that permit process, a Best Available Control Technology (BACT) level of control would be required. Also, depending on how close the nearest neighbors are, Toxics Best Available Control Technology (TBACT) might be required.
For example, assume a new vineyard operation wants to eventually irrigate 6,000 acres of grapes from 500 foot deep wells using diesel engine driven water pumps meeting a Tier 2 emission standard. The potential to emit for that new operation would be 53 tpy NOx. Consequently, an NSR pre-construction permit would be required. The BACT requirements may be satisfied with the use of Tier 2 engines and TBACT may not be required because of a large buffer zone around the farm. However, if there is a nearby residence, diesel particulate filters may be required as TBACT.
As complicated as that sounds, the NSR permit process can get even more complicated. Similar requirements might apply for other pollutants. Also, applying the controls necessary to satisfy NSR may reduce the overall emissions to less than the permit threshold, which would make the whole application process moot. This requirement for an APCD pre-construction permit became effective on November 14, 2005 as described under item 5 above. A format for projecting a new operation's potential to emit is available here.
On the second level of involvement, a farmer planning a new agricultural operation needs to be aware of EPA's Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) requirements. These are also known as Title I requirements under the federal Clean Air Act. The trigger thresholds are slightly lower than those for the District's NSR program but emission increase calculations allow for “netting,” so the potential to emit is determined after emission reductions are accounted for. A summary of the PSD program is available here. This requirement for a federal PSD permit became effective on January 1, 2004. If PSD is triggered, an application must be submitted to EPA at:
Environmental Protection Agency
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, California 94105-3901
The third and last level of NSR permitting to be introduced here concerns equipment not involved in the growing of crops or raising of animals. Most of that equipment continues to be exempt under the APCD's de minimis emission source threshold of two pounds per day. However, higher emitting equipment, such as a diesel driven standby emergency generator rated at >50 hp, would trigger a permit requirement when it is first installed. Even the smallest farm is subject to this requirement because the >50 tpy NOx permit threshold of SB700 does not apply to equipment not involved in the growing of crops or raising of animals. This requirement for an APCD NSR permit was effect on November 14, 2005.
Before a new piece of equipment is installed, an owner should first check in APCD Rule 201, Equipment Not Requiring a Permit, to see if the equipment is considered exempt from permit. If it appears that permit may be required, the owner should contact the APCD at 805-781-5912 for a determination. If a permit is required, applications forms and instructions can be downloaded here or obtained by calling or writing the APCD office at:
San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District
3433 Roberto Court
San Luis Obispo, California 93401
This type of agricultural operation can be a very concentrated source of emissions. Examples include milk dairies, hog farms, and poultry farms, but exclude grazing operations for cattle and sheep. Emissions are generated from feed handling operations, from manure decomposition, and from the animals themselves. Confined animal facilities (CAFs) are subject to all of the six programs described above, plus SB700 required the California Air Resources Board to establish a definition of what constitutes a large CAF. Air districts are now obligated to either adopt a regulation to require permits and control the emissions from large CAFs by July 2006 or make a finding that the emissions from large CAFs will not cause an exceedance of an ambient air quality standard.
ARB's definition is based on head-count. For example, 2,000 dairy cows or 1,300,000 chickens constitute a large CAF. San Luis Obispo County enjoys relatively clean air and is in attainment for both the state and federal ozone standards. In addition, the APCD has not identified any commercial dairies or poultry operations of any appreciable size other than those at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. This means that the air district will likely make the necessary finding rather than adopt a regulation.
Contact us for more information on this topic.