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Permit Information

As part of the Air District's responsibility to meet state and federal clean air standards, the APCD adopts rules and issues permits that require compliance with these standards. Permits allow the District to specify operating conditions consistent with our countywide clean air strategy. Some of the businesses required to hold permits are power plants, marine terminals, refineries, oil fields, gas stations, dry cleaners, auto body shops, printers, rock crushers, and those with large and medium size boilers.

Permits provide information on the type and amount of air pollution caused by business operations. Both large and small businesses need an APCD permit before they construct, change, replace, or operate any equipment or process that could cause air pollution. This includes equipment designed to reduce air pollution. Permits are also required if an existing business transfers ownership, relocates, or otherwise changes their operation.

In addition to APCD permits, there are also several other local, state, regional, and federal permit, licensing, and tax requirements that you may need to be aware of for your business. See the icon below on this page to search the CalGOLD database.

BACT Requirements for 1,000hp Emergency Backup Engines

Notice for all permit applicants: the regulatory requirement to use Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for emergency backup diesel engines greater than or equal to 1,000 bhp is in effect. BACT has been achieved-in-practice for large emergency backup diesel engines. This affects permit applications under SLO County APCD review, requiring that all diesel engines greater than or equal to 1,000 bhp meet EPA Tier 4 Final emissions standards if BACT thresholds are met or exceeded. Please contact the District’s Engineering Division if you have questions regarding this requirement.



How to Apply

The permit application begins with an evaluation of the project's ability to comply with APCD's Rules and Regulations. A completed permit application must be submitted to the APCD along with a description of the business operation and the equipment / materials to be used. By gathering general information from local businesses, the District analyzes the proposed operations and determines the air quality impact to ensure consistency with local, state, and federal air pollution control requirements.

Once preliminary permit evaluation is complete, APCD staff issues an Authority to Construct (ATC) permit that allows construction of a new facility, and installation or modification of equipment at an existing facility. The ATC ensures that the equipment is designed, constructed, and operated to meet air quality requirements and describes how the equipment must be operated to minimize air pollution. The ATC is required before construction begins, so businesses should submit the application well in advance of the planned start date.

Click here for a listing of all Permit to Operate and Authority to Construct forms.

After construction, installation, or modifications, the startup process allows businesses to test, calibrate, and demonstrate compliance with permit conditions included in the ATC. Following a successful startup inspection, a Permit to Operate (PTO) is issued to allow the continued operation of the business in accordance with all permit conditions and local, state, and federal air pollution requirements. The PTO is reevaluated and updated as necessary to ensure compliance and to reflect any changes in local, state, or federal requirements.

Please submit electronic applications to [email protected].

Permit Fees

Permit fees cover our cost to review applications, issue permits, and ensure compliance. Different fees apply to different types of permits and equipment. Most fees are based on either the hourly billing rate or the permit renewal factor, both of which may be adjusted for inflation annually. The different fee types are described below:

  • Application Filing Fee: This is a flat fee which covers the initial review of your ATC or PTO application to determine if all required information has been provided.
  • Evaluation Fee: This fee is based on the time and resources expended to evaluate your ATC or PTO application to determine if your project meets all local, state, and federal requirements. For first-time PTOs, an initial permit fee equivalent to the periodic renewal fee is also charged. That initial fee may be waived for qualifying small businesses (ask for an Initial Operating Fee Waiver form).
  • Renewal Fee: For most businesses, your permit is renewed every year and updated as needed. A renewal fee is charged based on the number and type of equipment. This fee covers the permit review and annual inspections. Renewal fee schedules are found in Rule 302.
  • Penalty Fee: Should you install equipment without contacting the APCD and are later found to be without the required PTO, a penalty fee may be assessed.

For more information on permits, call (805) 781-5912 and ask for the Engineering Division or contact us.