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Air Quality Update
August, 2007, Vol 10, No 3
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Currently, EPA lists three sections under review. EPA is accepting comments on Chapter 12.2, Coke Production, until September 14, 2007. The comment period for Chapter 15, Ordnance Detonation closed February 28, 2007. The comment period for Section 12.5.1, Steel Mini-mills was extended to April 16, 2007 and has now closed.

Find more AP-42 information on EPA’s TTN-CHIEF Bulletin Board at

AQD Reissues General Permit for Minor Source Rock Crushers

On August 13th, the Air Quality Division (AQD) issued an updated Nonmetallic Mineral Processing Facilities (NMPF) General Permit (GP). Like the original NMPF general permit, issued in May 2000, the new version provides flexibility for qualified minor facilities while allowing DEQ to maximize use of limited resources. The GP covers air emissions from the mining or quarrying of minerals other than metals and fuels. According to a recent USGS fact sheet, much of the mineral mining in Oklahoma is for limestone, sand, gravel, granite, iodine, gypsum, clay, and salt. Also included in the permit are primary preparation plants engaged in crushing, grinding, and washing of these materials. Minor source “rock crushers” represent a significant portion of the division’s customer workload. It is important to note that although there is significant coal mining in Oklahoma, those facilities are not included in this GP because they typically include certain processing operations that differ from other mineral and mining operations. In addition, metal mining operations are not included since, according to the USGS, none are currently conducted in Oklahoma.

Air Quality Individual and General Permits
The AQD operates a dual air quality permitting system – construction and operating permits for air emission sources. A construction permit is required before a new source is constructed or an existing source is modified. The construction permit is issued after it is determined the source is designed to meet applicable rules and pre-construction requirements. An operating permit is then requested and issued after construction is completed and the facility shows that it can meet any emissions limits and air pollution control requirements that apply. An individual facility can obtain construction and operating authorizations under a GP in place of individual construction and operating permits. AQD currently has eight general permits in effect, each of which covers a particular category of industrial or commercial facilities.

To issue a general permit, AQD starts by identifying a group or category of sources that have similar operations, as well as emissions that are subject to the same or similar standards, limitations, and operating and monitoring requirements. AQD staff then conducts an extensive evaluation, drafting and public review process to issue a general permit. The general permit carries with it all air quality requirements that would apply to any activity occurring at an eligible facility, including all applicable federal performance and emissions standards. Doing most of the permitting work up-front is more efficient for the regulated community and for AQD staff.

Under GPs, DEQ accepts a simplified, specialized (i.e., industry–specific) Notice of Intent (NOI) in place of the full individual application. A NOI to Construct notifies the agency of a company’s intent to construct a facility that is eligible for the general permit. The NOI process reduces both handling times and application fees for the Authorization to Construct under GP terms. These advantages extend to the NOI forms and process for obtaining the Authorization to Operate under the permit as well.

The simplified NOI and Authorization process also applies when companies under a GP make facility modifications. Certain changes can even be made without notifying DEQ, as long as the facility remains in compliance with the general permit. The facility benefits by being able to react to market fluctuations more easily and DEQ is no longer required to issue a new permit for each and every activity or change in operation.

Rock Crushers General Permit
The original NMPF General Permit for minor facilities, issued May 9, 2000, was issued with an indefinite term. That is, it is effective until it is modified or cancelled. However, AQD has chosen to modify and reissue the GP to incorporate some significant changes in regulations that have taken place since it was issued. For instance, the simplified construction NOI option has been added for new facilities. A new facility that is eligible for the GP and agrees to abide by its requirements can be constructed the same day they give notice to the DEQ. In addition, the toxic air contaminant requirements of OAC 252:100-41 have been reoriented to lighten the burden on individual facilities. NSPS requirements listed in the GP have been updated, including changes to Subpart Kb (to exclude certain smaller storage tanks), and requirements of the new Subpart IIII (diesel engines). Note that these changes would apply to affected facilities regardless of whether they are covered by an individual permit or either version of the GP. In addition, both agency staff and the regulated community have identified other changes over the last seven years that are needed to clarify and streamline the permitting and compliance approach for this particular source category.

Existing facilities that are operating under the old NMPF General Permit are encouraged to switch to the new GP. As of the effective date of the new GP, the old version is no longer available to new or certain modified facilities (e.g., those that replace or add a diesel engine). A copy of the General Permit for Nonmetallic Mineral Processing Facilities is available on DEQ’s web site at A fact sheet and GP application forms are currently under development, and will be available shortly. Information on other General Permits issued by AQD is also available.

Alternate Enforcement Procedure – One Year Later

With the goal of maintaining and improving air quality in Oklahoma for the next 100 years, AQD’s Compliance, Enforcement and Technical Resources & Training sections implemented a new procedure for resolving industry violations in March 2006. The Alternate Enforcement Procedure is aimed at continuing to resolve noncompliance matters discovered during on-site full and partial-compliance evaluations more efficiently than traditional Notices of Violation.

Since the procedure’s inception, AQD staff has conducted 568 full-compliance evaluations (FCE) and 80 partial-compliance evaluations (PCE), and have sent 147 alternate enforcement letters to industry. Off-site reviews that identify violations are still addressed with a Notice of Violation, if warranted. In a few cases, companies receiving alternate enforcement letters have elected to receive a Notice of Violation and proceed with traditional enforcement.

As part of the alternate enforcement procedure, evaluation reports are sent out with an alternate enforcement letter to help industry review the focal points of the on-site evaluations and better understand what compliance evaluators are looking for in determining compliance with their Air Quality permits. Returning a regulated facility to compliance can be achieved quickly in most cases, because the resolution process can move at a rapid pace. This saves time for everyone involved and helps the environment by returning facilities to compliance more quickly, which can result in lower emissions. Alternate enforcement also has helped AQD reduce the number of enforcement actions tracked by EPA because they exceeded deadlines established for resolving cases.

DEQ “Change a Light” Campaign

The Change a Light Campaign is a national campaign sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The campaign’s goal is a simple one: to inspire people to make a pledge to change at least one of the light bulbs in their home from a regular incandescent bulb to a compact fluorescent bulb, thereby saving the individual money, conserving energy, and lowering power plant emissions. The campaign is an ongoing event but culminates on National Change a Light Day, which is the first Friday in October.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) joined the Change a Light Campaign in November of 2006 and set a goal for 200 DEQ employees to pledge to change one incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent. The deadline for these pledges was October, 2008, but DEQ completed the goal not only ahead of time (in June), but also above the mark. DEQ achieved 212 pledges, and averaged not one but five bulbs changed per pledge. All in all, DEQ employees pledged to change 1,178 bulbs! According to EPA’s Change a Light numbers, this amounts to the following benefits to the community:

  • 332,196 kWh of energy saved

  • $33,220 in energy costs saved

  • 524,210 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions prevented

Smoke School

Visible Emissions Evaluation training is being offered through CenSARA. Training will occur in Oklahoma City on September 25, 26, 27 and Tulsa on October 23, 24, 25. Field certifications and a classroom lecture will be offered at both locations. Applicants who have not attended smoke school previously are required to attend the classroom lecture. Lecture attendance is encouraged for all applicants who have not attended a lecture in the past year. These courses will meet EPA Method 9 and Method 22 training requirements. Individuals qualifying at the field certification will be certified to make visible emission readings.

The Oklahoma City classroom lecture will take place on September 25, at Metrotech Springlake Campus Business Conference Center, Carousel Room at 1900 Springlake Drive. The Field certification will take place September 26 and 27, at the North Parking Lot of the State Fair Grounds (north of Space Needle). Attendees should enter the fairgrounds from May Avenue at gate 25 on Neosho Avenue.

The Tulsa classroom lecture is scheduled for October 23 at the Holiday Inn Select at 5000 E. Skelly Drive. The Field certification will take place October 24 and 25 at Chandler Park on 21st Street.

Check-in for all classes will begin at 8:00 AM. Attendees should dress appropriately for the weather and bring pens, a clipboard and a lawn chair to the field certification.

Maps for both locations are available at the ETA website:
Registration for Smoke School may be completed on-line at the same website.

Questions may be directed to Jeff Dye at or (405) 702-4118.


The Air Quality Advisory Council met on July 18, 2007 in Ponca City. The agenda for the meeting included hearings on several proposed rules for Chapter 100, as well as a presentation on Subchapter 19, Control of Emission of Particulate Matter.

The Council voted to forward the following to the Environmental Quality Board for consideration at its November 14, 2007 meeting:

  • Modifications to Subchapter 7, Permits for Minor Facilities, to provide consistency with State Statutes and other Air Pollution Control rules

  • Clarification of the definitions sections in Subchapters 1, 8, 37 and 39

The Council heard comments from a number of citizens expressing theisr concern over the implementation of the proposed new Subchapter 44, Control of Mercury Emissions from Coal Fired Electric Steam Generating Units. The Council voted to table the proposed mercury rule until the January 2008 meeting, to await the outcome of litigation involving the federal CAMR rule and to allow time for the collection of additional data specific to the state of Oklahoma.

The Department is proposing a revision to Subchapter 5, Registration, Emission Inventory and Annual Operating Fees to increase annual operating fees for both minor facilities and for Part 70 sources. Additional income resulting from a fee increase is needed to cover current and anticipated staffing requirements in administering the Department’s programs. Ms. Beverly Botchlet-Smith, AQD Assistant Director, gave a presentation on the fee proposal. The Council voted to hold this rule over to the October Council meeting for further consideration.

The Council also held over Subchapter 17, Incinerators until the October meeting, pending final approval of EPA’s reconsideration of the Large Municipal Waste Combustors rule.

Mr. Dawson Lasseter, Engineer Manager with the Air Quality Division, presented a work progress summary on Subchapter 19, Control of Emission of Particulate Matter.

The next Council meeting will be held in Oklahoma City on October 17, 2007.

Lead Based Paint Compliance Initiative

At the beginning of each certification year, the Lead-Based Paint Program conducts a compliance initiative. The Technical Resources and Projects Section of the Air Quality Division routinely reviews all of the inspection, risk assessment, and clearance activities for the previous year. Then using a random number generator, a certain number of activities are chosen for further review. Requests for Information are then sent to each certified contractor so that the DEQ can review the respective activities’ reports. Sometimes no further action is required. However, if a deficiency is identified, then the firm and contractor will be notified and given an opportunity to correct any errors in their report. All of this is done with the sole purpose of making sure everyone is in compliance with current regulations.

Air Quality Attorney to Co-Chair National Committee

Matt Paque is the Environmental Attorney Supervisor for the Air Quality Division. Matt provides counsel to the DEQ Air Quality Division regarding permitting, enforcement, and rulemaking. He also advises the DEQ administration on a variety of air quality issues. Matt was recently named a co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) Air Quality Committee. The Air Quality Committee provides a valuable forum and practical resources for lawyers interested in air-related issues. Committee members range from experienced practitioners to those who deal with air quality issues on only an occasional basis. The Committee provides information to its members through the programs it presents and its contributions to the various ABA publications.

Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program

Recently, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality teamed up with End of Life Vehicles Solutions Corporation (ELVS) to help with a new national voluntary program to remove and recycle mercury switches from vehicles, before they are crushed and shredded for recycling. There are an estimated 30 million mercury switches remaining in vehicles on the road today.

Pellet-sized mercury switches can be found in convenience lights in trunk and hood compartments and in anti-lock brakes of some vehicles built as late as the 2002 model year. Automakers have phased out the use of these mercury switches in new vehicles. When retired vehicles are recycled, it is important for vehicle dismantlers to recover and properly dispose of mercury switches.

As part of the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program (NVMSRP), the auto industry will provide education, collection, and recycling of automotive mercury switches which will be carried out by the End of Life Vehicles Solutions Corporation. End of Life Vehicle Solutions is a nonprofit corporation formed by automobile manufacturers to address this issue. A $4 million fund has been established to reward dismantlers and recyclers for their efforts by paying $1 per mercury switch received (switches do not need to be removed from the assemblies). Free educational materials and collection buckets are provided.

As a first step in implementing the NVMSRP ELVS in cooperation with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, will provide vehicle recyclers with collection buckets and will pay the costs of transportation, retorting/recycling or disposal of elemental mercury from the automotive switches. DEQ mailed out 477 letters to salvage yards and recyclers across the state, and have already received word that 14 participants have joined the program in Oklahoma.

Questions about the program can be addressed to Lyndee Laubach Air Quality Division at (405)702-4100.


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