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Stationary Source Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What are stationary source permits?

Air Quality Permits, like building and other business permits are a part of doing business in California. In Placer County, these permits are issued by the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, a local governmental agency responsible for protecting the air quality in our area. Information on Outdoor Burning can be found under Burning Information and Requirements web page.  

Who needs a permit?

Permits are required by state and federal law for any operation or equipment that has the potential to pollute the air. Permits are required of both small and large businesses. They are generally required:

  • Before construction begins for a new operation;
  • Whenever a change of ownership occurs;
  • Before a modification takes place;
  • Before equipment is replaced or relocated; or
  • Portable Equipment.

This link is to a questionnaire which can be used to determine if a permit is required.

Why do I need a permit?

The District issues permits to ensure owners and operators of all equipment and processes that causes or controls the discharge of air contaminants are aware of and follow federal, state, and District rules. Placer’s air quality attainment status can be viewed here. Before anyone builds, alters, replaces, operates, or uses machinery or equipment which may cause the issuance of air contaminants,the person must obtain a permit to do so from the Air Pollution Control Officer of the District (California Health and Safety Code, Ch. 4, Art. 1, 42300). The permits include administrative requirements and limitations on operation (i.e. “Conditions”) that if violated would result in non-compliance with District, State, or federal emission limitations.

Since Placer County does not meet some of the air quality standards of the US EPA or the California Air Resources Board, the District must have a strategic plan to improve air quality. Air Quality Planning requires a thorough knowledge of the current emission inventory as well knowing where additional reductions can or cannot be achieved. Issuing permits allows the District to do better air quality planning, to improve compliance with established control measures, and to work with businesses to assure that their operations follow federal, state and local regulations and are coordinated with the District's air quality strategy.

How does the permit process work?

The District issues two permits for a stationary source. The first - issued before construction begins - is an Authority to Construct. When construction is completed and Authority to Construct permit requirements are met, the District issues a Permit to Operate.

Authority to Construct (A/C)

The A/C permit allows construction of a new facility or the installation or the modification of equipment at an existing facility.

Inspection & Temporary Operation

Following construction, installation, or modification, District staff inspects the facility to ensure proper installation of all equipment. A temporary operating period is allowed for testing, calibration, and demonstration of compliance with conditions of the A/C.

Permit to Operate (P/O)

The P/O allows continued operation in accordance with all permit conditions and local, state, and federal air pollution requirements.


The P/O is re-evaluated every year and is updated as necessary to ensure compliance and to reflect any changes to local, state, or federal requirements.

What is an authority to construct (A/C)?

The Authority to Construct (A/C) is the first permit issued. A facility owner must file for the permit before construction begins to ensure compliance with all applicable District rules and regulations. This permit does allow changes during the planning stage, if it's necessary to alter the design to comply with the District's rules. A District engineer evaluates the project based on the information supplied in the permit application and any other equipment or process information made available. Applicants must demonstrate that they can operate in compliance with the District rules and regulations. When the District engineer is satisfied that the project will comply, an Authority to Construct/Temporary Permit to Operate is issued.

What is a permit to operate (P/O)?

After construction is completed, operation begins to demonstrate compliance with the A/C conditions. District staff inspects the facility to ensure that all the necessary equipment has been installed in accordance with the Authority to Construct. When the District is satisfied that the operating facility does not violate District rules and regulations, a Permit to Operate will be issued. The Permit to Operate contains the parameters within which the facility may operate. This permit must be renewed annually and may be reviewed and modified as needed.

How do I apply for an air quality permit?

Contact the District to receive a Permit Application Package. The application form and instructions are available here. Applicants must submit:

  • A completed permit application and an application fee;
  • A detailed description of equipment; and
  • Detailed information on the operation process and the materials used.

This link is to a fact sheet which provides assistance in submitting a complete and accurate permit application.

What about fees?

The District charges permit fees to cover the cost for reviewing applications, issuing permits and ensuring compliance. Different fees apply to different types of permits and equipment.Current District fees are here. Engineering Analysis and Evaluation Fee: This fee is based on the number and type of equipment proposed, and covers the technical processing of the Authority to Construct application. For complex projects the fees may be increased to cover the actual time spent evaluating the application and issuing the permit. Annual Operating Fee: For most businesses, permits are reviewed every year and updated as necessary. A renewal fee is charged based on the number and type of equipment plus the total annual emissions. This fee covers the permit review and annual inspections.

How are Permits Renewed?

Permits are renewed annually.  An invoice for annual fees will be mailed to the company approximately 45 days in advance of the expiration date for existing permits - with 30 days for payment.  Once the invoice is paid, the permits will be renewed.  The District’s intention is that the renewal permit will be issued prior to the expiration of the existing permits. If there are no changes to a permit, only a one page coupon indicating payment and renewal will be provided.  Companies should keep copies of the original permits and all coupons on file.

If invoices are not paid when due, a late penalty will be assessed. If all permit fees that are due, including late penalties, are not paid, and the permits have expired, enforcement action may be taken for operation without a valid permit.  An expired permit may be reinstated only by filing a new application accompanied by an application fee and payment in full of all fees previously due.

If invoices or permits are late, due delays that are the responsibility of the District, the existing permits continue to be in good standing until invoices are sent, payment received, and permits issued.  No enforcement action or late penalties will result.

If you are concerned that you may have missed the receipt of the renewal invoice or the new permit, you are welcome to contact the District to inquire concerning the status of your permit.

For more information

The District's Rules and Regulations are available online. A print or CD copy can be purchased from the District. To inquire about rule changes, or to order a copy of the District's rules, contact the District's clerk at (530) 745-2330. Contact the Placer County Air Pollution Control District Engineer at (530) 745-2330 if you have any further questions about the application permit requirements.