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For information about the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program, contact:
Small Business Helpline
Toll free: 855-889-3021

Streamlined permit options for small sources of air pollution

Sources with low amounts of air pollution currently have a range of streamlined options available to them in place of the ‘traditional‘ source-specific air pollution construction and operation permits. Review the following table of emissions thresholds to decide if your facility meets one of the main eligibility for these streamlined options. If you can demonstrate your facility emissions are below each of the thresholds for one of the options, you meet one of the main eligibility criteria.

Streamlined Options - Eligibility Thresholds
Pollutant Actual Emissions Exemption Type A ROP Type C ROP for Printers Type B ROP
Criteria Pollutants 10 Tons/Year 25 Tons/Year 25 Tons/Year 50 Tons/Year
A Single Federal HAP 10 Tons/Year 2.5 Tons/Year 5.0 Tons/Year 5.0 Tons/Year
Combined Federal HAPs 25 Tons/Year 6.25 Tons/Year 12.5 Tons/Year 12.5 Tons/Year

The Registration Operation Permit (ROP) options provide a streamlined permit for facilities with low actual air emissions. In exchange for keeping emissions below one of the thresholds listed above, facilities enjoy a variety of benefits as described under the "Benefits" tab below. You can review the final registration permits' content at the Registration tab on Air permit options.

Your facility could be exempt from the requirement to obtain an operation permit if your reported emissions are below the thresholds in the column under "Actual Emissions Exemption" above. A facility that can keep emissions below those thresholds does not need to apply for and receive an air pollution operation permit. Once operating under the exemption, the facility may also be exempt from needing a construction permit for making changes or adding equipment as long as emissions after the project is completed are still below the 10-ton exemption threshold and all other eligibility requirements are met. You can file a notification with the DNR that you will operate under an actual emissions-based operation permit exemption.

There are a few other eligibility criteria used to determine if a facility qualifies for one of these streamlined options; these are found under the "Who qualifies" tab below.

For either the registration operation permits or the actual emissions-based operation permit exemption, there is no document that details all of the requirements within NR 400-499, Wis. Adm. Code, which may apply to the facility. A traditional operation permit issued to a facility will be revoked by the DNR before being covered by the streamlined option requested. This means some limits included in the permit to avoid certain requirements will be revoked as well, possibly changing how the rules apply to the facility. It is recommended that facilities covered by one of these options do their due diligence and conduct a review of which air rules may apply to the facility. To learn what rules may apply, a facility could use the compliance and monitoring summary checklist provided for facilities covered under the Registration Permit; see Form 4530-179 under the ”Compliance” tab on air permit and compliance forms page. More information is provided under the "Compliance Resources" tab below.


Benefits to obtaining a registration permit or exemption

What if you have one or more air pollution operation permit applications submitted to DNR but NO final permit issued to your facility?

Does your industry change frequently, with short notice? Do you end up filing multiple permit revisions or construction permit applications for small projects within a few years?

Obtaining a registration operation permit or operating under the actual emissions-based operation permit exemption may help resolve these issues.

Issues Registration permit Operation permit exemption
Fees None to file application.
$400 annually – starting first full calendar year after coverage issued.
None to notify DNR.
No annual fee.
Issuance timeline Within 15 business days of complete (signed) application. Receipt email/letter sent as soon as application logged in as received by DNR.
Expiration None None
Renewal/revisions None None
Construction permits and fees Not required if you remain eligible after changes. Not required if you remain eligible after changes.
Application forms less than 15 pages 1 page
Compliance demonstration Simplified recordkeeping compared to source-specific permit. Even more simplified than registration permit.

Don't forget: If covered under either of these options, it is still your responsibility to meet any air pollution requirements that apply to your facility. Review the "Compliance resources" tab for information on how to demonstrate you meet all applicable requirements.

For companies constructing a brand new facility and wishing to receive confirmation from the DNR that the project is exempt, you should file the Facility Details and Permit Actions Air Pollution Control Application (4530-100) [PDF] form indicating your intent to use the exemption, along with any documentation that proves you meet the exemption. DNR will respond with a letter/email indicating the notification for Actual Emissions-based Operation Permit Exemption has been received, and you can begin constructing the facility. No construction permit fee is required for this.

If you currently have an operation permit for your facility but you have revisions or renewal applications that have not yet been issued, you may want to consider filing a registration permit application or actual emissions-based operation permit exemption determination. The DNR will revoke all old permits before approving the applications for either the registration permit or operation permit exemption.

Who qualifies

Who qualifies

Before deciding whether to apply for the registration permit or actual emissions-based operation permit exemption, be sure to review the eligibility criteria for each option in their respective fact sheets linked below. If you are not sure what your emission rates are, to know which option you qualify for, the Emissions Calculations [XLSX] spreadsheet provides some resources to help you calculate emissions.

If your actual emissions are very close to a particular threshold you may want to think about what your operations might look like in the next two or three years. If you foresee production will grow quickly, the next larger permit option may be a better choice. Review other permit options.

Several factors may affect a facility's eligibility.

  • Federal standards: Many of the federal standards can make a source ineligible for these operation permit options, especially the exemption.
    • If you have any existing operation permits or revision or renewal applications, review the documents for any activities that have triggered a new source performance standard (40 CFR Part 60 or chapter NR 440, Wis. Adm. Code) or national emissions standard for hazardous air pollutants (40 CFR Part 63 or chapters NR 440-449, Wis. Adm. Code).
  • Control devices: Do you use a control device to reduce your air pollutant emissions – whether to reduce dust, solvents or chemicals?
    • The registration permit only allows a set list of devices and you must apply a minimum control efficiency to your emissions calculations to determine if you qualify.
  • Exhaust stack configuration: How are your emission exhaust stacks configured? Do they all open vertically (i.e., not pointing off at an angle, side-ways or down)? Are the openings free of obstructions, anything covering or partially covering the openings? Are the exhaust points at a height that is higher than any surrounding buildings?
    • If you answer "No" to any of these, then you may need to make changes or do additional computer-based modeling to show that ambient air quality standards are being met to qualify.
  • Air dispersion modeling: If you are considering the Type A ROP, does the facility have emissions of PM greater than 5 tons per year? If you are considering the Type B ROP, does the facility have emissions of PM10 greater than 5 tons per year or emissions of either SO2 or NOx greater than 25 tons per year?
    • If maximum controlled emissions are greater than these levels, then air dispersion modeling will be required to show your facility is eligible. If you answer "Yes" to the previous question on exhaust stacks, then the DNR can complete the computer modeling for you. Otherwise you need to submit modeling results with your permit application, which may require you to enlist the help of an expert who understands air dispersion computer modeling.
    • Facilities with high emission rates for NOx or SO2 may not pass the modeling analysis for the 1-hour NOx or SO2 ambient air quality standards. EPA has proposed regulations with new modeling tools and the DNR is currently drafting revised modeling guidance to address some of the issues arising during modeling for these new standards. It may benefit facilities to delay requesting a Type B ROP until federal rules are finalized and the state’s revised modeling guidance is available in late 2016.

Registration Permits

More information on who may qualify for a registration permit, including benefits and disadvantages, is found on:

Read through each of the permits to know what your requirements will be once coverage is approved:

Actual Emissions Exemption

More information on the actual emissions-based operation permit exemption is found on the Exemptions from Operation Permits Based on Actual Emissions under s. 407.03(1m), Wis. Adm. Code (AM-388) [PDF] fact sheet. To notify the DNR you plan to operate under the exemption:

  • submit a cover letter notifying DNR of your plan to operate under the exemption, including the elements listed at the end of the fact sheet AM-388 listed above; and
  • be sure to include any supporting calculations or pertinent information about your facility that demonstrates eligibility for the exemption.

If you have any questions, contact the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program at the email or toll free number on the right side of the page.

Compliance resources

Compliance resources

Once you have received notification from DNR that your facility is covered under the requested option, you will need to demonstrate compliance on a regular basis. It is often a misperception that if you don't need a permit, or don't have one yet because DNR hasn't reviewed your application, then there is nothing else you have to do to comply with air pollution requirements. There are a number of rules within the state code, chapters NR 400-499, and federal standards that have their own applicability thresholds and criteria. If covered under either the registration permit or exemption, it is still your responsibility to meet any state or federal air pollution requirements that apply to your facility.

The following list includes some tools and resources that will help you show the DNR both that you are eligible for the registration permit or exemption, and that you comply with other air pollution requirements that affect your operation. There are a number of records to maintain, reports to file, and notifications that must be submitted.

There are additional resources regarding air permits for Printers on the Printers guide to air permits page.

Here is a PDF of the following list that you may wish to print out and save for your records.


Both the Registration Permit and Exemption require that you demonstrate compliance with any of the requirements in NR 400-499 that apply to your facility. Records demonstrate you are meeting those requirements.

  • Control device parameters: If you have a control device used to reduce air pollution emissions, review Chapter NR 439 for any monitoring and/or testing requirements for that device. They can include things like:
    • Operational parameters: Measuring parameters that shows if the device is operating correctly, can include: pressure drop for filters, temperature for incinerators. Check with the device manufacturer for recommendations.
    • Minimum parameters: Look at table 2 on page 11 of the ROP-A03 for minimum monitoring requirements.
    • Maintenance: Keeping logs of any maintenance on the device and corrective actions between regular maintenance.
  • Emissions calculations: Annual records and emissions calculations are needed to show you meet the eligibility criteria of the registration permit or exemption. Keep records of information used to calculate emissions at the end of each calendar year.
  • Coatings and organic compounds: Keep separate emissions calculations for coating process lines and organic compound emitting process lines. Review the registration permit for what is required.
  • Stack parameters: Keep records of stack height and other related measurements used to determine if you qualify for a registration permit.
  • Due diligence: Keep records of your due diligence efforts in checking the air requirements for whether they apply to your facility.
    • Records might include writing down the decision process for each rule that might apply, why it does/doesn't apply, how you can show you meet it or are exempt. Initials or signature of the person making the decision and a date can be helpful.
    • Rules you should review can include:
      • particulate matter controls in NR 415;
      • volatile organic compound rules in NR 419-425;
      • visible emissions in NR 431;
      • NSPS in NR 440;
      • NESHAPs in NR 440-449; and
      • state hazardous air pollutants in NR 445.
    • Review fact sheets on different industries found on the SBEAP web pages found on the Resources for industries page. It has information on industries, including boilers and fuels, chrome electroplating, construction and demolition, internal combustion engines, grain handling and other agribusiness, rock crushing, sand mining, and many others. More are being added periodically.
    • If your due diligence indicates any of the requirements do apply, then keep all records required in that chapter/section of the rule.

There are multiple annual reports required under the registration permit and the exemption. For additional clarification, you can review the fact sheet on Annual Reports and Certifications Required for Air Permits and the Air Emissions Inventory (AM-529) [PDF].

  • Anual air emissions inventory: Complete the report by March 1st every year, unless your emissions are below reporting thresholds in NR 438
    • Start at air emissions inventory and reporting to learn how to complete the emissions report.
    • If your emissions are below the reporting levels, submit a letter to DNR to report that your emissions are small enough to not require reporting.
    • If you have made changes during the year, be sure to update the process and device information in the report.
  • Annual compliance certification and monitoring summary: The registration permit requires this report be submitted on March 1st every year. The first report is due the March following your first full calendar year of coverage.
    • This report is filed separate from the emissions report, and used to demonstrate you have met the permit conditions throughout the year.
    • There are forms available to complete this reporting requirement. However, any format may be used to submit the same information to DNR.
    • Section A: Annual Compliance Certification Monitoring Report and Section B: Deviation Summary Report (4530-178) [PDF]
      • Make sure to describe on this form changes to the facility's operations that affect air pollution emissions, such as any new emission units or other modifications to emissions units.
      • Section B is for listing any requirements which were not met during some portion of the previous year. Review the instructions for more information on what to include.
    • Section C: Monitoring Summary/Checklist (4530-179) [PDF]
      • This form does not need to be submitted, but can be used to help determine which rules apply to your facility's operations and compliance status with them.

There are a couple notifications you should provide to the DNR during the calendar year; do not wait until for the annual compliance certification is due to notify the DNR of these issues:

  • If you used air dispersion modeling to qualify for the registration permit and you make changes to stack exhaust points, then you need to review the modeling and possibly redo it to make sure you still qualify.
  • If you change owners, notify the DNR by letter within 30 days of making the change.
Last revised: Tuesday May 07 2019