Environmental Engineering for Air Emissions

Background on Environmental Engineering for Air Emissions

Environmental engineering for air emissions

In three previous papers we dealt with an overview of environmental engineering, industrial wastewater permits, and industrial wastewater environmental engineering. In this paper, we will discuss environmental engineering required to address air emissions to the outside environment.

To explain further, these emissions to the outside environment result from manufacturing and industrial operations. And, these emissions fall into two categories of emissions. Firstly, emissions can come from one point source such as smoke stack. Secondly, emissions can come from a non-point source. Thuse, these are fugitive emissions. In further explanation, these fugitive emissions result from processes typically inside a building or in an outside designated area.

Environmental Engineering and the Air Engineer

Environmental engineering and the Air Engineer are critical to the process. Firstly, the engineer determines the best reasonably achievable control technology to minimize the emissions to the environment outside of the facility. The engineer does this by designing, testing, and adjusting the controls. This is the engineering component. Secondly, the engineer is the other component. In Florida, a Florida licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) signs and seals applications for Title V Air permits and Federally Enforceable State Operating Permits (FESOPs). A P.E. in Florida limits his or her services to areas that he or she has the required education, training, and experience. This Air Engineer knows emissions and has the experience to provide consulting services in the air emissions area.

Identify the Pollutants in the Air Emissions

To engineer the air emissions controls, the engineer has to know the process generating the emissions. Firstly, the environmental engineer must review the raw materials, the industrial or manufacturing process, the resultant air emissions, and the control options. Following are a few pollutants which may be of concern: 

  • Particulate Matter (physical particles or dust)
  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Ozone
  • Lead

All of these except VOCs are criteria air pollutants established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, https://www.epa.gov/criteria-air-pollutants).  Each type of pollutant may require a different environmental engineering design to remove or reduce it before being emitted to the outside environment.

Cleanup is the Goal of Air Emissions Permits

The goal is to clean up the air so the pollutants are eliminated or below State standards prior to emission. These standards are thresholds for public health concerns. If the pollutants are below these criteria, there is not a public health concern, but there still may be a concern for unborn babies (pregnant women), children, the elderly, and individuals with certain lung conditions, such as emphysema, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), etcetera. 

Design the Air Emissions Control

The control design is selected to address the pollutants. Following are a few examples: 

  • Alternative raw materials 
  • Industrial process modifications 
  • Filters (cloth, baghouses) 
  • Cyclones (gravitational) 
  • Air scrubbers 
  • Precipitators (electrostatic) 
  • Equipment maintenance and cleaning 

Role of Engineer for Air Emissions Permits

What is the role of the Air Engineer? Firstly,the engineer reviews the industrial process, including materials and chemicals, generating the air emissions. After that, the engineer evaluates several control design options. So, the engineer runs calculations to determine the best most cost-effective control. After that, the engineer prepares and submits the air permit application to FDEP and, if required, the County. Then, the engineer provides additional information requested by the FDEP and County. Once the regulatory agencies are satisfied, the engineer reviews the permit to make sure that it meets good engineering practice and is manageable for the client. And, if requested, the engineer monitors the treatment process in light of the permit conditions.


So there is a discussion of air emissions environmental engineering and what the environmental engineer’s role is! For further assistance, Environmental Safety Consultants (www.escflorida.com) is here. ESC is a Florida licensed environmental engineering company with a P.E. on staff. We have the credentials and experience to help you with your air emissions permit needs. We service Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, and Fort Meyers. That includes Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Lee and other counties from Pensacola (Escambia County) to Key West (Monroe County). So,  Contact ESC and get a reply promptly!


Environmental Safety Consultants

Environmental Permits Overview

What Environmental Permits are there?

Environmental Permits Bradenton and Sarasota

environmental permits.  Here are just a few:


  • Wetlands
  • Endangered Species

Industry & Construction

  • Air Permits for Air Discharges from Industry
  • Wastewater Discharge, Sanitary and Industrial
  • Hazardous Wastes, Transportation, Disposal & Storage
  • Stormwater, Retention Ponds, Detention Ponds, Stormwater Runoff – Construction and Industry


  • Septic Tanks
  • Drinking Water, Private Wells and Community Supplies
  • Solid Wastes, Landfills & Incineration

Permit Needs

You have to review your planned operation to see if it will require environmental permits.  Then, you have to decide what part of the environment it may impact.  For example, will it impact air, water, or land?  To further explain, will it be changing the existing site?

Example 1

Example 1 is environmental permits for building and paving a site. As a result, that activity decreases percolation of rain water into the ground.  Because of that, more stormwater will run off the site. So, that could require a stormwater retention or detention pond permit. Further, it could require an NPDES  permit for industrial sites. Additionally, those sites may have to prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Example 2

Example 2 is environmental permits for certain industrial facilities.  In addition to the stormwater permits and plan identified in Example 1 above, there are other permits. For instance, sewer discharge permits may be required. Further, air permits may be needed.  Finally, are used oil and hazardous waste requirements.


Responsibility for acquiring the permits can fall on many different parties. For example, it can include developers and builders. Additionally, it may include banks, attorneys, architects, or engineers. Finally, it can include manufacturers, industrial facilities, hospitals, crematories, municipalities, and many more!


If you need lifelines, who should you call?  Firstly, some of the best lifelines are your associates. So, why is that true? Because their knowledge base can be a good starting point.  And so, who are your associates? To begin with, they may be your co-workers, partners, or managers. Next, outside of them, for instance, are your attorney, professional colleagues, and environmental engineering companies.  Finally, those associates may direct you to agencies or may contact the agencies themselves on your behalf.


There are several key agencies which typically administer the various types of environmental permits.  Firstly, are local agencies. For example, these may include the Water Management Districts, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), counties, and cities.  Secondly, are federal agencies. For example, these may include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, www.epa.gov) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  But, just be careful what you say.  Because, it is all in the presentation!

Let ESC Help

ESC Environmental Permits Overview

In conclusion, there are many permits identified in this Overview of Environmental Permits! But just remember that ESC is a Florida licensed engineering company with the experience and knowledge to help you. That is because our specialty is permits concerning air emissions, industrial discharges, NPDES stormwater, and more. We service Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, and Fort Meyers. That includes Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Lee and other counties from Pensacola (Escambia County) to Key West (Monroe County). So,  Contact ESC and get a reply promptly!

Air Emissions Permits

air emissions permits and testing in florida

Air Emissions Permits Basics

Does your business need air emissions permits?  There are three considerations. Firstly, the answer depends on what types of equipment it operates, what chemicals it uses, and what kinds and quantities of pollutants it generates.  Secondly, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) focuses on larger emission sources and certain smaller sources. To explain smaller sources, it is the toxic pollutants they can emit. And, what are these smaller sources? They can include paint spray booths, dry cleaners, and fiberglass spa manufacturers.

Hazardous Air Pollutants & Nuisances

There are two categories of pollutants which are regulated. Firstly, are hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) which present a higher risk to human health. These include common chemicals like methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) in paint or solvents, tetrachloroethylene or perc used in dry cleaning, and styrene in fiberglass. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, www.epa.gov) determines HAPs. Secondly, are nuisances. For example, these nuisances include blowing dust, paint overspray, metals, or fuel odors, among others.  They can be emitted from a stack or from a building. The latter are fugitive emissions. The EPA and FDEP may require permits for these nuisances.

Air Emissions Permits Strategies

Obtaining an air emissions permit for a source, even a small one, can be a lengthy, complicated, and expensive process for any business.  Fortunately, there are some less harrowing alternatives for certain sources.  To begin with, the process can be modified. For example, use less hazardous chemicals. Secondly, reduce the amount of material escaping to the atmosphere. As a result, the emissions may drop below a permitting threshold.

For common sources with similar operations, there may be a general permit available with less rigorous application and compliance requirements.  To determine permit requirements, businesses must review their operations, chemicals, controls, and pollutants.  With this information, they will be ready to determine permit requirements.

Types of Permits

There are a few different types of air emissions permits:

  1. Title V Permits cover the largest sources and are the most complicated to obtain.

2. Federally Enforceable State Operating Permits (FESOPs) are for smaller sources which still require an individual permit.

3. General Permits cover commonly encountered sources such as concrete ready-mix plants, crematories, and other facilities.

Permit Applications

The air permit application is a two-step process for individual air emissions permits such as Title V Permits or FESOPs. Firstly, is the Construction Permit application. That allows construction and installation of the source. Second, is the Operating Permit application. That allows the source to operate.

Before you submit the Operating Permit application, the FDEP may require inspections, engineering certifications by a Florida Professional Engineer (P.E.), and emissions testing.   The Operating Permit contains general conditions and specific conditions which can include record keeping, testing, and reporting.

All permitting requirements originate from the Clean Air Act (CAA) passed years ago by Congress.  EPA has promulgated regulations to implement the CAA.  FDEP has passed its own state regulations to enforce the EPA’s federal regulations.  Check FDEP out at https://floridadep.gov.  Therefore, in Florida the FDEP is the air permitting authority.  So typically, contact the appropriate FDEP district office to determine permit requirements.  For some of the larger counties, the counties themselves are the permitting authority for the FDEP.  But, FDEP can tell you that.


Environmental Safety Consultants, Inc.
Here to serve you!

So, there you have it – a broad picture of air emissions permits in Florida.  Let us know if we at Environmental Safety Consultants can help you.  We service Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, and Fort Meyers. That includes Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Lee and other counties from Pensacola (Escambia County) to Key West (Monroe County). You will be able to breathe a lot easier! Contact ESC and get a reply promptly!