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Streamlined permit options for small sources of air pollution

Sources that emit small amounts of air pollution have a number of streamlined, lower cost options available to them in place of the 'traditional' source-specific air pollution construction and operation permits. The following table lists the emissions thresholds that are the main eligibility criteria for these streamlined options. If you can demonstrate your facility emissions are below each of the thresholds for one of these options, review the other eligibility criteria to see if you can apply.

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 where, 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. Each ROP has been issued by DNR and a facility applies for coverage under a ROP once eligibility is confirmed. Before applying for a ROP, review the final permit content on the Registration Permit webpage.

Your facility might be exempt from the requirement to obtain an operation permit if your annual emissions are all 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. Under the exemption, the facility may also be exempt from needing a construction permit for making changes or adding equipment so 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.

A few other eligibility criteria used to determine if a facility qualifies for one of these streamlined options are described on the "Who qualifies" 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 No application fee.
Annual fee $400 – starting first full calendar year after coverage issued.
None application or notification fee.
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 3 page form
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) form indicating your intent to use the exemption, along with any documentation that proves you meet the exemption. The 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 action.

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 exit DNR] spreadsheet provides some resources to help you calculate emissions.

If your actual emissions are very close to a particular threshold, 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).
    • A rule change in 2020 allows generator engines that meet the state's definition of Restricted Use RICE and are certified to meet the NSPS to utilize the exemption.
  • 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.
      • If not, you need to submit modeling results with your permit application, which may require you to enlist the help of a consultant who understands air dispersion computer modeling.
      • If your facility had an air quality analysis done previously and you have not made changes to emission rates or stacks since the analysis was performed, you may attach those results in lieu of submitting or requesting or performing a new analysis.

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) fact sheet. To notify DNR that you plan to operate under 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

For either the registration operation permits or the actual emissions-based operation permit exemption, the facility is not provided with a 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 the facility is covered by the streamlined option requested. This means any limits included in the existing 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 and the form instructions under the ”Compliance Forms” tab on air permit and compliance forms page. Additional information on some applicable rules is provided below.

Once you have received notification from the DNR that your facility is covered under the requested ROP or exemption, you will need to demonstrate compliance on a regular basis. Whether covered under either a ROP or the 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 continue to be eligible for the registration permit or exemption, and that you comply with other air pollution requirements that affect your operation. There are multiple types of records to maintain, reports to file, and notifications to submit.

There are additional resources regarding air permits for Printers on the Printers Portal webpage.


Both the ROP and Actual emissions-based 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: Measurements that show the device is operating correctly can include: pressure drop for filters and combustion chamber 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, in section G on page 13 of ROP-B01, and section G on page 21 of ROP-C02.
    • Maintenance: Keeping logs of any maintenance on the device and corrective actions between regular maintenance.
  • Emissions calculations: Annual or monthly 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 that are not coating related. 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 which air pollution requirements apply to your facility.
    • Records might include writing down the decision process for each rule that might apply, why it does or doesn't apply, how you show that you meet the requirements or are exempt. Initials or signature of the person making the decision and a date should be included.
    • Rules most facilities should review 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 the Resources for industries page. It has information on different industries as well as processes that emit air pollution, including boilers and fuel burning units, chrome electroplating, painting and coating, 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 that a specific requirement does apply, then keep all records required in that chapter/section of the rule.

There are multiple annual reports required under the registration permit and for sources with an 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).

  • Annual air emissions inventory: Complete the report by March 1st every year, unless your emissions are below reporting thresholds in NR 438
    • Start at the Air emissions inventory and reporting webpage to learn how to complete the emissions report.
    • If your emissions are below the reporting levels, submit the Under-Threshold Notification to DNR.
    • If you have made changes during the year, be sure to update 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. For ROP-A, the first report is due in March of the year following your first full calendar year of coverage. For others, the report is due the year after you are first covered.
    • This report is filed separate from the air emissions report, and is 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 the DNR.
    • Air Pollution Registration Operation Permit Annual Compliance Certification (4530-178)
      • 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.
      • The Deviation Summary Report on page 4 of the form is for listing any requirements which were not met during some portion of the previous year. Review the form instructions for more information on what to include.
    • Registration Operation Permit Annual Monitoring Summary and Checklist (4530-179)
      • 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.
      • The form instructions provide additional details on how to complete the information.

There are a couple notifications you should provide to the DNR during the calendar year; do not wait until for the annual permit 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. For additional details on what to include in the notification, review the Facility Changes webpage.
Additional resources