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Do I Need An Air Permit?

Any source that releases a regulated air pollutant above specified levels into the air must obtain an air quality permit.


Contact the Maricopa County Air Quality Department Small Business Assistance Office at (602) 506-5102 to find out if you need an air quality permit or for help in completing a permit application package. Any business, regardless of size, may contact this number for technical guidance, permitting requirements, air toxics issues, maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rules, reasonably available control technology (RACT) and best available control technology (BACT) requirements, operation and maintenance (O&M) plans and other technical topics.


What is an air quality permit?

A permit is a written authorization to build, install and/or operate equipment that emits, or controls, the emissions of air contaminants such as:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds [VOCs]

  • Particulate Matter [PM10 or PM2.5]

  • Carbon Monoxide [CO]

  • Nitrogen Oxides [NOx]

  • Sulfur Oxides [SOx]

  • Hazardous Air Pollutants [HAPs]

For more information on the Maricopa County Air Quality Department permitting process, view our Permit Information brochure.


Does my business need an air permit?

Air permits are required for any source that releases an air contaminant into the air unless it is specifically exempt. Examples of sources and operations needing air quality permits include boilers; incinerators; chemical processing, handling or storage; material (sand, gravel, etc.) handling; abrasive blasting; industrial and commercial coating or painting; stationary engines solvent cleaning; dry cleaning; petroleum storage.


What is an air contaminant source?

An air contaminant source is anything that emits an air pollutant. While this covers many different types of activities, four rules of thumb can often help in identifying an air contaminant source:

  1. Something that has a stack, dust collector or vent. Examples include woodworking operations, grinders and storage tanks.
  2. A process that uses paints, solvents, adhesives or inks. Examples include paint booths, solvent cleaning tanks and printing presses.
  3. A process that burns a fuel (e.g., oil, natural gas or coal). Examples include boilers, furnaces and process heaters.
  4. A process that produces visible dust, odors or smoke. Examples include material handling operations, sand blasting, unpaved roadways and incinerators.

Some businesses that typically require air permits include:

  • Asphalt plants

  • Auto body shops

  • Crematories

  • Dry cleaners

  • Foundries

  • Gas stations

  • Grain elevators

  • Furniture manufacturing

  • Metal finishing/plating

  • Plastics manufacturing

  • Printing/graphic arts

  • Sand and gravel plants


Types of Permits:

There are various categories for air quality permits including:

  • Title V (major sources)

  • Non-Title V (minor sources)

  • General permit

  • Earthmoving (Rule 310)

  • Open burn permit


Title V permits
Title V of the federal Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a national, operating permit program for major sources of emissions across the country. EPA allows states and local permitting authorities, such as the Air Quality Department, to operate a federally enforceable permitting program.
The department issues Title V permits to facilities that emit significant amounts of air pollutants. For all implementing agencies in the country, there are standard requirements for permit programs and permit content.


Non-Title permits
The department issues Non-Title V permits to sources that are below Title V (major source) emission thresholds. The permits include conditions that regulate source specific emission limits, monitoring, operational requirements, recordkeeping and reporting.


Synthetic Minor
The department's Non-Title V permitting program issues Synthetic Minor permits for sources with actual emissions of at least 50% of the major source emissions thresholds. The permits include conditions that regulate source specific emission limits, monitoring, operational requirements, recordkeeping and reporting.


General permits
The General Permit program offers an alternative to regular permits and simplifies the process for authorizing operation. A source must first qualify for a General Permit before an Authority to Operate is issued for the following types of sources:



Dust Control Permit
The department issues Earthmoving, or Dust Control, permits when earthmoving operations disturb an area greater than one tenth of an acre of land (4,356 square feet). Earthmoving operations are defined as the use of any equipment for an activity that may generate fugitive dust. Some examples include blasting, cutting and filling, demolishing, drilling, excavating, grading, leveling, trenching or weed abatement by discing or blading.


Open burn permits
The department regulates all open outdoor fires. The purpose of this program is to limit the emissions of air contaminants that are produced from open burning.


How do I get my permit?

  1. Determine if a permit is required.
  2. Obtain an application either from the department in person or via the website: www.maricopa.gov/aq.
  3. Bring or mail the completed application to the department’s One Stop Shop along with a non-refundable filing fee. Find the application fee amount for the permit in Maricopa County Rule 280. View on-line at: www.maricopa.gov/aq. If the application is submitted as a result of receiving a notice of violation (NOV) an additional $100.00 late fee will be charged.
  4. The permit application will be reviewed for compliance with applicable air quality rules and regulations. The application will be processed and a permit will be issued. Air permits will usually include emission limits, monitoring, record keeping, and reporting requirements. Once you get the permit(s), it is very important that you read and understand the terms and conditions.

Where do I send my permit application?

The department’s One Stop Shop is located at:


MCAQD Central Office
1001 N. Central Ave., Suite 125
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 506-6010


Where can I get help?

Contact the Air Quality Department at (602) 506-6094 or (602) 618-9337 to find out if you need an air quality permit.

Small businesses may contact the department’s Small Business Assistance (SBA) at (602) 506-5102 for assistance in completing the application package.