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EPA Guidance on Limiting Potential to Emit (PTE) in New Source Permitting


June 13, 1989


SUBJECT:   Guidance on Limiting Potential to Emit in New Source Permitting

FROM:        Terrell E. Hunt /S/
Associate Enforcement Counsel
Air Enforcement Division
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Monitoring

John S. Seitz, Director /S/
Stationary Source Compliance Division
Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards

TO:     Addressees

This memorandum transmits the final guidance on conditions in construction permits which can legally limit a source's potential to emit to minor or de minimis levels. We received many helpful comments on the January 24, 1989 draft of this guidance, and have incorporated the comments into the final document wherever possible. A summary of the major changes which have been made to the guidance in response to these comments is provided below.

Several commenters noted that the draft guidance used the term "federally enforceable" to mean both federally enforceable as defined in the new source regulations (40 C.F.R. Sections 52.21(b)(17), 51.165(a)(1)(xiv), 51.166(b)(17)), and enforceable as a practical matter. We have tried to distinguish the places where each term should be used, explained the relationship between the two terms, and indicated that in order to properly restrict potential to emit, limitations must be both federally enforceable as defined in the regulations and practically enforceable.

Some commenters requested that the section on averaging times for production limits be more specific as to when it is appropriate to use limitations which exceed a one month time basis. We have tried to explain why it is not possible to develop generic criteria for making this distinction, and to indicate situations where exceptions to the policy that production and operation limitations not exceed one month may be warranted.

There were some requests for a section on enforcement. We have included a new Section VI which addresses this topic. We also received many good suggestions on the example permit limitations. The section on examples has been substantially reworked to reflect your comments.

Finally, we learned through the comments that in two specific circumstances, short term emission limits are the most useful and reasonable way to restrict and verify limits on potential to emit. These circumstances are: 1) when control equipment is installed but control equipment operating parameters are difficult to measure during enforcement inspections; and 2) in surface coating operations with numerous and unpredictable use of coatings containing varying VOC content, where add-on control equipment is not employed. Therefore, we have made a narrow exception to the flat prohibition on use of emission limits to restrict potential to emit for these specific circumstances, and only when certain additional conditions have been met. Again, we appreciate the thoughtful comments we have received on this guidance. Please insert this document into your Clean Air Act Compliance/Enforcement Policy Compendium as Item Number H.3. If you have any questions, please contact Judith Katz in the Air Enforcement Division at FTS 382-2843, or Sally Farrell in the Stationary Source Compliance Division at FTS 382-2875.


Regional Counsels
Regions I-X

Regional Counsel Air Branch Chiefs
Regions I-X

Air Management Division Directors
Regions I, III, and IX

Air and Waste Management Division Director
Region II

Air, Pesticides, and Toxics Management Division Directors
Regions IV and VI

Air and Radiation Division Director
Region V

Air and Toxics Division Directors
Regions VII, VIII and X

Air Compliance Branch Chiefs
Regions I-X

New Source Review Contacts
Regions I-X

Alan Eckert
Associate General Counsel

Greg Foote, OGC
Gary McCutchen, NSRS, AQMD
David Solomon, NSRS, AQMD
Sally Farrell, SSCD
Judy Katz, AED

David Buente, Chief
Environmental Enforcement Section

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