Air Quality Permit Tracker

The Permit Tracker is meant to serve as a public resource for community residents and organizations. Oftentimes, residents in environmental justice communities face challenges learning about and meaningfully participating in air quality permit processes given the high number of such permits in these communities. This resource compiles information to help residents meaningfully participate in air quality decisions that will impact their health and quality of life. It provides the following information, and is updated on a regular basis:

  • Pending permit to install applications in Wayne County

  • Public hearing information regarding proposed permits to install in Wayne County

  • Link to a list of all finalized permits to install

  • Pending renewable operating permit applications in Wayne County

  • Public hearing information regarding proposed renewable operating permits in Wayne County

This resource has been made possible through the generous support of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.


Permits To Install

In general, any person that wants to install, construct, or modify any building, structure, facility, or other installation that has the potential to emit any air contaminant must obtain a “permit to install” (PTI) prior to beginning construction. Michigan does allow for numerous exemptions from this general requirement. These exemptions are described in Michigan’s Administrative Code, and are not discussed here.

What is required for a company to obtain a permit to install?


In order to receive a permit to install, a person must submit an application that contains all of the information required by Michigan’s regulations with their permit to install application. The basic information that must be included is:

- A complete description of each emission unit or process covered by the application.

- A description of any federal, state, or local air pollution control regulations that are applicable to the proposed equipment.

- A description of the uncontrolled and controlled quantity of all air contaminants that are reasonably anticipated due to the operation of the equipment.

- A description of how the air contaminant emissions will be controlled.

- Data demonstrating that the emission from the equipment will not have an unacceptable air quality impact in relation to all federal, state, and local air quality standards.

- Information for an environmental impact statement if the Department of Environmental Quality believes the equipment may have a significant impact on the environment.

Additional information will be required if the source is classified as a “major source” based on the amount of pollution it has the potential to emit.


What does a permit to install do?


Permits to install generally contain several requirements that the facility must be comply with. These requirements commonly include:

- Emission limits

- Air pollution monitoring and testing requirements, and;

- Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

The conditions generally exist to ensure that the air pollution from the equipment will not overly degrade air quality in violation of federal and state laws and regulations. A company that receives a permit to install must ensure the facility complies with the conditions in their permit to install. Permits to install remain in effect for as long as the equipment it is associated with exists. They do not need to be renewed. Complex sources of air pollution that involve a number of emission sources, such as steel mills or power plants, will commonly have several permits to install associated with the different equipment at the facility.


How is a source classified as a "major" or "minor" source?


Whether a permit is classified as a “major” or “minor” new source or modification to an existing source depends on the predicted amount of pollutants that the source has the potential to emit on an annual basis.

In general, a new source or modification to an existing source is considered to be a "major" source of air pollution if it has the potential to emit 250 tons per year of any pollutant that is regulated under the Clean Air Act that is not designated as a "hazardous" air pollutant. This generally includes pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, etc. However, certain types of sources, such as petroleum refineries and chemical process plants, are considered to be "major" sources if they have the potential to emit 100 tons per year.

If a source is classified as a "major" source, then it is subject to a more stringent permitting review under the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's "prevention of significant deterioration program," the "nonattainment program," or both.

Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program: If the source is to be located in an area that is in "attainment" with national ambient air quality standards, then it will be subject to "prevention of significant deterioration" program. This program is meant to ensure that the new source or modification will not overly degrade air quality. It requires the facility to have the best available pollution control technology for the equipment for which the permit is sought.

Nonattainment Program: If the source is to be located in an area that is in "nonattainment" with a national ambient air quality standard, then it will be subject to "nonattainment" review, but only for the specific pollutant for which the area is in nonattainment. This review is meant to ensure that the new source or modification will not delay or impede efforts to improve air quality in the area. It requires the facility to have pollution control equipment that will control emissions to the lowest achieveable rate, and requires the emissions from the facility to be "offset" by the permit applicant guaranteeing equivalent or greater reductions in emissions from another existing source in the area.


What is a "synthetic minor source"?


Under certain circumstances, a source that would otherwise be classifed as a "major" source may agree to specific conditions in its permit that will limit its potential to emit. By agreeing to these conditions, the source is classified as a "synthetic minor source," which allows the company to avoid the more stringent permitting review for major sources.

To determine whether a new source or modification will be classified as a "major" or "minor" source of air pollution, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality considers the source's "potential to emit." This is the maximum capacity of a source to emit a pollutant under its physical and operational design.

If a source's potential to emit is above the "major" source threshold, it may seek to limit its potential to emit to levels below the major source threshold so that it may be classified as a "minor" source rather than a "major" source. In order to limit its potential to emit, a source's permit must contain production or operational limits, such as the following:

- Limitation on quantities of raw materials consumed

- Limitation on quantity or quality of fuel combusted

- Limitation on hours of operation

- Condition that specifies that the source must install and maintain specific controls to reduce emissions to a specified rate.

In order for a permit condition that establishes a production or operational limit to valdily limit a source's potential to emit, it must be practically enforceable. Put another way, the permit condition must establish a clear, legal obligation for the source, and allow compliance to be verified.


When is a public hearing required for a permit to install?


Many permits to install are issued by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality without any public notice, and without the Department offering members of the public with the chance to provide comments regarding the permit.

However, before the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issues permits to install for specific sources, it must provide the public with notice of the proposed permit, and must provide the public with an opportunity to submit comments regarding the proposed permit either in writing or at a public hearing. This is required in the following situations:

- Permit to install for a "major" new source or for a "major" modification to an existing source.

- Permit to install for a "synthetic minor source"

- When the issuance of a permit presents a known public controversey

If public notice and comment procedures are required, the Department will generally provide at least 30 days advance notice of the public hearing, and 30 days for public comments. If requested, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality may (but is not required) to extend the public comment period and/or delay the public hearing.


Pending Permit to Install Applications in Wayne County

Below is a list all of the applications that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has received from companies wishing to build a new source or modify an existing source of air pollution that are still pending. As the Department of Environmental Quality makes final decisions regarding the listed applications for permits to install, they will be removed from the list.

Company Address Date of Application PTI # and Details Major or Minor New Source or Modification
Ford Motor Co. 1 International Dr., Flat Rock 1/28/19 PTI 22-19; Replacement of Existing Paint Shop Modification to a major source
Advanced Disposal, Arbor Hills Landfill 10611 5 Mile, Northville 3/25/19 PTI 53-18A; Amend the pounds per hour sulfur emissions limitation N/A at this time
McGean-Rohco, Inc. 38521 Schoolcraft, Livonia 4/16/19 PTI 210-10C; 3,000 gallon crosslinked plyethylene cone bottom tank N/A at this time
McGean-Rohco Inc. 38521 Schoolcraft Rd., Livonia 5/24/19 PTI 210-10D; 3,000 gallon crosslinked polyethylene cone bottom tank N/A at this time
Ford Motor Co 3001 Miller Rd., Dearborn 6/11/19 PTI 101-19; Update to emission unit description Administrative Modification
Soulbrain Michigan, Inc. 47050 5 Mile Rd., Northville 6/19/19 PTI 167-10H; Increase throughput of chemicals N/A at this time
Unifirst Corporation 6400 Monroe Blvd., Taylor 6/24/19 PTI 109-19; Installing three natural gas fired boilers N/A at this time
International Bulk Service, Inc. 24002 Vreeland Rd., Flat Rock 8/1/19 PTI 126-19; Transloading operation N/A at this time
AR Packing Company, Inc. 34157 Autry St., Livonia 8/14/19 PTI 136-19; Add Six Meat Smokehouses Minor modification
Amerti Manufacturing Company 19300 Filer St., Detroit 8/15/19 PTI 549-97B; Adding investment casting operation Minor modification
Autosystems America, Inc. 46600 Port St., Plymouth 8/21/19 PTI 42-15C; Installation of anti-fog coating line at existing automotive light manufacturing facility Modification to a synthetic minor source
DTE Electric 4695 W. Jefferson, Trenton 8/21/19; Approved 9/10/19 PTI 139-19; Add federally enforceable operation restrictions to permit for coal fired power plant Modification to major source
Dino-Mite Crushing & Recycling, LLC 12625 Greenfield, Detroit 8/28/19 PTI 48-18A; Develop concrete crushing and recycling facility N/A at this time
McCoig Materials, LLC 1441 Springwells, Detroit 9/9/19 PTI 242-10B; Modification to keep current stack configuration Minor
Ford Motor Co. 3001 Miller Rd., Dearborn 9/23/19 PTI 154-19; Descriptive changes to stack/vent restrictions Administrative Modification
Solutia Inc. 5100 W. Jefferson Ave., Trenton 9/26/19 PTI 93-19A; Revise permit langauge Administrative Amendment

This table was last updated on 9/23/19.

A full list of all pending permit to install applications in Michigan is available at this link.


Proposed Permits to Install Undergoing Public Notice and Comment in Wayne County

Below is a list of all proposed permits to install that are undergoing public notice and comment. Public notice and comment is not required for every permit to install.

Company Address PTI Number Public Comment Deadline Public Hearing Information
Ford Motor Company 1 International Dr., Flat Rock PTI 22-19; Replacement of existing paint shop 11/12/19; Commments may be submitted to http://www.deq.state.mi.us/aps/cwerp.shtml

Permit documents available at: http://www.deq.state.mi.us/aps/cwerp.shtml
Date/Time: 11/12/19 at 5:30pm

Location: Brownstown Community Center, Hall D, 21311 Telegraph Rd., Brownstown Twp.

“N/A” means there are currently no permits to install undergoing public notice and comment in Wayne County.

This table was last updated 9/23/19.

A full list of permits to install undergoing public notice and comment is available at this link.


List of All Finalized and Active Permits to Install

There are over 100 active permits to install in Detroit alone. A full list of all finalized and active permits to install is available at this link.

A company that has received a permit to install must operate in compliance with the terms and conditions specified in their permit.



Renewable operating permits

In addition to requiring a company to obtain a permit to install before it installs or modifies equipment that may cause the emission of an air contaminant, Michigan also requires certain facilities to obtain a “renewable operating permit” (ROP). A ROP is required for a “major source” of air pollution. An ROP is sometimes referred to as a “Title V” permit, because the ROP program is a requirement of Title V of the Clean Air Act.

Who is required to obtain a renewable operating permit?


In general, only "major" sources of air pollution are required to obtain a renewable operating permit. Similar to permits to install, whether a source is classified as a "major" source depends on the amount of air pollution it has the potential to emit. A "major" source is one that:

- Has the potential to emit 10 tons per year of any single hazardous air pollutant, or has the potential to emit 25 tons per year of any combination of hazardous air pollutants.

- Has the potential to emit 100 tons per year of any "criteria" air pollutant (lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, ozone, volatile organic compounds).

Additionally, renewable operating permits are required for other specifically listed types of facilities, which are not listed here.


What does a renewable operating permit do?


One of the main purposes of a renewable operating permit is to ensure that all of a source’s legal obligations regarding air quality regulations are contained in a single permit document. Major sources are generally subject to a number of air pollution control regulations at both the state and federal level, which can make it difficult to easily identify which laws and regulations apply to a given source. The renewable operating permit largely exists to act as a clearinghouse for all applicable laws and regulations that apply to a major source, including all of the requirements of the various permits to install that have been issued to the source. While a facility may have several permits to install for all of the different equipment at its facility, it will have a single renewable operating permit.


How are renewable operating permits renewed?


Each renewable operating permit must be renewed every 5 years. However, it is common for Department of Environmental Quality to not finalize a renewal for a renewable operating permit within 5 years. So long as the applicant has submitted a timely application for renewal of its renewable operating permit at least 6 months before its expiration, the existing permit will remain in effect beyond the permit’s expiration date and until the renewal of the permit is either approved or denied by the Department of Environmental Quality.


When is a public hearing required for a renewable operating permit?


Unlike permits to install, all renewable operating permits (both new permits and renewals of existing permits) must be subject to public notice and comment before the Department of Environmental Quality makes a final decision. As such, the Department of Environmental Quality will publish a proposed renewable operating permit shortly before it is to make a final decision regarding the permit, provide notice to the public of the release of the proposed permit, and provide the public with the opportunity to provide comments to the Department of Environmental Quality on the proposed permit at a public hearing or through written comments sent to the Department.



Renewable Operating Permits Undergoing Public Notice and comment in wayne county

Below is a list of proposed renewable operating permits that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has released for public notice and comment.

Company Address ROP Number Public Hearing Date Public Hearing Location

“N/A” means there are currently no renewable operating permits undergoing public notice and comment in Wayne County.

This table is updated monthly It was last updated 9/6/19.


List of all finalized and active renewable operating permits

There are approximately 50 active renewable operating permits in Wayne County alone. A full list of all finalized and active renewable operating permits is available at this link.

A company that has received a renewable operating permit must operate in compliance with the terms and conditions specified in their permit.