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A Major Air Pollution Source Permit That Has Major Problems

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

In October, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) issued the draft Title V Operating Permit for the ATI Allegheny Ludlum steel mill in Brackenridge. This Major Source of air pollution has never had a Title V permit in the 15 years that ACHD has had the authority to issue them.

A Major Source’s Title V Operating Permit is like a snapshot that includes all emissions limits and standards to which the air pollution source is subject, as well as all operating, monitoring, and reporting requirements that apply, at the time of the permit’s issuance.

By including all the requirements in one comprehensive document, Title V Operating Permits help air pollution source operators comply with such requirements, and they help regulators (and when necessary, members of the public) enforce them–all with the ultimate goal of reducing air pollution.

Group Against Smog and Pollution and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) reviewed the draft permit and found many points of serious concern, including:

  1. Testing, monitoring, and record-keeping requirements insufficient to demonstrate compliance with the permit;

  2. Failing to impose certain limitations and restrictions that apply because the facility could be a Major Source of hexane;

  3. Using the permit to avoid New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration requirements which would allow illegal emissions;

  4. and failure to give the public appropriate notice and opportunity to comment on changes to the permit.

You can read GASP’s comments in their entirety. This permit took far too long to be issued and is in need of much improvement. (Both ACHD and the Southwest Region of the Department of Environmental Protection have unacceptable backlogs in Title V permits, and you can learn more about that issue here.) Reducing air pollution by ensuring companies and regulators are fully implementing the proper laws is a task GASP takes as a top priority.

Permits for other Title V sources in our region can be found here, and our public comments on many other facilities are located here. Check in with our blog for updates on how the permit changes after ACHD responds to our comments.

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