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Correspondence



1998 Ohio Permit Process Review Summary

I.  Introduction

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has begun the process of reviewing the Region 5 states' permitting programs to become knowledgeable and comfortable with the states':

  Integration of various permit programs and internal review procedures to ensure that all applicable requirements are addressed in permits;
  Staff organization for effective permit issuance;
  Procedures for public participation; and,
  Fee structure for sufficient funding and staff.

Within each of these areas, the USEPA looked at what level of quality assurance exists to ensure all applicable requirements are incorporated in permits, what factors affect permit issuance rates, and what procedures are in place for billing for Title V fees.  By determining the level of quality assurance of permits, USEPA is able to determine the level of review needed as well as locating areas where USEPA would be able to provide assistance and information.  This process review provided the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) with an opportunity to educate the USEPA about the complications involved in permit issuance as well as bring attention to the partnership effort and level of communication needed to implement these programs.  

Ohio is the only state in the Region that has traditionally operated their permitting programs in a decentralized fashion where twelve local and district offices located throughout the state draft the permit before it is sent to the Central Office for review and issuance.  On June 8 through June 12, 1998, USEPA performed a permit process review in Ohio, visiting three of the thirteen agencies; Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services (HAMCO),  the OEPA Central Office and Northwest District Office (NWDO).  Genevieve Damico, Kushal Som, and Kaushal Gupta were in attendance representing USEPA.  From HAMCO Harry Schwietering, Michael Kramer, and Bradley Miller were in attendance.  Jim Orlemann, Tom Rigo, Mike Hopkins, and Mike Ahern were the primary contacts from the OEPA Central Office.  The staff from the NWDO led by Don Waltermeyer and Sam Araj met with the USEPA.

The OEPA has operated a construction and state operating permit program for over 20 years.  Pursuant to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, on August 15, 1996, OEPA obtained full approval of their Title V operating permit program.  In addition to the Title V program OEPA has adopted a FESOP program as a federally enforceable mechanism to limit potential to emit.  Now that OEPA has all of these permitting programs being implemented

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throughout the state, USEPA felt that this would be a good time to observe Ohio's permitting programs as a whole.

Through this process review, OEPA demonstrated that they have tools and procedures in place to ensure that all applicable requirements are placed in their Title V and construction permits.  Through their planning and management structure, OEPA has provided opportunities for communication between the Central Office and the Local and District Offices.  While recognizing the basic soundness of the Ohio permitting programs and procedures, USEPA has identified several areas of concern where improvements could be made.  These concerns are discussed in detail in the conclusion and recommendation sections.

II. Process Review Highlights

The OEPA, HAMCO, and NWDO staff gave presentations regarding their workload distribution structure, efficiency of permit issuance, tracking of information, internal review procedures and quality control, processing of Title V modifications and the fee structure.  These topics are detailed further in the following section along with the summary attachment.

Workload Distribution and Organizational Structure

HAMCO 
The majority of the staff have the responsibility of inspecting and permitting the facilities assigned to them.  There are three supervisors who oversee the staff's technical work and specialize in an area of technical expertise.  There is a manager who oversees all aspects of the permitting and enforcement work in the HAMCO office.  Facilities are assigned to staff based on workload, not experience.  HAMCO expects to complete the initial issuance of the Title V permits under their jurisdiction before October 1998.

Central Office
Three sections are involved in the permitting process: Air Quality Modeling & Planning, Field Operations & Permit, and Engineering.  Air Quality Modeling & Planning has three staff members who review the construction permits by the field offices.  This section also contains the Air Toxics Unit.  Field Operations & Permit handles the administrative functions of issuing the permits as well as the oversight of the district and local offices.  Engineering has 19 staff working on a variety of activities ranging from rulemaking to enforcement to oversight of the operating permit programs within the state, including Title V.  Those staff who work with Title V permit review are assigned to one or more field offices.

NWDO
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The staff is divided into two sections.  As with HAMCO, the majority of the staff have the responsibility of inspecting and permitting the facilities assigned to them.  However, the facilities are assigned by county, not workload.  NWDO is primarily working on issuing PTIs but anticipates changing their focus to Title V in the near future.

Efficiency of Title V Permit Issuance

There are several issues that affect the permit issuance rate for OEPA.  Primarily technical glitches with the STARS system have prevented expedient issuance and tracking of the permits.  OEPA is working to identify those portions of STARS which are inhibiting permit issuance and plans are to correct them in the next year.  Additional factors affecting permit issuance include the learning curve the staff has experienced, the need to process PTIs prior to Title V permit issuance, insufficient staff,  and late program comments from USEPA.  

Tracking Information

STARS maintains all of the applications, emission inventory, and Title V permits (draft, proposed, and final) in one database which can be accessed by all of the field offices as well as the Central Office.  There is also a library of terms and conditions that can be used for various standards and SIP requirements that can be copied into a permit directly.

OEPA has recently developed an electronic Title V permit process tracking system outside of STARS.  It is designed to follow through the steps of drafting, reviewing and issuing each Title V permit.  This information is also used to develop a tracking sheet that is posted on OEPA's website.

The construction permit program also has a tracking system.  Although it does not track the permit as it travels through the process, it does provide a great deal of information about what types of projects are being applied for and the timeframe in which the applicant is expecting a permit.  This tracking system is used to identify those permits which are being expedited through the process.

Title V Modifications

OEPA will be incorporating minor modifications and administrative amendments into the state-only side of the permit by referencing the PTI for the modification.  At renewal the terms and conditions of the PTI will be fully integrated into the body of the permit.  Significant modifications will go through the entire Title V issuance process.

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Fee Structure

Title V fees are billed by the Division of Air Pollution Control using emission summaries submitted on or before April 15 of each calender year.  Construction permit fees are billed at the time of permit issuance.  These funds are deposited into separate accounts.  OEPA uses electronic timecards to bill time to the appropriate account.  By law OEPA is required to have an independent auditor audit the use of the Title V funds.  

III.  Conclusions & Recommendations

OEPA understands the function of its permitting program and the need to satisfy all obstacles in an expedited manner.  Avenues are available for communication between the field offices and the Central Office to provide consistency and attention to detail.  The visit to Ohio provided the USEPA with an educational experience as well as an increased assurance that OEPA is committed to producing quality permits.  We will continue to work with them to provide increasing levels of productivity, consistency and quality.

Permit Format

OEPA is reformatting construction permits to facilitate the incorporation of the terms and conditions into the Title V permit.  By formatting the PTIs in this manner many issues which are time consuming to work out in this process will be eliminated.  

OEPA is also taking the lead to develop permit friendly language that can be incorporated into the PTIs and PTOs for many SIP requirements and MACT standards.  This language would include not only the associated limitations but the monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting conditions.
 
Permit Priorities

OEPA has developed an informal service to industry which requests expedited construction permits.  These permits are nicknamed "rush permits".  These permits are processed ahead of the permits which are in the queue for issuance.  Because OEPA is required to issue construction permits within six months, this delay in the permit issuance often causes a secondary rush to issue the permits that had been preempted by the rush permit.  Furthermore, the rush permits disrupt the process for issuing all permits for public notice.  OEPA recently experienced such a surge of rush permits that Title V issuance had stopped for over a month.  This process is not only time consuming and costly but inhibits the overall permitting program.
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Communication and Training 

HAMCO
HAMCO uses the knowledge of experienced staff to update and train newer staff members and mentor the current staff.  This is done from a combination of periodic staff  meetings, one-on-one mentorship, and E-mail exchanges.  Information transfer provides for consistent and quality permits.  HAMCO participates in monthly calls with the Central Office.

Central Office
The Central Office also uses their more experienced staff to train and mentor other staff in a similar manner to HAMCO.  However, the staff is separated into Title V and operating permit staff and construction permit staff.  This segregation makes the issues which cut across both programs more difficult to identify and resolve.

The Central Office also hosts monthly conference calls with the field offices.  The calls are to provide the field offices the opportunity to ask any policy or technical question that may be an issue at that time.  The Central Office also uses these calls to verbally relay new policy to the field offices.  Generally there will be three offices on a particular call.  The Central Office then writes up the notes from each call and distributes them to all of the field offices.  There is little interaction between the various field offices through these calls nor is there a formalized opportunity for the field offices to share information and experiences between themselves.  It is suggested that the Central Office look for ways to foster communication between the field offices.

The Central Office also provides formal guidance on Title V issues through engineering guides and intra-office communication memos to each district and field office.  Dispersal of these guidances are inconsistant at times, which may be resolved by a single point of contact at the Central office level to distribute these documents.  There is not a similar process for construction permit issues as of yet.  There are several issues that would most appropriately be addressed by NSR guidance such as how to denote BACT terms.

NWDO
NWDO office has a relatively new staff which leaves this office lacking in technical expertise in the program as well as sufficient leadership to meet their permitting needs.  The staff, however, does meet periodically to discuss and resolve technical issues.  NWDO should look into developing technical staff.  NWDO is currently developing a training manual for new hires.

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Direct Final Permits to Install

For many years OEPA has been issuing minor source construction permits without public comment under the SIP approved construction permit program.  As Title V has developed with a bifurcated format, this issue was raised as to the enforceable status of the direct final permits to install.  OEPA has been operating under the assumption that terms and conditions in direct final permits are not enforceable by USEPA and has been placing those terms and conditions in the state-only enforceable portion of the Title V permit.  USEPA believes that the direct final permits are federally enforceable.  The issue has since been resolved.  OEPA has agreed to place the federally enforceable terms and conditions of the direct final permits in the federal and state enforceable portion of the Title V permits.

Continued Quality Effort

Overall, the USEPA program reviewers were impressed with the level of detail and hard work that OEPA and the field offices have committed to in order to issue quality permits.  This challenging program is continuously evolving.  USEPA respects OEPA's creativity in dealing with the day-to-day issues which present themselves through the permitting process.  The OEPA must balance the State’s economic development goals while protecting public health and the environment.  We commend OEPA for the hard work that has been applied to the program and the commitment to the future of the program.  The USEPA will continue to work with OEPA toward improved relations and communication in order to assist with the common goal of environmental protection.

ATTACHMENTS: The following attachment provides a detailed summary of the information discussed.






GENERAL
1. Organization
How are permits assigned?In the Hamilton County field office (HAMCO), individual engineers are assigned to one source for all Title V, state operating and NSR permits. Certain district offices, such as the Northwest District Office (NWDO), assigns an entire county to each engineer. That engineer is responsible for all permits issued in that county. All Title V permits are then sent through a "contact person" in the Columbus office for initial review.
How is enforcement involved in the permit process?Enforcement is handled at the field office and district levels by the same permit staff. In the Central Office, there is a specific branch related to enforcement.
How are staff organized?Flow diagrams for HAMCO, NWDO, the Engineering Section (Title V Group) and the NSR Group are attached. Jim Orlemann heads up the Engineering Group and does a final review of all Title V's and FESOP permits. Mike Hopkins is in charge of the NSR group which does a final review of all NSR permits coming in from all District and Field offices.
How are permits organized?Each Title V permit contains a Statement of Basis, which is not reviewed by Jim Orlemann. The review is done by each "contact" in the Central Office, therefore, there is no consistency of the Statement of Basis across the program. HAMCO includes a "permit narrative" with every NSR permit they issue (example attached). Most offices do not submit a permit narrative. The Synthetic Minor Determinations, found at the end of all NSR permits, have no consistent template other than the general titles.
FEES
1. Title V Revenue
What are the fee rates specified?For Title V sources, $25.00 plus 1989 Consumer Price Index per ton. (Currently $32.65 altogether)

For non-Title V sources, $75.00 per year to $700.00 per year depending on actual emissions of PM, SO2, NOx, and organic compounds.
Does the Permitting Authority (PA) anticipate changes to its fee structure?"Rush" NSR permits are understood to be a major problem within the system for both Title V and NSR programs. In order to discourage sources from asking for a Rush without needing one, an idea was raised that would increase fees for these permits. This, however, would need to go through a difficult legislative process before approval.
Are appropriate emission records used for $/ton based fees? How are actual emissions determined?Sources submit emission fee reports which state their yearly actual emissions. Emissions are determined by source’s monitoring, engineering calculations, emission factors, etc..
Are records kept (and used) for any hourly based fees?No hourly fees.
How is the PA notifying sources of the fees owed and due dates for payments?Invoices are mailed to the sources and specify the 30-day deadline.
Discuss recording of incoming payments.A bank collects and records incoming payments, then transfers them to Ohio’s fiscal department.

Electronic timecards are developed which can code to different accounts based upon an activity and time involved. Title V has its own code.
Are the sources paying the total fees charged each year?Yes. A few sources have discrepancies with their bills and work with Ohio in resolving them.
Are they paying on time?Yes. Few sources (5-10 a year) have to be referred to the state attorney general.
If there’s a collection problem, how does the PA address it?After the 30-day deadline, a late fee is assessed. After 45 days, a letter is sent to the sources warning of possible involvement of the attorney general.

Also, there is an independent auditor every two years by law.
Are late fees being assessed? Are they credited to TV accounts?After the 30-day deadline, 10% interest is assessed against the source’s outstanding Title V balance.

TITLE V
1. Efficiency of Permit Issuance
What are the steps in permit issuance?Application is sent out in STARS which is reviewed by the offices using a Preliminary and Technical Completeness Checklists. A draft Terms and Conditions section is developed. A technical review is done to check if all applicable requirements are correctly placed in. The reviewer pulls permits to install (PTI'S) for each unit to double check the applicability. The permit is then sent via STARS to a Contact Person assigned to an office. All permits are reviewed for completeness by Jim Orlemann, the Engineering Section head.
How are district and field office staff assigned to sources?The Hamilton County field office (HAMCO) assigns their sources to permit staff based upon workload. The Northwest District office (NWDO) assigns their permit staff to specific counties. If an NWDO staff person is in charge of a county with an elevated number of NSR permit applications, their attention will be to issue those PTI'S and not address the Title V's. NWDO was considering a change to a different system in the future.
What are the apparent roadblocks to permit issuance?The technical difficulties related to the STARS database was said to be the largest roadblock to timely permit issuance. The "Rush" PTI'S are posing a large hurdle throughout the Title V permit program. Personnel need to postpone their Title V permit procedure to process these Rush PTI'S. There have been 18 PTI'S issued in this manner. High turnover and resources needed for training those individuals, and a large construction permit workload pose the next largest obstacles to permit issuance.
How are permits prioritized?The district and field offices of OEPA prioritize their Construction permits first, Title V permits second and state operating permits third.
What is available for standard language?Basic templates have been developed to standardize language. Offices simply add on to these basic templates with specific provisions in STARS.
What resources are being used to issue permits?The STARS Title V database is used by every permit writer and reviewer. The effectiveness of the database has been limited due to technical difficulties, such as losing entire source files from the system. A tracking database has been developed on the Internet, which can alleviate some of these technical obstacles.
Does the permitting authority have a strategy to issue the permits? Are they following it?Sources which are more complicated, such as steel mills and oil refineries, tend to be left as some of the last permits to be issued. OEPA has a system of goals and target numbers set up to meet permit issuance rates.
2. Processing of Title V modifications
How are reopenings identified and processed? There are procedures in place to process the permits.
How does the FESOP program differ from the Title V programFESOP process is very similar to the State Permit to Operate (PTO) process, where an analysis is done for each unit. The one added complexity for FESOPs are that their conditions are distinctly below the limit.
Is the permitting authority taking steps to minimize the reopenings? What are the steps?OEPA is continuously striving toward clear, complete and concise permits that contain all applicable requirements as to reach the goal of quality permit issuance. This involves anticipation of difficulties and quality control of exiting permits.
How are the modifications tracked?The STARS computer tracking system is capable of tracking the modifications. There have been some difficulties changing the language due to technical problems with the database. OEPA has been establishing Off-permit changes to their permits, which is a change to their application not incorporated until renewal.
How are permits designed to incorporate modifications?OEPA will be incorporating minor modifications and administrative amendments through and off-permit change in the state-only enforceable portion of the permit. The significant modification procedures are in OAC 3745-77.
3. Inclusion of all applicable requirements in permits
What process is used to check the applicable requirements?The quality assurance process is similar between the two field offices visited. An initial technical review is done, checking every unit by pulling construction permits from the file. A technical review is done by the office supervisor, the Title V Central Office Contact and then, Jim Orlemann.
What process is used to incorporate SIPs? Source specific SIPs? NSR requirements?The analyst can review the SIP for applicable sections by identifying the pollutants. All previously issued NSR permits do not expire and are filed together for reference to facilitate the incorporation of the requirements into the Title V permit.
How are sources which never received NSR permits handled?These sources are handled concurrently between any enforcement action necessary and proper permitting activity to provide federal enforceability. The PTI'S are issued before the Title V is issued.
What is the protocol for making applicability determinations?Applicability determinations are brought to the contact person in charge of that field or district office. All major determinations are reviewed by Jim Orlemann.
How are permits designed to ensure that applicable requirements are addressed?Permit writers generally work off of a permit template with many applicable requirements already added.
What information is provided in a statement of basis? Is it complete?The field and district offices have been writing Statement of Basis for two months. The USEPA is currently working with each office to improve the completeness of the document.
What criteria are used in placement for conditions in the Federal/State side of permits?Best Available Technology (BAT) conditions are placed on the State side of the Title V permits, unless there is an impact on the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). See OEPA Interoffice Communication of March 21, 1997. All other terms and conditions are generally placed on the Federal and State Only side.
5. Internal review procedures
Describe the internal review process?Each permit writer sends the permit, via STARS, to their district or field manager, who reviews it for completeness. It is then forwarded on to the contact person at the Central Office. After this review, Jim Orlemann, Engineering Section lead, does a final review If there are no problems, it is sent to Becky Castle for the public comment period. If there are problems, the permit is sent back to the field office of origin for revision. If the revision is a small one, it is done by the Central Office itself.
How is information shared within the Agency?Guidances are sent via E-mail or regular mail on a regular basis. There is no point contact for memos at the Central Office level, so many memos become misplaced. There is very little contact between the individual offices in Ohio, however, the Central Office does hold a conference call with two offices at a time for informational purposes. Minutes are developed for these calls and sent to all offices. The informational exchange between the NSR Group and the Engineering (Title V) Group seems to be very limited. There is very little informational exchange between the district and/or field offices.
How are new USEPA policies incorporated into permits?Memos are developed by the Central Office and sent to all district and field offices. Major issues are then clarified during the conference calls.
6. Training
How are new permit staff trained?Each new permit staff is assigned to an experienced mentor, who will train them in all facets of the permit process. An initial training course is offered for the STARS system and STARSHIP (which is the application database). Impromptu training sessions, for various topics, are held intermittently for each office. The level of training is dependant on the mentor.
What are the resources available for ongoing training programs?Each office attends the USEPA downlink of the Air Pollution Training Institute for various topics. Tapes may not be available for recorded sessions. These training opportunities are used more widely by some office than others.
How is policy distributed?Through E-mail or mail.
How are the USEPA/staff concerns disseminated/handled?Both field offices have meetings when certain issues come up on the USEPA level. Memos are developed for this purpose as well.
What computers/resources are available to permit staff?STARS can be accessed by most employees. While there were many problems cited with the STARS system, the two field offices felt that their computer systems were adequate at the time. The two offices have Internet access and other software to properly do their job.
7. Electronic permitting
What is the process for storing documents electronically?All Title V documents are stored into the STARS database. Preliminary and technical checks are done to make sure documents are complete, along with the terms and conditions.
How is the information available to others in the office? Public?Permits can be accessed at any time through the STARS database. The public can visit or request information from the field offices. Most offices have a person assigned to this task.
How is the permit process tracked?OEPA has a tracking database on the Internet, available to the public. There is also an internal tracking system in addition to STARS used by Mike Ahern.
What are the limitations of the permitting system? Tracking system?STARS, according to the many users of the database, is experiencing many technical difficulties over the last few years on implementation., Entire permits have been erased from the system, and many problems exist in its ability to edit language after the permit was entered. Furthermore, the system has very limited querying ability. OEPA has switched over to a tracking database, but will reconfigure the STARS database to be more user-friendly.
8. Public Participation
How are public comments handled? Maintained?All public comments are sent to the Central Office for review and response. If the comments can be addressed quickly at the field office level, it will be handled immediately.
How are permits public noticed? Hearings?Public hearings are held at the discretion of the field and district offices. Permits are public noticed in various newspapers across the state. Due to the reduced legal staff at the Central Office, sources and/or the public need to wait for certification from the individual newspapers, to know the exact date of the beginning of the public comment period.
How does the public obtain information about the permit? Source?Mike Ahern is the main contact for general information of Title V permits. The public can visit the corresponding field or district office and ask for copies of the permit.
How and when is USEPA notified of permit issuance? Public concern?The NSR permits and Title V permits are sent to USEPA via mail. It is received approximately 6 days, on average, after the public comment period has begun. Although some delays have been experienced by USEPA.
Are cultural or language barriers considered in the notices?None are considered.

9. FESOPs, Prohibitory Rules
What is the process for applying for a synthetic minor permit?Same as the existing state operating permit program. Some Title V applications are later determined to be a FESOP.
New Source Review
1. Efficiency of Permit Issuance
What are the steps in permit issuance?Applications are mailed from the sources to the field offices. A field office supervisor assigns the application to a permit writer and who checks the application for complete answers to the standard questions. Then the permit is written with the aid of templates, worksheets, and standard terms and conditions. Synthetic minor determinations are written up when needed, and HAMCO adds a permit review narrative to all PTIs. The permit is proofread and signed by the field office supervisor before being mailed to the Ohio Central Office. The goal is to complete this process within 45 days of the application being submitted. The majority of the permits are drafted in this timeframe. The Central Office uses worksheets to check whether each permit has all the necessary conditions, modeling, determinations, and calculations. After the Central Office is satisfied with a permit, it is issued in draft or direct final form. The entire process should take less than 6 months.

An e-mailing system for PTIs has recently been developed and appears to be accelerating the permit process. There are plans to create a STARS-based system for PTIs like the one used for Title V permits.
How are district and field office staff assigned to sources?HAMCO assigns their sources to permit staff based upon workload. NWDO assigns their permit staff to specific counties. If an NWDO staff person is in charge of a county with an elevated number of NSR permits applications, their attention will be to issue those PTIs and not address the Title V's. NWDO is considering a change to a different system in the future.
What are the apparent roadblocks to permit issuance?Giving rush NSR permits priority causes a delay in the issuance of non-rush permits. Disputes between sources and field offices over permit terms and conditions can slow the permitting process down. Regulation complexity and change tend to cause setbacks as well.
How are permits prioritized?Rush permits are given priority. Otherwise, the first application submitted will be the first application processed.
What is available for standard language?The STARS library provides some standard language, but not quite enough to cover all PTI situations. This has prompted HAMCO to draft its own library of PTI terms and conditions. The Central Office maintains a database of BAT conditions that can be used to check for BAT consistency in the permits.
What resources are being used to issue permits?STARS library, RACT/BACT/LAER Clearinghouse, general templates. HAMCO has an up-to-date list of MACT and NSPS rules.
Does the permitting authority have a strategy to issue the permits? Are they following it?The permitting authorities have prioritized PTIs as their main priority. HAMCO plans to have all PTIs issued this fiscal year for which an application has been submitted.
2. Inclusion of all applicable requirements in permits
What process is used to check the applicable requirements?Field office supervisors proofread the PTIs for rule consistency, correct emission limits, correct BAT, etc., before sending them to the Central Office. The Central Office reviews some of the incoming permits, choosing the ones that are more complex, controversial, or coming from field offices that may need more scrutiny.
What is the protocol for making applicability determinations?Monthly calls between the Central Office and field offices are forums where questions of applicability can be answered. HAMCO and NWDO also tend to have daily contact with their Central Office PTI contacts, which they use to help make determinations.
How are permits designed to ensure that applicable requirements are addressed?The proposed permit layout requires a listing of each individual emission unit along with its associated requirements.
3. Internal review procedures
Describe the internal review processThe field office permit writer checks the PTI application for complete answers to the standard questions and complete application forms. Then the permit is written, proofread, by the field office supervisor, and mailed to the Ohio Central Office. The Central Office reviews the more controversial, complex, or potentially erroneous permits, using worksheets to check whether each permit has all the necessary conditions, modeling, determinations, and calculations. If there are problems with the permit at this stage, the Central Office may send it back to the field office for correction.
How is information shared within the Agency?Occasional guidance memos are sent from the Central Office to the field offices. There is very little contact between the individual offices in Ohio, however, the Central Office does hold a conference call with two or three offices at a time for informational purposes. Minutes are developed for these calls and sent to all offices. HAMCO and NWDO also hold their own internal meetings to discuss new developments. The informational exchange between the NSR Group and the Engineering (Title V) Group seems to be very limited.
How are new USEPA policies incorporated into permits?In response to some USEPA policies, memos are developed by the Central Office and sent to all district and field offices to instruct how the policies should be implemented in the permits. Generally, these memos address Title V issues more than NSR issues.
4. Training
How are new permit staff trained?Each new permit staff person is assigned to an experienced mentor, who will train them in all facets of the permit process. The level of training is dependant on the mentor. Rules and example permits are provided to the new employee. The new employee begins permit writing or reviewing with relatively simple sources, under the guidance of the mentor. Impromptu training sessions, for various topics, are held intermittently for each office.

NWDO is drafting their own comprehensive training manual for new employees.
What are the resources available for ongoing training programs?Each office attends the USEPA downlink of the Air Pollution Training Institute for various topics. Tapes may not be available for recorded sessions. Some offices take more advantage of these training opportunities than other. Some offices also have instructional CD-ROMS and courses at local universities.
How is policy distributed?Through E-mail or mail. The NWDO does not have a formal method of distributing policies among its management and staff.
How are the USEPA/staff concerns disseminated/handled?Both field offices have meetings when certain issues come up on the USEPA level. Memos are developed for this purpose as well.
What computers/resources are available to permit staff?Internet access, common productivity software.
5. Electronic permitting
What is the process for storing documents electronically?Currently Ohio is using and developing a system to transmit permits by e-mail between their own offices and to USEPA. Ohio plans to set up a STARS-based system for NSR permits similar to the one used for Title V.
6. Public Participation
How are public comments handled? Maintained?All public comments are sent to the Central Office, and the field office handles the response under the supervision of the Central Office.
How are permits public noticed? Hearings?Public hearings are held at the discretion of the field and district offices. Permits are public noticed in various newspapers across the state. The public notices are sent to the legal staff weekly and processed at one time with all of the other Agency notices to save time and money. Due to the reduced legal staff at the Central Office, sources and/or the public need to wait for certification from the individual newspapers, to know the exact date of the beginning of the public comment period. When there is a rush permit the public notice process is disrupted since the notice is done individually.
How does the public obtain information about the permit? Source?The Central Office refers public requests for permit information to the appropriate field office. The field offices may choose to mail the requester the relevant information, or have the requester visit the office to view it.
How and when is USEPA notified of permit issuance? Public concern?The NSR permits and Title V permits are sent to USEPA via mail. They are received approximately 6 days, on average, which is approximately the time when public comment period has begun. There have been intermittent problems with the mail time being longer than a week. All "Rush" permits should be sent via E-mail, and then sent via mail at a later time. Companies who apply for these "Rush" permits pay for the publishing costs of the initial public notice, thereby starting the 30 day comment period sooner than normal.
Are cultural or language barriers considered in the notices?None are considered.