September 3, 1998

Don Smith, Supervisor
South District-Major Facilities
Air Quality Division
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155

Dear Mr. Don Smith:

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has reviewed Air Emission Permit No. 03900028-003 for Al-Corn Clean Fuel for their ethanol facility located at West Highway 14, Claremont, Dodge County, Minnesota.  The permit action is for a major amendment to their existing synthetic minor permit.  The permit amendment is for removal of the specific operating parameter ranges (i.e., specific pressure drop and water flow rate ranges) for pollution control equipment.  The permit indicates that this parameter information will be added to the operation and maintenance (O&M) plan for the Al-Corn facility.  However, if the O&M requirements are not included as part of the permit, they are not Federally enforceable.  These conditions need to be included as an enforceable part of the permit, especially for the synthetic minor limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), because this source has accepted limits on VOCs to remain below Prevention of Significant Deterioration thresholds for a major source and is using pollution control equipment to achieve this.  Inclusion of Federally enforceable operation ranges are required by the June 13, 1989, memorandum entitled Guidance on Limiting Potential to Emit in New Source Permitting, which states on page 7 of the document:

when permits require add-on controls operated at a specified efficiency level, permit writers should include, so that the operating efficiency is enforceable as a practical matter, those operating parameters and assumptions which the permitting agency depended upon to determine that the control equipment would have a given efficiency.

Therefore, if these conditions are removed from the permit and added to the O&M plan, then the O&M plan must be included as an enforceable part of the permit.  Otherwise the specific operating parameter conditions must be in the permit.  

It has come to our attention that a significant number of permits have been issued with the exclusion of specific operating parameters and assumptions, but making references to an O&M plan.  USEPA at this time does not intend as a high priority to take further action on the permits that have already been issued with this deficiency.  However, we believe that specific operating parameters and monitoring to ensure proper operation for pollution control equipment must be made an enforceable part of all permits currently under review, for all future permits drafted, and for all permits undergoing reissuance.  Specifically, these conditions are required in synthetic minor permits and all Title V operating permits that require pollution control equipment to reduce a source’s emissions.

We hope that the information outlined in this letter is useful to you, and we will continue to work with you to develop an acceptable, flexible permit. If you have any questions on this letter, please contact Shaheerah Fateen at (312) 353-4779.

Sincerely yours,


Robert Miller, Chief
Permits and Grants Section