Focus On Air
Air Operating Permit Program

Who to Contact

Air Quality Program (402) 471-2186
Are you not certain what permits your business may need?
For more information,
refer to our
Permit Matrix.
Air quality operating permits contain all applicable requirements for all emission points at a facility. There are two types of operating permits: major source (federal program) and minor source (state program). The potential emissions from the plant will determine whether a facility will obtain a major or minor operating permit. More information about the air quality operating permit program can be found in the Operating Permits Fact Sheet.

Operating Permits Fact Sheet

Who needs to apply?

A facility may need an operating permit if their emissions exceed the thresholds listed below. All incinerators need to obtain an operating permit regardless of the quantity of their emissions.

Major Source Operating Permits
The federal major source program (AKA Class I or Title V) regulates larger sources of air pollution. A Class I source or major source has the potential-to-emit (PTE) quantities greater than:
  • 100 tons per year (tpy) of any criteria air pollutant* excluding lead;
  • 10 tpy of any single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) or 25 tpy of a combination of HAPs; or
  • 5 tpy of lead.

*Criteria pollutants are particulate matter less than 10 microns, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxides, volatile organic compounds, and lead.

Minor Source Operating Permits
The state minor source program (AKA Class II) regulates smaller sources of air pollution. There are two classifications for minor sources: synthetic minor and natural minor.
  • Synthetic Minor
    • Potential emissions above Class I emission levels (see previous section)
    • Federally enforceable limits are taken to keep emissions below Class I emission levels
  • Natural Minor
  • Potential emissions below the Class I emission levels
  • Actual emissions above 50% of Class I emission levels
    • 50 tpy of criteria pollutant except lead;
    • 5 tpy of any single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) or 12.5 tons per year of a combination of HAPs; or
    • 2.5 tpy of lead.
Potential emissions are based on operating the unit/source 24 hours per day at maximum capacity for twelve months or 8,760 hours.

Potential Emission Calculation Spreadsheets

Timing & Requirements:

If you need an air quality operating permit, you need to submit the appropriate Operating Permit Application forms within 12 months after the emissions unit(s) begin operation or 12 months of becoming subject to the operating permit requirements, whichever is earlier.

Operating Permit Application forms

Supporting Regulations:

The operating permit requirements can be found in Title 129 – Nebraska Air Quality Regulations, Chapter 6.

Low Emitter Program
A source may not need to obtain an operating permit if they can demonstrate that they are a “Low Emitter.” A “low emitter” is a source with potential emissions above the Class I levels, but their actual emissions are below the Class II levels. More information about the Low Emitter Program is located in the Nebraska’s Low Emitter Rule Fact Sheet.

Nebraska’s Low Emitter Rule Fact Sheet

Timing & Requirements:
If you qualify for the low emitter program, complete the appropriate Low Emitter Worksheet form and submit it to NDEE for review and approval. A source must have at least one full year of operating data in order to be considered for low emitter status. Sources covered under this program must maintain records with calculations demonstrating that their actual emissions remain below the Class II threshold.

Low Emitter Worksheet form

Supporting Regulations:
The Low Emitter provisions are located in Chapter 6 of Title 129.

More Information