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Colorado Air Quality Permit for Construction Activities (15-CO-a(1))

Information current as of 2020
In Colorado, bulk transmission project construction activities and equipment (e.g., certain diesel generators, construction equipment, fugitive dust emissions) may require the submission an Air Pollutant Emission Notice (APEN), the receipt of a General Permit or Construction Permit for Land Development, and compliance with fugitive dust rules.

A developer must submit an Air Pollutant Emission Notice (APEN) for Land Development to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Air Pollution Control Division if the project disturbs or covers 25 or more contiguous acres of land or continues for 6 or more months. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – An Overview of Colorado Air Regulations for Land Development. For such projects, a developer typically must obtain either coverage under the Land Development General Permit (General Permit) or Construction Permit for Land Development (Construction Permit). Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – An Overview of Colorado Air Regulations for Land Development.

A developer engaging in construction activities must also comply with Colorado’s fugitive dust rules contained in 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-3(III)(D), which require a developer to limit visible emissions to less than 20% opacity and prevent visible emissions from being transported off the property. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-3(III)(D)(2)(b)(iii). A project that involves clearing or leveling more than 5 acres of land in an attainment area or 1 acre of land in a nonattainment area must employ all available and practical methods which are technologically feasible and economically reasonable in order to minimize fugitive particulate matter emissions. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-3(III)(D)(2)(b)(ii).

Equipment used for the construction of bulk transmission projects typically does not require an Air Quality Construction Permit. The temporary use of a portable diesel generator that qualifies as a “nonroad engine” under 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(3A)(I)(B)(31) does not require an Air Pollutant Emission Notice or an Air Quality Construction Permit pursuant to 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(3B)(II).

Note: Nonroad engines with a manufacturer’s site-rated horsepower of 1,200 or greater that operate more than 4,380 hours per year at the same location, however, require the submission of an Air Pollutant Emission Notice and may require the submission of an Application for a Site-Specific, Temporary, Nonroad Engine Permit if the engine’s estimated annual actual emissions reach certain thresholds. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(3A)(I)(B)(31)(c).



Air Quality Permit for Construction Activities Process


15-CO-a.1 to 15-CO-a.3 — Consult the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

A developer is not required to submit an Air Pollutant Emission Notice (APEN), obtain a General Permit, or obtain a Construction Permit, if the project is less than 25 contiguous acres and less than 6 months in duration. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – An Overview of Colorado Air Regulations for Land Development.

A developer should consult the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) if their project involves land development of 25 or more contiguous acres or will continue for 6 or more months. In such a case, a developer must submit an APEN and may need to obtain either a General Permit or Construction Permit. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – An Overview of Colorado Air Regulations for Land Development.

15-CO-a.4 to 15-CO-a.7 — Land Development Air Pollutant Emission Notice (APEN)

A developer must submit a Land Development APEN and pay an associated fee if the project involves 25 or more contiguous acres or continues for 6 months or longer. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – An Overview of Colorado Air Regulations for Land Development. Colorado’s Land Development APEN is available at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – Land Development APEN: Form APCD-223.

On the Land Development APEN, CDPHE gives a developer the choice between coverage under the General Permit or a Construction Permit if the project involves more than 25 contiguous acres and less than 1850 total acres, but projects involving more than 1850 acres must obtain a Construction Permit. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – An Overview of Colorado Air Regulations for Land Development. A developer may review the terms and conditions of the General Permit at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – General Construction Permit for Land Development Projects.

The developer may commence construction of the land development project without receiving further approval from CDPHE upon submission of a complete Land Development APEN with the selection to receive a General Permit and payment of associated fees, subject to the risk of enforcement if the land development project does not qualify for registration under the General Permit or is demonstrated to violate applicable ambient air quality standards. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – General Construction Permit for Land Development Projects.

A project that disturbs 1850 or more acres requires a Construction Permit. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – An Overview of Colorado Air Regulations for Land Development. A developer must submit a Construction Permit Application (Application) by selecting the option to apply for a Construction Permit on the Land Development APEN if their land development project involves disturbance of 1850 or more acres. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – An Overview of Colorado Air Regulations for Land Development.

15-CO-a.8 — General Permit Approval Letter

CDPHE will issue a General Permit Approval Letter based on the applicant’s (developer’s) agreement to comply with the Particulate Emissions Control Plan within the General Permit. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – General Construction Permit for Land Development Projects. The General Permit is valid for a period of 5 years from the initial date of CDPHE’s issuance of a General Permit Approval Letter. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – General Construction Permit for Land Development Projects.

15-CO-a.9 to 15-CO-a.11 — Review Application Materials for Completeness

CDPHE must review the Application for completeness within 60 days of receiving the application. CDPHE cannot deem an Application complete until the applicant (developer) submits all the information and data required to evaluate the Application. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(B)(4).

CDPHE must notify the developer within 60 days after receipt if the Application is incomplete. If CDPHE fails to notify the developer within 60 days of receipt of the Application, the Application is automatically deemed complete retroactive to the day of receipt by CDPHE of the Application or supplemental information. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(B)(4).

15-CO-a.12 — Conduct Preliminary Analysis

CDPHE must prepare a preliminary analysis of the Application within 60 calendar days of a complete Application. The preliminary analysis determines whether the emission source will, at the date of commencement of operation, comply with:

  • All applicable emission control regulations;
  • Applicable regulations for the control of hazardous pollutants;
  • Requirements of the nonattainment and attainment programs; and
  • Any applicable ambient air quality standards and regulations.

5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(II)(B)(5).

The preliminary analysis must also indicate what impact, if any, the project will have on all areas (i.e., attainment, attainment/maintenance, nonattainment, unclassifiable) within the probable area of influence of the proposed source. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(B)(5).

15-CO-a.13 — Forward Analysis to Applicant (Developer) (If Applicable)

If requested, CDPHE must send the applicant (developer) a copy of the preliminary analysis postmarked no later than 15 calendar days after the completion of the preliminary analysis. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(B)(5).

15-CO-a.14 — Draft Air Quality Construction Permit (Draft Permit)

CDPHE must develop a Draft Air Quality Construction Permit (Draft Permit) based on the preliminary analysis. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(C).

15-CO-a.15 — File Copy of Application, Preliminary Analysis, and Draft Permit with County Clerk

CDPHE must file a copy of the Application, preliminary analysis, and the Draft Permit with the county clerk for each county in which the project will be located. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(C)(4).

15-CO-a.16 — Publish Notice of Application for Air Quality Construction Permit

CDPHE must publish public notice of the Application within 15 days of the preparation of the preliminary analysis. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(C)(4). CDPHE must publish the notice in a newspaper of general distribution in the area where the proposed project will be located and by any other means necessary to assure notice to the affected public, including publication of the notice on CDPHE’s website. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(C)(4). CDPHE must provide a copy of the Application, the preliminary analysis, and the Draft Permit to the county clerk for each county in which the source will be located. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(C)(4). CDPHE must also send written or electric notice to persons requesting notice of permit applications for the type of source or geographic location of the source. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(C)(4).

The public notice must include:

  • The location and nature of the proposed project or activity for which an applicant filed an Application;
  • The location where the Application and preliminary analysis are available for inspection;
  • That any interested person may submit comments on the proposed project or activity;
  • That CDPHE will receive and consider comments for 30 calendar days after publication; and
  • CDPHE’s preliminary determination to approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove the Application.

5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(C)(4).

Note: A period of public comment is required for all Construction Permit Applications for land development projects involving 1850 or more acres. Public comment may not be required if a developer seeks a Construction Permit for a land development project involving less than 1850 acres, in leui of coverage under the General Permit.

15-CO-a.17 — Comment on the Application, Preliminary Analysis, and Draft Permit

CDPHE must provide an opportunity for public comment on the Application, preliminary analysis, and Draft Permit. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – An Overview of Colorado Air Regulations for Land Development; 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(C)(1).

Members of the public may comment on the Application, preliminary analysis, and Draft Permit for 30 days from the date of publication of the public notice. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(C)(4)(d).

15-CO-a.18 — Is the Construction Permit Approved?

CDPHE must make a determination to approve or deny the Construction Permit within 30 days following the period for public comment. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(D)(1).

15-CO-a.19 to 15-CO-a.20 — Air Quality Construction Permit

The CDPHE must grant the Construction Permit if it finds:

  • The proposed project will not cause an exceedance of any National Ambient Air Quality Standards;
  • The project will meet all applicable ambient air quality standards and regulations;
  • As applicable, the proposed source or activity will meet the requirements of the attainment program as outlined in Section V of Part D of 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5, if any; and
  • The applicant (developer) has paid the fees required under 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5 Part A, Section VI.

5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(D)(1).

CDPHE must include any terms and conditions in the Construction Permit necessary for the proposed project or activity to comply with state air quality regulations. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(E).

If CDPHE denies the Draft Permit, it must issue a written denial of the permit stating the reasons for the Draft Permit denial. A denial of a Draft Permit becomes final upon mailing of the letter of denial to the developer by certified mail. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(F).

15-CO-a.21 – Appeal (Optional)

The developer may request a hearing on a permit denial within 30 days of the denial. 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(F). See 5 Colo. Code Regs. § 1001-5(B)(III)(F)(3) for more on appeals.


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