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Washington Air Quality Permit for Construction Activities (15-WA-a(1))

Information current as of 2020
In Washington, a developer may need to submit a Notification of Intent to Operate to the Washington Department of Ecology in order use certain bulk transmission project construction equipment (e.g. portable diesel generators that qualify as a nonroad engine). A Notification of Intent to Operate is required if a developer uses nonroad engines with a cumulative maximum rated brake horsepower (bhp) greater than 500 bhp. Wash. Admin. Code §§ 173-400-035(4)–(5). The use of nonroad engines does not, however, require an Air Quality Construction Permit pursuant to Wash. Admin. Code § 173-400-110(1)(b).


A developer must also comply with fugitive dust and visible emissions rules contained in Wash. Admin. Code § 173-400-040, which require a developer to:

  • Prevent the emission of visible emissions such that they exceed 20% opacity;
  • Prevent particulate matter from being deposited beyond the property line on which it was generated;
  • Prevent the emission of any air contaminant from any source if it is detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of any person, or causes damage to property or business; and
  • Take reasonable precautions to prevent fugitive dust from becoming airborne and prevent the release of air contaminants.

Wash. Admin. Code §§ 173-400-040(2); (3); (4); (6); (9).


Note: If a developer’s project extends into Benton County, the developer should consult the Benton Clean Air Agency. If a developer’s project extends into Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Mason, Pacific, or Thurston County, the developer should consult the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency. If a developer’s project extends into Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Skamania, or Wahkiakum County, the developer should consult the Southwest Clean Air Agency. If a developer’s project extends into King, Kitsap, Pierce, or Snohomish County, the developer should consult the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. If a developer’s project extends into Island, Skagit, or Whatcom County, the developer should consult the Northwest Clean Air Agency. If a developer’s project extends into Spokane County, the developer should consult the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency. If a developer’s project extends into Yakima County, the developer should consult the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency. Each of these agencies has their own permitting programs, and the developer must apply for applicable permits with those programs. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Clean Air Act Permitting in Washington.



Air Quality Permit for Construction Activities Process


15-WA-a.1 — Submit Notification of Intent to Operate (If Applicable)

A project that requires the installation and operation of nonroad engines with a cumulative maximum rated brake horsepower (bhp) greater than 500bhp must submit a Notification of Intent to Operate prior to initiating operations. Wash. Admin. Code §§ 173-400-035(4)–(5).

The Notice must contain the following information:

  • Name and address of owner or operator;
  • Site address or location;
  • Date of equipment arrival at the site;
  • Cumulative engine maximum rated BHP.

Wash. Admin. Code § 173-400-035(4)(a).

If the nonroad engines have a cumulative maximum rated brake horsepower of more than 2000 bhp, the developer may use the Notification of Intent to Operate form available at Washington Department of Ecology – Application for Operating Non-road Engines Cumulatively Greater Than 2000 Brake Horsepower: Intent to Operate.

Note: The owner or operator must also keep the records of the current engine and equipment activity site for at least five years pursuant to Wash. Admin. Code § 173-400-035(4)(b).

15-WA-a.2 to 15-WA-a.3 — Do the Nonroad Engines Cumulatively Exceed 2000bhp?

A developer must receive written approval from the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) before initiating operations if the developer’s nonroad engines have a cumulative maximum rated brake horsepower of more than 2000 bhp. Wash. Admin. Code § 173-400-035(5)(b). If a developer’s nonroad engines have a cumulative maximum rated brake horsepower (bhp) greater than 500bhp, but less than 2000 bhp, the developer may initiate operations after submitting a Notification of Intent to Operate. Wash. Admin. Code § 173-400-035(5)(b).

15-WA-a.4 to 15-WA-a.7 — Issue Regulatory Decision on Notification of Intent to Operate

Within 15 days after receiving a complete Notification of Intent to Operate, Ecology must either issue Approval to Operate or notify the applicant (developer) that operation must not start until Ecology sets specific operating conditions. Wash. Admin. Code § 173-400-035(8).

Ecology may set specific conditions for operation as necessary to ensure that the nonroad engines do not cause or contribute to a violation of National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Wash. Admin. Code § 173-400-035(9).

15-WA-a.8 — Appeal Regulatory Decision (Optional)

Ecology’s final regulatory decision may be appealed to the Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days of receipt, as provided in Wash. Admin. Code §§ 371-08-335–350.


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