Missouri regulations: Air pollution

Missouri’s air pollution regulations are authorized by the Clean Air Act and enforced by the Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) or the local air pollution control office. Many business operations that release or discharge smoke, fumes, dust, mist or vapor must comply with air pollution regulations.

Examples of some regulated business operations are painting and coating, parts cleaning or degreasing, dry cleaning, rock quarrying and grinding and wood milling.

In general, the specific requirements that apply to a particular business are dependent on several factors, including the business location, and the types and amounts of pollutants emitted. In Missouri’s largest cities, where air quality is already compromised, businesses may be required to adhere to more stringent regulations than those in other parts of the state.

All businesses — no matter what size or where they are located — should reduce releases of six criteria pollutants that are known to have a significant detrimental impact on community health and the environment. These criteria pollutants are:

  • carbon monoxide
  • lead
  • nitrogen oxides
  • volatile organic compounds (in solvents)
  • sulfur dioxide
  • inhalable particulates

Specific air regulations target reductions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) known to cause harmful effects to human health and the environment. HAPs include asbestos, benzene, beryllium, arsenic, mercury, radionuclides and vinyl chloride. If a business operation involves any of these substances, it is probably subject to requirements under the HAP regulations.

Several chemicals known to deplete the stratospheric ozone, which shields the earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, have been phased out of use in business and industry. These chemicals include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform and hydrofluorocarbons. If these materials are encountered in old appliances or buildings, removal and management must be conducted by professionals trained in recovering these gases.

Facilities being constructed and older facilities being updated are required to use technology standards for limiting air emissions of regulated pollutants. Businesses may be required to obtain construction or operating permits that include enforceable emission limitations, compliance schedules, monitoring and reporting requirements and payment of annual fees based on emission quantities. Businesses that do not need a permit may still be subject to certain regulations and requirements.

Air emission generators may be subject to inspection by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), and both civil and criminal penalties may be imposed for compliance violations.

Who should apply for a permit?

MDNR’s Air Pollution Control Program is concerned with any pollutants a business process may emit into the air. To determine if an Air Pollution Permit is needed, MDNR asks these questions:

  1. Does the business use or store: paints, thinners, solvents, degreasers, petroleum products or other similar liquids?
  2. Will the business regularly use, handle, or produce dry bulk materials such as cotton, cement, limestone, lime, sawdust, fly ash, fertilizers, grain or feed?
  3. Does the business process include sawing, shredding, chipping or grinding materials in its operations?
  4. Does the business use combustibles (such as fuels) other than in small space heaters, or emit any other known pollutants?

A “YES” answer to any of these questions may indicate that the business is required to obtain an air permit. Contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Air Pollution Control Program or call 800-361-4827; 573-751-4817.