Air Facility System
AFS: DEC's Air Permit Tracking Utility
The Air Facility System (AFS) is the computer system used by the Division of Air Resources to track air emissions data, to process air applications and permits, and to facilitate compliance and enforcement activities associated with air quality requirements.
AFS Information Available On-line
State facility and Title V air emissions permits, both those previously issued and those still in draft form, are available online at DEC's Air Permit Access site. Users can see what a permit for a specific facility contains, either for general information or for review during public comment periods.
How DEC Uses the AFS to Develop and Enforce Air Emissions Permits
Initial Application Processing
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The AFS is constructed in modules -- each one designed for specific tasks. Applicants submitting permit applications will first have the data for their facility keypunched and entered into the Application Loader module. In Application Loader, data is initially placed in an area of AFS known as the transaction database. A first-level screening step is then taken in Application Loader to evaluate the data in the transaction database through the execution of an initial edit report to be sure it can be processed by the application reviewing and permit building mechanisms in AFS.
The edit report helps department staff determine if there are any serious format or organizational problems with the data that would prevent full processing in AFS. Where possible, the data may be edited by department staff to correct problems. If the data cannot be corrected by department staff, the results of the edit report can be printed and sent to the applicant for correction.
Further Application Processing and Permit Building
Once data has passed the Application Loader screening step, the application data is moved into the main portion of AFS, where it is further processed by the Permit Builder module. This module has additional screening features for a more analytical assessment of the application. This assessment includes both technical and regulatory checks of the application data.
Permit Builder contains the system tools used for developing the permit once an application has been fully evaluated. These tools include a utility that helps permit writers determine which regulations apply to an applicant's facility, based on an extensive library of regulatory criteria sets. Permits are developed by determining which rules apply and then placing conditions in the permit that will assure compliance with applicable state and federal requirements. Conditions included in the library have been subjected to an internal QA/QC process.
Once a permit has been developed, the final permit quality assurance report is executed to determine if there are any errors or omissions in the permit. Depending on the significance of the permitting action, the next steps may include noticing, review by the public, affected states and EPA, and, possibly, hearings if substantive issues related to the issuance of the permit are raised.
Emissions, Billing, Compliance and Enforcement
AFS is used to track air emission inventories and to conduct billing as required by state and federal statutes. Division staff use AFS to check the validity of data submitted by permitted facilities.a
The AFS Compliance and Enforcement module is designed to plan and track compliance and enforcement activities. The compliance module uses permitting information and facility data to help regional staff conduct inspections at facilities, determine whether compliance assurance activities required by permits are being carried out, and record the results of inspections. Where enforcement activities become necessary, the compliance module tracks the status and progress of these actions.
Division staff periodically upload a portion of the compliance and enforcement data to an EPA data system. EPA then makes the information available on their Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) webpage. A link to ECHO is available under "Links Leaving DEC's Website" to the right.
Questions on AFS can be directed to the Bureau of Stationary Sources at 518-402-8403.