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Controlling Air Pollution from Facilities

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Industrial and commercial operations emit pollutants into the air. These pollutants can make breathing difficult, form urban smog, impair visibility, and attack ecosystems. Some can cause cancer or other serious health effects. Among the many pollutants emitted into the air are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxides, carbon monoxide, benzene, mercury and dioxin.

Many sources of air pollution are generated from large facilities, such as petroleum refineries, chemical plants, and electricity generating facilities. Other pollution sources are smaller, such as gasoline stations, dry cleaning operations, and paint spray booths. This page links to information about air source permits and other measures used by DEC to reduce emissions from these stationary sources of air pollution.

Air Facility Permits

Technology can prevent or limit the escape of pollution from industrial and commercial facilities. DEC has the authority to require facilities to install pollution control technologies or to change operating practices that pollute the air. The air facility permit is the principal vehicle for requiring these measures.

Air Facility Permits are legally enforceable documents issued to air pollution sources specifying the air pollution control requirements for the facility. The facility must comply with the terms of their permit and must publicly report their emissions. In addition, they may be required to monitor or test their emissions.

Small Business Compliance and Technical Assistance for Stationary Sources

This program provides small businesses with free technical assistance and information on complying with environmental regulations and air emission requirements, and help businesses locate sources of compliance financing. It includes the Small Business Environmental Ombudsman, a small business advocate that handles complaints about regulations.

Emission Reduction Credits (ERCs)

ERCs are generated when a facility shuts down or voluntarily reduces its permitted emissions by accepting a federally-enforceable emission cap. To help keep air pollution controls as economical as possible, emission trading programs allow sources with more expensive control costs to trade emission allowances with sources that have cheaper control costs.

A facility owner planning new or increased emissions must obtain enough ERCs to offset these emissions before DEC will issue a permit to construct or modify an air pollution source. DEC maintains a registry (PDF) where permit applicants can locate the necessary credits.

Dry Cleaner Regulation

To minimize the public's exposure to hazardous dry cleaning solvent vapors and groundwater contamination, NYS’ 1,590 dry cleaners are subject to regulatory requirements aimed at reducing and containing solvent vapors.

Air Toxics Program

Air toxic regulations reduce the emissions of hazardous substances. The air program uses the latest scientific method to determine how to control hazardous substances. These methods include computer modeling, air monitoring, and risk assessment procedures.

Public and Stakeholder Participation Information

Learn about upcoming meetings, webinars, trainings and other events relating to air quality in NYS.


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    Division of Air Resources
    Air Pollution
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3254
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