CDPHE implements stricter permit requirements for minor sources of air pollution to address worsening air quality in Colorado


Boram Kim


The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) announced earlier this month stricter requirements for businesses seeking general permits. General permits cover multiple dischargers of pollution within a designated geographical area. 


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State and federal regulations set limits for minor sources of pollution. As part of the APCD’s new application process, businesses must now complete a checklist that certifies the performance review of construction projects to ensure they meet federal National Ambient Air Quality Standards

“The EPA has informed us that they will be offering more specific guidance on issuing general permits in the coming years, and we welcome that guidance,” said Trisha Oeth, Director of Environmental Health and Protection at CDPHE. “But we also cannot wait to enact more protective measures in our general permits, so that’s why we’re moving ahead now. Colorado is choosing to lead, once again, on reducing air pollution and protecting our environment.”

Colorado passed legislation earlier this year aimed at improving air quality. Senate Bill 193 awards grants to measures that reduce air pollutants from industrial and manufacturing operations. The state has allocated $25 million in general funds to implement the clean air grant program and the Colorado Energy Office will issue money over the next 6 years to private entities, local governments, tribal governments, and public-private partnerships for projects that reduce air pollutants. 

Meanwhile, House Bill 1244 will monitor and regulate toxic air pollutants to meet requirements more stringent than outlined in the federal Clean Air Act. 

Denver (7th) and Fort Collins (18th) ranked among the 25 worst cities in the country for ozone pollution, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). In ALA’s 2022 State of the Air report, Denver’s rankings were worse than the previous year’s rankings in all 3 categories: ground-level ozone pollution, year-round particle pollution, and short-term particle pollution. 

CDPHE said APCD is making preparations to meet increased demands related to permitting and modeling from clean air projects while continuing to evaluate more changes to the general permit process.