Internal combustion engines used for emergency purposes including engines driving backup generators or fire suppression water pumps emit air contaminants including oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, oxides of sulfur, particulate matter and toxic air contaminants. Engines operated at stationary sources with brake-horsepower ratings of 50 bhp or greater require a permit to operate.
The information on this page will assist in the completion and submittal of an application for each emergency engine. Each section of the page contains important information needed to submit an application.
Emergency engines can operate on a variety of fuels including diesel, natural gas or propane. Emergency engines include those that are used only in emergency situations with limited operation allowed for maintenance and testing purposes. If the engine will be used for other purposes such as being a primary source of power or operated as part of a demand response program, please complete application forms for a non-emergency engine.
Application forms tell us about your operation and allow us to permit
your process. Accurate and complete information decreases processing
time and helps avoid additional charges for unnecessary revisions.
Please carefully review and complete the following forms. Also listed
below are required attachments that need to be submitted with the
application. You may contact the District with any questions.
-Plot Plan including stack location and nearby building dimensions
-Manufacturer or EPA or CARB certified emission data
-Engine specification/data sheet
-Control equipment specifications (if applicable)
-BACT analysis (if applicable)
The general and equipment specific application forms along with required attachments must be submitted with each application packet.
Emergency Engine applications may also be
submitted online through Citizen Access. If you have not done so already,
you will need to first create an account.
The correct fee, as shown in the table(s) below, must be submitted
with your application in order for it to be accepted. Please
note that the fees listed in these tables are estimated and the final
fee may be more or less than this amount based on time and materials
spent processing the application. The District maintains work records
for this purpose.
Before submitting an application, contact the District (see bottom
of page) to obtain an application fee estimate for application
submittal. Please note that an additional fee may also apply depending
on the method of payment. A breakdown of how the application fee(s)
are determined can
be seen here. Additional information can be found in District
These fees may be paid by check payable to "Air Pollution Control District" or by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express).
If you choose to email or fax your application and intend on paying with a credit card, you must provide contact information (name and phone number) so that the District can complete payment.
Please note that credit card payments are assessed a transaction fee of 2.2% that is charged by the credit card provider.
If a piece of equipment or a process emits more than 10 pounds per day of particulate matter (PM10), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) or oxides of sulfur (SOx), the application must include a best available control technology (BACT) analysis. For emergency engines, this requirement is most frequently triggered by NOx. The District has a BACT guide to assist with the analysis. If you have questions or need assistance reference the contact information at the bottom of this page. Please review District Rules 20.1 and 20.2.
District Rule 1200 applies to any new, relocated, or modified emission unit which may increase emissions of one or more toxic air contaminant(s). The proposed project must comply with Rule 1200. Proposed equipment may require toxics best available control technology (TBACT) depending on the project. Please review District Rule 1200 for further details.
District rules address how information that is submitted to the District is managed. District Regulation IX contains District rules 176 and 177. Please refer directly to these rules when submitting trade secret information. However, be aware that you will need to submit:
1. A letter disclosing the proprietary information. This can be submitted electronically.
2. A letter for the public record explaining why the information needs to be held as trade secret.
The inclusion of proprietary information can significantly delay permit applications. In an effort to expedite the permit application process it is recommended that you contact the manufacturer or vendor of any proprietary materials that are used in the process and prepare the required letters as part of your application submittal.
In 1989, the California state legislature passed a law, AB 3205, designed to protect schoolchildren from hazardous air contaminants. The law, as currently written, requires the District to notify parents of schoolchildren, neighboring businesses and residents of all new or modified equipment that emits any hazardous air contaminant into the air which will be installed within 1,000 feet of a school site. The law also requires the District to consider any comments before authorizing construction. Please review your proposed location. If a school property boundary is located within 1,000 feet of the proposed emissions point, the AB3205 process will be initiated. This process requires a 30 day public comment period and the overall process will delay projects by at least six weeks.
10124 Old Grove Rd
San Diego, CA 92131-1649
Emergency Engine applications may also be
submitted online through Citizen
Access. If you have not done so already, you will need to first
create an account.
The District will act on complete applications as soon as possible but at most within 180 days. The engineer assigned to your application will review it and contact you within 30 days of receipt to confirm that it is complete or request additional information. Typically permits are issued in about 60 days. More complex processes will take longer. Common reasons that emergency engine permits may take longer than 60 days to evaluate include: if they require a mandatory public notice period due to being installed within 1000 feet of a school or triggering the requirement for a air quality impact analysis (AQIA) or if they do not initially pass a health risk assessment (HRA) or AQIA.
Ensuring your application is complete is the best way to reduce processing time. Complete emissions data is the most important factor in minimizing application processing time and iterative information requests. If you have any questions about what information is required, please contact the District using the information at the bottom of this page. Learn more about the rules that govern application processing time.
Sign up for Citizen Access to get up to date information on the status of your application.
Learn more about the application process and what to expect.
Depending on the installation date, model year, stationary source emissions, fuel type and engine portability, the following state Air Toxic Control Measures (ATCMs), and/or federal New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) may be applicable to your emergency engines
ATCM for Stationary Compression Ignition Engines (Stationary ATCM) - Applies to stationary engines that combust diesel fuel. Common requirements of the Stationary ATCM include purchasing an engine certified to the correct model year standards, limiting testing and maintenance operation and keeping records of operation and maintenance.
ATCM for Portable Engines (Portable Engines) - This rule applies to engines that combust diesel fuel and are considered portable under the rule. Typical engines subject to this rule include emergency backup generators that are stored in one location and moved around the same facility to provide backup power as needed or that are otherwise not eligible for a District or State portable registration. If you think your engine may be portable, please contact the District prior to submitting your application to ensure that the correct application type is submitted. Common requirements of the Portable ATCM include purchasing a current tier engine and meeting fleet averaging standards.
RICE NESHAP (ZZZZ) - This EPA rule applies to
both spark ignition and compression ignition emergency engines. For
most new emergency engines, requirements of this rule are superseded
by more stringent state regulations. The District will evaluate your
application and include any applicable requirements of this rule in an
authority to construct. The District also has created applicability
tables to help you determine how this rule affects your engine which
can be found at the RICE NESHAP link under additional resources.
NSPS IIII - This EPA rule applies to new
compression ignition engines. For most new emergency engines,
requirements of this rule are similar to the requirements for the
Stationary ATCM. The District will evaluate your application and
include any applicable requirements of this rule in an authority to
NSPS JJJJ - This EPA rule applies to new spark ignition engines. For most new emergency engines, requirements of this rule are minimal and may include purchasing a certified engine, limiting non-emergency operation and maintaining records.
The engineer assigned to an application will review the proposed equipment to determine the requirements of these regulations that may apply to the emergency engine and include them as conditions in your authority to construct.
Equipment specific Rule 69.4.1 applies to emergency engines. If the engine is located at a major source, it may also be subject to Rule 69.4. A complete listing of the District's rules can be found here.
Equipment Calculation Procedures - This page contains procedures
that should be used to calculate emissions from each engine. The
correct calculation procedure should be selected based on fuel type,
engine size and emission control technology. Please ensure that
emission factors specific to internal combustion engines are
Use of these calculation procedures will aid in minimizing
application review time and costs. The calculation procedure can be
found at the link at the top of each page, and the correct emission
factors selected from the list based on equipment. If available,
manufacturer provided equipment specific emission data or source
test results should be utilized before using default emission
factors. Sources of all emission data used must be included as
attachments to the application.
AP-42 - An alternative compilation of emission factors and calculation procedures prepared by the EPA that may be utilized by the District in some situations for some equipment types.
EPA Certification Information - This page contains spreadsheets with emission factors for engines certified by the US EPA. Data is available for most diesel engines and certified spark-ignition engines and can be looked up by model year and EPA engine family name.
CARB Executive Orders - Use this link to obtain emission factors for certified diesel engines from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Data can be looked up by engine manufacturer, model year and EPA engine family name.
Stationary Engine Compliance Information - Contains useful information prepared by the District for staying in compliance with stationary engine permit requirements.
Forms and Compliance Policies - See this page for compliance related forms (including reporting form templates) and compliance advisories that may be relevant to your equipment.
NESHAP (ZZZZ) and NSPS – See the Rule Development archive page
for 2013 for additional guidance on determining applicable RICE NESHAP
and NSPS requirements.