Coating Processes

Spray Painting

Coating processes emit air contaminants and require a permit to operate. The District regulates the use of paints, primers, strippers, solvents, and other materials typically found in coating operations. The following information will assist in the completion and submittal of an application for each coating process. Each section of the page contains important information needed to process an application. 

Application Forms

The District collects information about equipment and processes that are required to have a permit by asking for completion of application forms. These forms tell us about your operation and allow us to permit your process. It is very important that these forms are filled out completely and accurately. Errors and missing information may lead to delayed processing time and additional charges if revisions are required. Please carefully review and complete the forms. You may contact the District with any questions.

General Application Word PDF

Coating Processes Supplemental Form Word PDF

Toxics Form Word PDF

Other required attachments:

- Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and any other technical documents pertaining to all chemicals used in the process

- Application equipment user manuals/specification sheets

- Spray booth specification sheets

- Plot plans describing the location of the booth's stack and dimensions of any nearby buildings

- Description of emissions control equipment (if applicable)

The general and equipment specific application forms must be submitted with each application packet. 

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Estimated Fees

The correct fee must be submitted with your application in order for it to be accepted. For this type of equipment, depending on the application type, the fees are either listed in the table(s) below or are determined based on the time and materials required to conduct the review. If your application type is not listed in the table(s), a fee estimate must be obtained from the District prior to submittal. 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.

Marine Coating (Except if subject to fee schedule 27T)
Surface Coating using more than 1 gallon of surface coating, emits no more than 5 tons VOC per year
Surface coating w/o controls emitting more than 5 tons VOC per year
Fiberglass, Plastic or Foam Process Line
Aerospace and metal parts coating emitting no more than 5 tons VOC per year
Aerospace and metal parts coating emitting more than 5 tons VOC per year
Wood products coating emits no more than 5 tons VOC per year, uses more than 500 gallons per year
Surface coating where combined coating and solvent use less than 1 gal per day or 50 gal per year
Wood products using less than 500 gallons per year wood products coatings
Automotive coating subject to Rule 67.20

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 Rule 40.

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How to Pay

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 2.19% that is charged by the credit card provider.

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Trade Secret

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. 

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How to Submit Application Packet



Permit Processing

10124 Old Grove Rd

San Diego, CA 92131-1649


(858) 586-2601

Select equipment type applications can now be submitted online through Citizen Access. Sign up today to get connected to your applications and permits. 

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Application Status

The District is required to act on complete applications within 180 days. If a specific turnaround time is required, discuss this with the assigned engineer. More complex processes will take longer. 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.

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District Rules

Below are the types of coating processes that the District regulates. Several of these District rules may apply to your equipment.

    Aerospace Components

    Marine Vessels and Components

    Metal Parts and Products

    Motor Vehicle and Mobile Equipment

    Wood Products

    Miscellaneous Surfaces (if others not applicable)

General rules that also apply to coating processes include Rules  50 and 51.

A complete listing of the District's rules can be found here.

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Best Available Control Technology (BACT)

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. Large coating operations have the potential to emit more than 10 pounds per day of VOC. Please indicate on your application if your operation will emit more than 10 pounds per day of VOC. 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

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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. 

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Your coating operation may be subject to NESHAP HHHHHH if:

You perform paint stripping with materials containing Methylene Chloride (Dichloromethane).

- You spray materials containing Chromium, Lead, Manganese, Nickel, or Cadmium

- You perform coatings on motor vehicles or mobile equipment

Please contact a District engineer to determine if NESHAP HHHHHH is applicable to your operation.

If you operate a large coating operation, you may be subject to an additional state or federal regulation.

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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.

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Obtain Assistance

Need Help? Have Questions?

Email the District or call (858) 586-2600 and ask for the duty engineer.

Find example recordkeeping forms and help calculating VOC emissions here.

Compliance assistance for coating operations can be obtained by visiting the Painting Compliance Page.

More in depth help and site visits can be performed by the District Small Business Assistance Program Coordinator who can be reached at (858) 586-2656.

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