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The use of fumigants has emerged as a potential enforcement issue at ports, and recently several facilities have been issued Notices of Noncompliance and Notices of Violation. Ports often use various fumigants including Methyl Bromide, and in some cases, may not be in compliance with federal air regulations. Methyl Bromide is one of 188 toxic air pollutants, also known as a Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) and is also classified as a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC). These designations can trigger the need for either a Title V Permit; a Synthetic Minor Operating Permit; or a Minor Source Permit:

  • Title V Permit: A major source requires a Title V Permit if its Potential to Emit (PTE) is 10 tons or greater of any single HAP per year or 25 tons or greater per year of any combination of HAPs or if the source’s VOC emissions exceed the major source threshold.

  • Synthetic Minor Operating Permit: If a source‘s PTE exceeds the major source threshold, but ensures through operational or emission limits that it will not meet or exceed the major source threshold, then a Synthetic Minor Operating Permit can be granted. A Synthetic Minor Operating Permit requires that a source complies with federally enforceable permit limiting the source’s emissions to a level below the threshold which would trigger major source status.

  • Minor Source Permit: A permitting authority may require the source to apply for a Minor Source Permit (or a state operating permit) if its PTE is below the major threshold.

Typical uses of a fumigant at port facilities include commodity fumigation activities for import and exported goods such as fruit, grain, cut flowers, plants, wood packaging, wood products, etc. Generally the commodity is covered with a tent or tarp and the fumigant is pumped into this tent environment following USDA regulated amounts and duration periods. The fumigant is then extracted from the tent and is vented directly into the air. This extraction of HAP or VOC into the environment may require a Clean Air Act permit depending on the PTE as described above. Please refer to the following web resources for more information.