We get it. Air permits are complicated and frustrating to understand - especially in New Jersey. In fact, New Jersey has some of the most strict environmental regulations anywhere in the United States. Not to mention, air permits can be expensive!
If you've just learned that you'll need to pay for a pricey air permit, maybe you're hoping to save a few dollars by applying for and obtaining the permit on your own, instead of paying even more to hire someone to help you. If you're confused about whether or not you're able to obtain a New Jersey air permit by yourself, don't worry! We're about to explain exactly who can get an air permit in New Jersey in this quick read.
Can I get an air permit by myself in New Jersey?
The short answer - yes! You can absolutely apply for and obtain a New Jersey air permit without any help from experts, consultants, or environmental professionals. There are no specific requirements that say who can (or cannot) apply for and obtain an air permit in New Jersey, so if you want to do it on your own, you're free to do so. However, while you can do it yourself, getting an air permit in New Jersey is pretty complicated - which brings us to the next point...
The long answer - do you really want to? Think about it like this: can you file the taxes for your business by yourself? Sure, there's no law or regulation saying you can't. However, most businesses don't have the time and expertise to do it alone, so they hire an accountant instead. Likewise, most businesses in New Jersey that need air permits decide to hire a consultant to do the work for them. Hiring a professional is often more time-efficient and cost-effective than trying to figure it all out on your own. After all, time is money, and applying for and obtaining an air permit is definitely going to take time, especially if you don't know what you're doing!
So maybe the better question is "should I get an air permit by myself?" This is a tricky question and the true answer really depends on your level of experience and expertise when working on air permit applications. Let’s break down what’s entailed when it comes to applying for and obtaining an air permit in New Jersey to help you decide whether or not you should try to do it on your own.
What NJ air permit do you need?
Unless you are applying for a general permit, you should expect that all applications will require the use of NJDEP’s RADIUS software. RADIUS is a downloadable computer program which all air permit applications must be created in prior to submission to the NJDEP. Completed applications are then exported from the program and uploaded to the NJDEP for certification. The RADIUS software is available for public use so you can do this yourself, but to be blunt, this software is not simple, not easy to use, and does take some time to get the hang of. If you'll need to use the RADIUS software for your air permit, we'd highly suggest you get help from a New Jersey air permit expert who knows what they're doing. It'll make your life a whole lot easier.
If you're applying for a general air permit, you won't need to use the RADIUS software, but you will need to fill out some forms on the NJDEP website. Getting a general air permit is much simpler than an individual air permit, but you'll still need to know some information about the equipment you're obtaining the permit for, your site, etc. If you aren't familiar with the specifications of your equipment and site, it can still be difficult to apply for a general permit on your own. And, even if you know all of the information, incorrectly entering it into the online NJDEP forms can mean you'll need to start the process all over.
So, if you are applying for any air permit other than a general permit, you can do it yourself, but it's going to be complicated, especially if you haven't done it before. In most cases, businesses who need to submit permits through the NJDEP's RADIUS software decide it's a better use of their time, energy, and money to just hire a professional to do the work for them. If you're applying for a general air permit you can probably do it yourself, but again, it can be complicated if you aren't familiar with your equipment, site, or the NJDEP website and forms.
Do I need a professional engineer certification to obtain a New Jersey air permit?
Again, this will depend on the permit you need. Unless you are submitting an application for a Title V air permit ( for very large emitting facilities) you should not expect any professional engineer (PE) certification(s) for your air permit application. This means for pretty much all preconstruction permits and general permits, no PE certification will be required.
Do I need a consultant to obtain an air permit in New Jersey?
You're probably starting to see where we're headed with this one. The answer is no, you do not ever need a consultant to obtain an air permit in New Jersey. Anyone who tells you different is either lying or confused. However, a consultant is usually the best option for businesses that need an air permit. So again, maybe the better question is "should I get a consultant to obtain an air permit in New Jersey?" Think about it like this:
Do you need to go to a mechanic when your car breaks down? Do you need to hire an accountant to do the taxes for your business? No, you don't need a professional to do either of these things and you can do them yourself. But... you probably choose to hire a professional for these things anyway, because they save you time, hassle, and make your life easier. By the way, if you work on your own car and do the taxes for your business, we're impressed!
You might think this is a little biased (and it probably is - after all, we're environmental consultants!), but the truth is that you're usually better off in the long run to hire an expert on New Jersey air permits. After all, this stuff is a pain to figure out on your own, and you have a business to run!
How much does it cost to hire a consultant for a New Jersey air permit?
Consultants typically charge anywhere from $1,000 for simple applications to $20,000+ for large, complex applications. We here at RMA tend to fall right around the middle of that range, and usually charge between $1,500 - $8,000 for air permit projects in New Jersey. Once again, the price you'll pay for a consultant is going to depend on a couple different factors. Let’s break down some of the most important factors that will impact the cost of hiring a consultant for help with a New Jersey air permit.
Type of permit: General permits will typically cost the least, while Title V permits will cost the most. Preconstruction permit costs usually fall somewhere in the middle of the two.
Complexity of permit: Fairly simple operations with one piece of equipment needing a permit will almost always be less expensive than complex operations that have many pieces of equipment with unique operating scenarios and characteristics.
Return time: If you're on a time crunch and need the application to be submitted immediately, you may need to pay a consultant more.
Consultant type: Large multi-national consulting firms are usually more expensive than small mom-and-pop consulting firms.
Experience: Typically, a firm with more experience will charge more than a firm just getting its feet wet.
A word of advice here - cheaper isn't always better! The whole point in hiring a consultant is to make your life easier. If you decide to go with the lowest bidder, you might end up regretting it later on. It's usually better to pay a little more upfront, and hire someone who knows what they're doing than it is to save money by hiring the wrong person. The right consultant can make all of your air permit headaches go away, while the wrong consultant just might end up adding to them. You get what you pay for!
How much money should I expect to pay the NJDEP for my air permit application?
This depends on the type of permit you are applying for and the number of equipment to be included on the application. Some permits such as general permits will have a base fee whereas others such as preconstruction permits will have initial permit fees based upon the amount of equipment. A quick breakdown of initial permit costs is below. For the full story, be sure to check out our other blog: How much does an air permit cost in New Jersey?
General Permits - Initial application cost: $885
Preconstruction Permits - Initial application cost: $2730 + $640 for each additional piece of equipment
General Operating Permits - Initial application cost: $885
Title V Permits - Initial application cost: Depends on the application, equipment, size, and scale of the operation.
Need help getting an air permit in New Jersey?
If you’re trying to figure out whether or not you need an air permit in New Jersey, this is probably a lot to take in. If you're overwhelmed by all this air permitting talk, you're not alone. RMA has been actively involved in helping companies with environmental regulations like air quality permits here in the Garden State since our founding in 1992. Long story short, we know the ins and outs of the environmental concerns facilities deal with regarding air permits and other environmental issues. We help you get into compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations, ensuring your business stays out of trouble and in compliance.
Our staff members have been on-site at thousands of operations across the country, so when we say we've seen it all and done it all, we mean it. We've provided help with air permits to everyone, from globe-spanning, multi-national organizations to small "mom & pop" shops. No matter your size, industry, or location, we'd love to learn how we can help with your air permitting needs.
If you're having any type of issue at your operation with your air permitting program, need to apply for an air permit, or anything else, and need the help of an environmental consulting firm with a proven track record, reach out. Even if we can't help, we’ll do our best to steer you in the right direction. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com, click here to contact us, or give us a call anytime at 888-RMA-0230 to learn how we can help your operation deal with environmental regulations and air permits.
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