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EGLE's mission to protect Michigan’s environment and public health by managing air, water, land, and energy resources is supported by environmental permitting. Through permit issuance and oversight, EGLE strives to facilitate environmentally responsible economic growth.
Permits inform the permittee of legally enforceable conditions for operation, as well as reporting requirements, pollution monitoring, and testing requirements. The permit process also informs Michigan citizens of proposed activities affecting the environmental quality of their community. Environmental permits are key to reducing industry’s environmental impacts, facilitating compliance with environmental requirements and promoting technological innovation.
NEW BUSINESS AND PERMIT COORDINATION
Environmental Permit Information Checklists:
Perform an initial evaluation with the EGLE Permit Information Checklist. The checklist contains “yes” and “no” questions to help identify the types of activities at the proposed facility that require permits from EGLE.
Sector Permit Checklists: If your business is specific to the following operations, please utilize the checklist below.
EGLE has developed this Guide to Environmental Regulations to assist Michigan's business, industry, and local governments in navigating the maze of environmental obligations they face. It includes a self-assessment tool that can help identify the regulations that may pertain to your business/operation.
If you have any questions, contact the Environmental Assistance Center at EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov or 800-662-9278 to be connected to a program specialist or the Permit Coordination program.
Below is an overview of the most common permits and licenses administered by EGLE. This is not inclusive of all individual permits or licenses provided by EGLE.
Laws typically provide parties with the opportunity to administratively challenge EGLE's permit decisions. The following describes remedies available to the permit applicant, as well as third parties, that have suffered or could suffer an injury as a result of the decision.
Permit Applicant Review
If a permit applicant is having a dispute with EGLE during the application process, they can petition the EGLE Director to intervene. If the Director cannot resolve the issue, then the Director selects and convenes a three-member panel that meets with the applicant and EGLE staff. The panel provides a recommendation back to the Director. For more information, go to the Environmental Permit Review Commission Web site.
A number of regulatory programs administered by EGLE provide the right to a contested case hearing. A person with standing, including the permit applicant, can contest a permit decision made by EGLE. For more information about filing a petition for a contested case, go to the Administrative Procedures Web site.
For information about submitting a petition for review of a final decision of a contest case, go to the Environmental Permit Review Commission Web site.
EGLE Permits at a Glance
EGLE’s Air Quality Division (AQD) administers two separate, but related, permitting programs: the New Source Review program and the Renewable Operating Permit Program. Air permits like these are requested by a company wanting to operate processes that would emit air contaminants in Michigan. Air permits limit emissions to levels designed to be protective of public health and the environment.
Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of 1994, as amended, authorizes EGLE to establish standards for ambient air quality and rules for emissions of air contaminants, and to issue permits prior to construction of subject facilities. This is done under Rule 201 of the Michigan Air Pollution Control Rules, which requires a person to obtain an air permit for any potential source of air pollution unless the source is exempt from the permitting process. An air permit or Permit to Install (PTI) is the legally enforceable document used to specify the emission limitations, standards, and other regulatory requirements applicable to an individual facility. An air permit authorizes the construction, installation, relocation, reconstruction, or modification of a process emitting air contaminants, in agreement with EGLE's AQD. Does your business have paint or other coating application booths, storage tanks, printing presses, boilers, soil remediation projects, plating operations, degreasers, ovens, or any other process that may emit air pollution? If so, your facility may need to complete an Air Use Permit application to request a PTI.
Title V of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments requires each state to implement such a program. The ROP is intended to consolidate all state and federal air quality requirements into one document. Thus, all a facility’s PTI’s, along with all other applicable air pollution control requirements, will be incorporated into one permit. An ROP is valid for five years and then it must be renewed. Not all facilities are subject to the ROP program. Only major sources of air emissions must apply. A major source is a facility that has the potential to emit air contaminants above the specific emission thresholds.
Opting Out of the ROP Program: Since the major source determination for the ROP program is based on potential to emit instead of actual emissions, many facilities operating only a few emission units could fit into the major source category. These facilities can avoid the ROP program by obtaining legally enforceable limits that reduce their facility’s potential to emit below the ROP major source thresholds.
Incorporating Permit Conditions into ROP: If a facility becomes a major source under the ROP program, it still must obtain a PTI before installing, constructing, modifying, or relocating equipment. For facilities subject to the ROP program, the AQD will incorporate PTI conditions into the ROP after the PTI is issued.
These permits have more stringent recordkeeping and reporting requirements than facilities not subject to Title V. Title V sources also pay an annual air emission fee and are required to report their emissions annual through an electronic reporting system. .
Electric generating units (EGUs) which sell electricity to the grid and burn fossil fuel may be required to obtain and operate in compliance with an Acid Rain Permit, pursuant to Title IV of the federal Clean Air Act of 1990. EGUs with a nameplate capacity of less than 25 MW and burn a fuel with an annual average sulfur content of less than 0.05% are exempt from Title IV. Those units that are subject to Title IV are required to submit an Acid Rain Permit application 24 months before the EGU commences operation.
Michigan's Public Health Code, 1978 PA 368, as amended (the Act), and the administrative rules adopted pursuant to the Act establish the requirements for building and operating a campground. A license from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is required to operate a campground in the State of Michigan. The Campground Program may be reached at 517-282-4032.
The Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division (DWEHD), within the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (EGLE), has responsibility for issuing construction permits for public water supply under the authority of Public Act 399 of 1976, as amended. A public water supply must submit plans and specifications and obtain a construction permit before commencing construction of a waterworks system or an alteration, addition or improvement to a system. Community public water supplies must submit plans prepared by a licensed professional engineer to the appropriate EGLE district office. Permitting authority for non-community water supplies has been designated to local health departments in many areas of the state.
Part 353, Sand Dunes Protection and Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), 1994 PA 451 as amended, requires a permit for those activities which significantly alter the physical characteristics of a CDA or for a contour change in a CDA. A few examples of activities where permit applications are typically required are the construction of a house or garage, building a road or driveway, installing a septic system, installing retaining walls, and sand removal to name a few. The application for a permit requires a fee of between $150 and $4000.
Part 323, Shorelands Protection and Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 Public Act 451, as amended is the key state statute providing consumer protection from the natural hazards of coastal erosion and flooding as well as environmental protection of our fragile coastal areas. Part 323 is closely integrated with Part 325, the Great Lakes Submerged Lands, Part 353, Sand Dunes Protection and Management, and the Coastal Management Program which provides grants to state and local units of government.
Permits are required from both EGLE and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) prior to placement of any shore protection.
Michigan's Submerged Lands Program is responsible for regulating construction activities along 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and over 38,000 square miles of Great Lakes bottomlands, including coastal marshes. The program regulates the recovery and use of submerged cultural resources (shipwrecks and associated artifacts) located in the Great Lakes, administers the underwater preserve program, and as of July 21, 2000, is responsible for regulating the recovery of submerged logs from Great Lake bottomlands under Part 326, Great Lakes Submerged Logs Recovery, of the NREPA. The State of Michigan is trustee of the bottomlands and waters of the Great Lakes and has a perpetual duty to manage these resources for the benefit of its citizens.
Part 339, Control of Certain State Lands, of the NREPA (formerly the St. Clair Flats Act, PA 326 of 1913 as amended), authorizes EGLE to lease certain bottomlands on and around Harsens Island at the mouth of the St. Clair River in Lake St. Clair for residential purposes. The Flats is a large coastal marsh that provides critical habitat for migratory waterfowl, wading birds, sport and forage fish, muskrats and other aquatic life.
The St. Clair Flats Management Plan was developed to provide a sound basis for future management decisions concerning the protection of this unique area for the benefit of the general public. A second objective of the plan is to provide greater certainty to leaseholders that the State is committed to honoring the leases entered into good faith by private individuals. The Management Plan also provides incentives so that developed structures will be well maintained and proper sanitary facilities will be installed.
EGLE conducts the same public trust review before issuing deeds and construction permits for these bottomlands in the Flats as required under Part 325 of the NREPA.
Part 637: Sand Dune Mining, is administered by the Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division (OGMD) and is the principle regulation for sand dune mines within designated areas up to two miles inland from Great Lake shorelines. The Statute establishes requirements for permitting, reporting, and reclamation of sand dune mines.
Regulated by Part 632: Nonferrous Metallic Mining, nonferrous minerals are important economic minerals such as copper, nickel, zinc, gold, and silver. Some of these metals are very important globally for manufacturing, including production of green technologies such as electric vehicles and emission control catalysts. Part 632: Nonferrous Metallic Mining provides a sound regulatory framework for construction, operation, and reclamation of mining operations required for the safe and environmentally sustainable extraction of these metallic minerals. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division (OGMD) implements Part 632. The nonferrous metallic mining industry is also regulated by other environmental statutes and divisions within the EGLE such as Air Quality Division and Water Resources Division.
Regulated by Part 631: Ferrous Mining, ferrous or iron containing minerals are used in common manufactured products. Michigan’s iron bearing formations have long been sources of these important minerals. The OGMD administers Part 631: Ferrous Mining, and oversees mine operation, environmental issues, and reclamation. Like nonferrous metallic mining, other divisions of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy are involved in permitting and regulation of Michigan’s iron mining industry.
The Drinking Water and Environmental Health Section of EGLE has the responsibility for issuing construction permits for public swimming pools (including spas, leisure pools, activity pools, water slide pools, and lazy rivers). A construction permit must be obtained prior to any construction for a new public swimming pool or modification of an existing public swimming pool.
Although aquatic plants are a natural component of every aquatic ecosystem, excessive plant growth can sometimes be a nuisance for riparian property owners and other lake users. EGLE's Water Resources Division has the responsibility for issuing permits for the application of pesticides in waters of the state to control aquatic nuisances. The purpose of the permit is to regulate aquatic nuisance control projects so that such work will be conducted during certain times, under certain conditions, and with safeguards as are necessary to protect the public health, welfare, and trust in the aquatic environment.
Onsite Wastewater (Septic Systems)
The Onsite Wastewater Program is a required service for local health departments under Michigan’s Public Health Code, Act 368 of 1978. The State of Michigan contracts annually with local health departments and provides contract oversight through the Michigan Local Public Health Accreditation Program. EGLE offers assistance and training to local health departments in the review and approval of land developments utilizing onsite wastewater systems and/or large capacity onsite systems discharging up to 10,000 gallons per day.
The licensing and handling of domestic Septage is regulated under 2004 Public Act 381, which amended Part 117, Septage Waste Servicers, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. EGLE's Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division administers the Septage program with the assistance of participating county health departments.
Construction activities which disturb one or more acres of land and have a point source discharge of storm water to waters of the state (streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands) are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit from EGLE's Water Resources Division (WRD).
The WRD has adopted a process called "Permit-by Rule" (Rule 2190, promulgated under Part 31, NREPA) for issuing the necessary storm water coverage. Permit-by Rule "streamlines" the permitting process and is dependent upon the applicant first obtaining Part 91 coverage, i.e., obtaining an SESC permit from the appropriate Part 91 permitting agency or being designated an APA.
For sites disturbing one to five acres, the applicant/permittee receives automatic storm water coverage upon the applicant obtaining a Part 91 permit (or undertaking the project as an APA). Although the coverage is automatic, the permittee must comply with the requirements of Permit by Rule.
For sites disturbing five or more acres, the applicant/permittee must obtain a Part 91 permit (or undertake the project as an APA) and submit an application for Notice of coverage (NOC) to the WRD. Along with the NOC application, the applicant/permittee must submit a copy of the SESC permit, approved SESC plan, site location map, and the $400 permit fee.
The permittee must follow the requirements of Permit by Rule. Permit-by Rule requires compliance with the SESC permit issued under Part 91 and also requires SESC measures to be inspected weekly and within 24 hours of a significant rain event by a certified storm water operator. The certification materials and testing are available in most WRD district office.
As a result of the federal regulations governing storm water discharges, the State of Michigan began issuing permit coverage in 1994. There are three types of permits available in Michigan:
- General permit
- General permit with monitoring requirements
- Site-specific individual permit
Storm water discharges from a regulated MS4 to a surface water of the State in an urbanized area are subject to regulation under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. MS4 permittees generally include the following municipal entities: cities, townships, villages, county agencies, universities, and school districts. The Department completed maps to identify MS4s located in an urbanized area that may require coverage under an MS4 permit. The current general MS4 permits are available below.
Waste and Materials Management
The Materials Management Division within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has responsibility for reviewing hazardous waste and liquid industrial by-product transporter applications under the authority of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, 138 of 1998. The purpose of the permitting and registration is to protect public health, welfare, and the environment.
EGLE's Materials Management Division has responsibility for reviewing hazardous waste facility construction and operating license applications under the authority of Part 111 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. The purpose of the licensing is to regulate the design, installation, operation, and maintenance of hazardous waste facilities. The licenses are designed to protect public health, welfare, and the environment.
Solid Waste Disposal Facility Construction Permit
EGLE's Materials Management Division also has responsibility for reviewing solid waste disposal construction permit applications under the authority of Part 115 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. The purpose of this permit is to regulate the operation and maintenance of solid waste disposal areas to protect public health, welfare, and the environment.
The Groundwater Program regulates discharge to groundwater under Part 31, Water Resources Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451 and Part 22 Rules. Groundwater staff review applications for authorizations to discharge wastes and wastewaters to the ground or groundwaters of the state. Authorizations include permits, self-certifications, and exemptions. Upon completion of an application review, staff make recommendations leading to the determination of appropriate action including issuance or denial of an authorization to discharge.
The Water Resources Division has responsibility for processing Wastewater Construction Permit Applications under the authority of Part 41, Sewerage Systems, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. The purpose of this permit is to ensure that plans and specifications for wastewater facilities are complete with regard to the minimum requirements and that the proposed construction is acceptable with regard to accepted design standards for wastewater facilities to protect the public health and the environment. The permit application has been incorporated into the MiWaters system.
Water quality protection has been a long-standing concern in Michigan. The purpose of the NPDES program administered by EGLE's Water Resources Division, is to control the discharge of pollutants into surface waters by imposing effluent limitations to protect the environment.
Pollutants in industrial wastewater may compromise municipal treatment plant processes or contaminate waters of the state. To protect municipal treatment plants and the environment, the Pretreatment Program requires industrial dischargers to use treatment techniques and management practices to reduce or eliminate the discharge of harmful pollutants to sanitary sewers. The Pretreatment Program is a core part of the Clean Water Act's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).EGLE's Water Resources Division regulates the application of biosolids, which are nutrient-rich organic materials, which remain following the treatment of domestic sewage at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Biosolids undergo additional treatment processes to stabilize the materials and kill pathogens prior to being utilized as a soil amendment and conditioner. Biosolids are typically beneficially used on agriculture land, although under certain conditions biosolids can be used on forest lands, reclamation sites and public use sites. Depending on the treatment process, they come in various forms, such as: liquid, slurry, composted materials, or dried pellets.
EGLE's Water Resources Division (WRD) is responsible for the permitting process regulating new or increased large quantity water withdrawals over an established baseline capacity under the authority of Part 327, Great Lakes Preservation, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA). The purpose of this permit is to manage, protect, and conserve the waters of the state for the public trust, interest, and riparian rights.
Wetlands, Lakes, and Streams
Although aquatic plants are a natural component of every aquatic ecosystem, excessive plant growth can sometimes be a nuisance for riparian property owners and other lake users.
According to Part 303, Wetlands Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, a the following activities in a wetland require a permit form EGLE:
- Deposit or placing of fill material (Examples: bulldozing, grading, dumping)
- Dredge and removal of soil or minerals (Examples: removing tree stumps, bulldozing, digging a pond)
- Construction, operation or maintained use or development (Examples: building construction, boardwalks, peat mining, water treatment)
- Drainage of surface water (Examples: diverting water to another area with a ditch, pump, or drain)
The Joint Permit Application (JPA) is for construction activities where the land meets the water covering permit requirements derived from state and federal rules and regulations. The JPA operates under three-tiers of permitting categories for regulated activities under NRPEPA Parts 301, 303, and 325. Additional categories also exist for floodplains under the authority of Part 31. The permit category you apply under is dependent on the type and scope of activities you are undertaking. These categories generally meet specific Best Management Practices criteria that have been shown to minimize impacts to these resources if followed correctly. These categories are updated at minimum every five years to incorporate new technologies and science as well as the needs of the public and program stakeholders. While these categories represent activities that typically require minimal review if criteria are met, they do not define projects that necessarily will be issued.The choices of permit application categories for the Joint Permit Application are: