A permit for emissions is required before any installation begins. Failure to apply for, or being late in filing for and receiving, a "permit to operate an air contaminant source" can cause delays in installing and operating the equipment. The permit to operate is needed before the equipment can be used, and often before installation and assembly can begin. The application forms are usually complicated and, when completed, the application is subject to administrative review before approval.
The agency that develops regulations for environmental emissions is the federal Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. The review is conducted by and the permit issued through its state agency, known as the Department of Environmental Quality, which will conduct a review to predict the level of pollutants the booth will emit.
The EPA has no jurisdiction over actual booth design. It regulates the allowable amount of toxic material in exhaust stack emissions, liquid and solid waste streams.
Regarding spray booths, its standards place limitations on the amount of toxic material in the form of solvent vapor, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), entering the environment through the booth exhaust stack. A spray booth is not an emission control device; instead, it is designed to collect solid particulate only, not solvent vapors.
If the predicted level of emissions is acceptable, the state agency will issue a permit to operate an air contaminant source. If the pollutant level is unacceptable, the agency may deny the permit, require the use of exhaust air treatment equipment, or require the use of a different coating material.
To comply with EPA requirements, exhaust air may need to be treated with equipment installed outside the spray booth. Carbon adsorption systems, or incineration systems, for example, are acceptable methods for collecting VOCs.