Air Compliance

Installing New Emergency Generators or Other Fuel-Burning Equipment

We must carefully consider how any new sources or changes to our existing air emissions sources will affect our permit compliance at any of the UConn campuses.

For further information, please contact EHS at (860) 486-8148 or email jennifer.m.williams@uconn.edu.

Storrs Campus Title V Permit

UConn’s Storrs Campus is a Title V air-permitted source.

This means that UConn has a campus-wide permit from the CTDEEP that specifically names every source of regulated air pollutants and their applicable regulatory requirements. A copy of UConn’s Title V permit is available here.

Nearly all of our air emissions sources are fuel-burning equipment used to provide heat, steam, hot water or electricity to the buildings on campus. The equipment ranges in size from large industrial boilers and gas turbines to residential-type water heaters. We must carefully consider how any new air emissions sources or changes to our existing air emissions sources will affect our permit compliance.

For further information, please contact EHS at (860) 486-8148 or email jennifer.m.williams@uconn.edu.

Air Emissions Overview

UConn tracks the quantity of pollutants emitted into the air at the Storrs Campus. This task is accomplished largely by tracking the daily fuel usage or amount of time that our equipment is operating. Each month we calculate pollutant emissions based on fuel usage or operating hours from the previous month.

UConn reports emissions for the previous calendar year to CTDEEP by March 1st each year. An example of the calculated campus-wide total emissions looks like this:

…more on Air Pollutant Sources and Emissions at UConn

The Storrs Campus Title V permit accounts for all fuel burning equipment and other applicable emission units on campus. Examples of emissions sources at UConn Storrs include emergency generators, chiller engines, boilers, heaters and combustion turbines.

We record daily operating hours or daily fuel consumption for each unit, depending on the type of equipment. Monthly, the recorded information is consolidated and pollutant emissions are calculated to provide a 12-month rolling total (i.e. January – December, February – January, March – February, etc.) estimated summary of emissions from the campus.

The pollutants covered by our Title V permit are Nitrogen Oxides (NOX), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Sulfur Oxides (SOX), Particulate Matter (PM) and other Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). The Storrs Campus is a “major source” according to the air regulations for each pollutant except HAPs.

UConn produces most of the energy it uses at the Storrs campus, in the form of electricity, steam and chilled water all generated onsite. Major fuel burning equipment at the campus includes one permitted and four registered boilers, four chiller engines, two diesel-fired emergency engines, and a diesel-fired black-start emergency generator at the Central Utility Plant. Adjacent to the Central Utility Plant is UConn’s Cogeneration facility, which has three permitted combustion turbines, each with a corresponding duct burner. The black-start generator at the Central Utility Plant provides emergency power to the Cogeneration facility itself if needed. A separate South Campus Chiller Plant serves the south section of campus and includes one natural gas-fired chiller engine and one diesel-fired emergency engine.

Several other emergency engines throughout campus either have individual operating permits or operate under the general conditions of the Connecticut air regulations.

Ozone Season Air Quality Compliance

Ozone season in Connecticut begins on May 1st and continues through September 30th. Fuel-burning equipment such as emergency generators are high-emitters of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxides emissions, in certain weather conditions, lead to the formation of ground-level ozone, which is the primary cause of smog. When hot temperatures and sustained sunlight cause a buildup of ground-level ozone, the Connecticut air regulations restrict the non-emergency operation of emergency engines in order to prevent the worsening of air quality since poor air quality may cause sensitive individuals to have difficulty breathing.

During the ozone season routine testing and exercising of emergency engines must not be performed without first checking the CTDEEP’s ozone forecast for the day. Visit this link and click on “Forecast for the Regulated Community” to learn whether there are forecast-dependent operating restrictions in place for the day.

Any time there is an ozone-alert, EHS sends out an email notification to a distribution list of UConn employees who need this information. If you are not on this distribution list and would like to be, please contact Jennifer Williams at (860) 486-8148 or jennifer.m.williams@uconn.edu.

Depot Campus Compliance

Although it is much smaller and has fewer air emissions sources than the Storrs Campus, UConn’s Depot Campus, located on Route 44 in Mansfield Depot, has a number of emergency generators, small boilers, furnaces, water heaters and rooftop HVAC units. Because of the high potential emissions as compared with the campus’ relatively low actual emissions, the Depot Campus operates under the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA) §22a-174-33a, which is a replacement regulation for Connecticut’s now-expired General Permit to Limit the Potential to Emit (GPLPE).

The GPLPE expired in November 2020. At that point, UConn submitted a notification to the CTDEEP of its intention to operate the sources at Depot Campus in a “permit-by-rule” manner. UConn complies with all the requirements in RCSA §22a-174-33a.

CTDEEP Air Permitting

There are two types of air permitting in Connecticut – equipment-level and facility-level.

  • Individual pieces of equipment require permitting under Connecticut’s New Source Review program if its potential emissions of any regulated pollutant are 15 tons per year or greater.
  • If total potential emissions from all individual sources at a facility (like Storrs Campus or Depot Campus) are greater than the “major source thresholds,” the facility is considered a major source subject to Title V permitting. The Storrs Campus is covered under a Title V permit.
  • A facility – such as Depot Campus – that has potential emissions above the major source thresholds but actual emissions below the major source thresholds is eligible to cap its emissions through ‘permit-by-rule’ by complying with RCSA §22a-174-33a.

For more information on Connecticut’s air permitting programs, visit the CTDEEP’s Air Permitting webpage.