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Construction Permits

The Construction Permits Section is responsible for the review and approval of all pre-construction air permitting in Iowa with the exception of Linn and Polk counties where local air programs are present.

New facilities must be designed to meet emissions standards and not result in a violation of ambient air quality standards. Facilities meeting state and federal requirements are issued construction permits which also include operating requirements to assure continued compliance.

More detailed analyses are required for large and complex projects. Under the federal Clean Air Act, this includes those that involve Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), Major Source Non-Attainment Area permitting and State Implementation Plan (SIP) maintenance areas. Other sources would include facilities requesting limits to avoid regulations under these programs and brand new (Greenfield) facilities, etc. A more detailed analysis is required because of the impact large emission sources can have on a region.

The Iowa DNR strongly encourages pre-application meetings in order to facilitate review and permitting of these large and complex projects. When both parties have clear expectations, the permitting process tends to be smoother. The DNR cannot assure how quickly that projects submitted without this prior coordination can be reviewed or permitted. Please review the guidance materials below for the type of project your facility will be proposing. If you are unsure what applies to you, or simply need help with the construction permitting process, call 1-877-AIR-IOWA (1-877-247-4692).

Construction Permitting Performance Metrics

Construction Permitting Fact Sheet |

The Air Quality Bureau Construction Permit Section tracks data on the section's productivity and efficiency. This summary is designed to assist applicants as they prepare to submit an application. The information includes the number of projects or applications that the section is currently reviewing, and the average lead times for application review.

Other metrics can be found on the Environmental Services Dashboard.

Projects In-House
This graph provides an overview of all current in-house applications (or projects), and the applications that are received and issued each month. All applications are included in this tracking regardless of the type of review required. Projects are considered in-house from the date DNR receives them until the date the project is completed or issued.

Standard Projects
Most projects the Construction Permit Section reviews are standard projects. These application reviews do not trigger the more complex review needed due to specific air quality regulations or nearby existing air quality concerns.

This graph has two lines. The first line represents each month’s average lead time. The other represents the past 52-week average lead time for completing projects in this category.

The section’s goal is to issue all standard projects within 30 days of receiving the application.

PSD/NA NSR Complex Projects
Complex projects are projects that trigger review under the Major Source New Source Review (NSR) provisions of the air quality rules. This includes both the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Non-Attainment New Source Review (NA NSR) programs.

The line on this graph represents the past 52-week average lead time needed to complete projects in this category.

Complex projects require more time to review. These projects are complex because they trigger specific federal air quality rules, or they are proposed in areas where there are already concerns about air quality. The section’s goal is to issue all PSD/NA NSR Complex projects with 180 days of receiving the application.