Gasoline Dispensing Facilities

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of a Gasoline Dispensing Facility (GDF)?
Rule 461 defines “Gasoline Transfer and Dispensing Facility” as a stationary facility, consisting of one or more storage tanks and associated equipment, which receive, store, and dispense gasoline. Note that ethanol (E-85) is covered under the Rule 461 definition of “gasoline” and therefore facilities that receive, store, and dispense E-85 are required to have a Permit to Operate.

Is equipment that receives, stores, and dispenses diesel subject to Rule 461 or required to have a Permit to Operate?
Diesel is not covered under the Rule 461 definition of “gasoline” and therefore Rule 461 does not apply to equipment that receives, stores, and dispenses diesel. Additionally, per Rule 219, a Permit to Operate is not required for equipment with a capacity of less than 40,000 gallons used exclusively for the storage and/or dispensing of diesel.

What rules govern the permitting of GDFs?
During the permitting process, each GDF at a minimum is evaluated for compliance with the following South Coast AQMD rules:

GDFs are also subject to other South Coast AQMD rules, such as 201, 203, 1166, and 1170.

When must I apply for a Permit to Operate a GDF?

The owner/operator of a GDF must apply for a Permit to Operate prior to constructing and installing a new GDF or modifying an existing GDF. Installation of a new GDF or modification of an existing GDF without first obtaining a Permit to Construct or a Permit to Operate is subject to enforcement action.

What is the South Coast AQMD permitting process for a GDF?
Upon receipt of an application for a Permit to Construct or operate a GDF, the application package is checked for initial completeness. This includes a check that Forms 400-A, 400-CEQA, 400-PS, and 400-E-11 are attached with owner/operator signatures, and that correct fees have been submitted. An application package that passes the initial completeness check is then assigned to an engineer for evaluation. (For reasons why an application may be rejected, see What are the reasons my GDF permit application may be rejected?) The assigned engineer may reach out to the owner/operator or authorized representative for clarifying or additional information. When the engineer finishes their evaluation, the application package is then reviewed by a supervisory engineer. If additional evaluation is needed, the engineer may reach out to the owner/operator or authorized representative for more information. When the engineering evaluation is complete, the supervisory engineer approves the application. If a public notice is required, the manager reviews the notice and accompanying documents and signs any public notice letters, which are then transmitted to the owner/operator or authorized representative for distribution. Upon successful completion of the public noticing requirements, or if no public notice is required, a permit is issued and a physical copy is mailed within two weeks to the owner/operator address listed on Form 400-A.

With rare exception, South Coast AQMD now permits GDFs via the two-step permitting process: a Permit to Construct is issued followed by verification/confirmation of the required vapor recovery test results before a Permit to Operate is issued.

Permits to Construct must be obtained prior to modification of existing equipment or installation of new equipment and are valid for one year. An extension may be granted if owner/operator submits a written request prior to permit expiration, including reasons for extension request. To avoid enforcement action, if a Permit to Construct has expired and owner/operator wishes to continue with construction, owner/operator must submit a new permit application for:

  • An administrative change [Rule 301 (c)(1)(A)(iv)], if the permit expired less than a year ago; or

  • A new installation/modification, if the permit expired more than a year ago.

If I operate an existing GDF that dispenses only gasoline and I would like to add E-85 equipment, will that affect how much gasoline I can dispense?
In some cases, an existing GDF that dispenses only gasoline may need to reduce permitted gasoline throughput to allow for the desired E-85 throughput to remain within certain emission or health risk regulatory thresholds. This analysis should by done by the owner/operator prior to submitting permit applications.

Does the California Air Resources Board (CARB) limit the amount of E-85 throughput that can be permitted?
Yes. CARB has issued Executive Orders VR-101 and VR-102 that limit dispensing of E-85 fuel to 100,000 gallons per month.

How does South Coast AQMD define “modification” of a GDF?
Either of the following is considered a major modification as defined by CARB Vapor Recovery Definitions and requires submittal of an application to modify the equipment:

  • Modification of the Phase I system that involves the addition, replacement, or removal of an underground storage tank, or modification that causes the tank top to be unburied, is considered a major modification of the Phase I system.

  • Modification of the Phase II system that involves the addition, replacement or removal of 50 percent or more of the buried vapor piping, or 50 percent or more replacement of dispensers, is considered a major modification of the Phase II system.

Note that a modification application is not required to replace components certified under the CARB Executive Order specified in a GDF’s current valid permit (e.g., switching the In-Station Diagnostic console system or tank monitoring system from TLS 350 to TLS 450).

Must I apply for a permit to modify my GDF if the modification is not defined as a major modification?
Depending on the extent of the modification, a permit application may be required to modify your GDF equipment. For instance, Rule 461(b)(1) defines an Altered Gasoline Transfer and Dispensing Facility as a GDF with any of the following:

  • The removal or addition of storage tank(s), or changes in the number of fueling positions.

  • The replacement of storage tank(s), dispensing nozzle(s) or other equipment with different characteristics or descriptions from those specified on the existing permit.

The above-described alterations and other modifications to the equipment description on a current permit, such as changing the referenced CARB Executive Order, must first be approved by permit and therefore require submittal of an application to modify the equipment.

How do I apply for installation of a new GDF or modification of an existing GDF?
An application to install a new GDF or modify an existing GDF requires submittal of an application form & supplemental forms, and the applicable permit processing fees. Submit the following forms either by mail with accompanying fee payment to 21865 Copley Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765 - ATTN: Permit Services, or by email to and include a copy of the payment confirmation receipt:

  • 400-A (Application Form for Permit or Plan Approval)

  • 400-CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act Applicability)

  • 400-PS (Plot Plan and Stack Information Form) – stack information not needed

    • Must attach site plans/drawings

  • 400-E-11 (Fuel Dispensing and Storage Equipment)

If you have any questions while completing a permit application, please call the General Commercial Permit Team Phone Number at (909) 396-3396. Pre-application meetings may identify and resolve several issues prior to the permitting process. In-person or remote meetings can be scheduled to answer questions. A complete permit application package will lessen delays caused by information requests. For general information regarding application completeness, visit the List and Criteria for determining whether applications for future projects are complete.

Does a GDF that dispenses gasoline and E-85 require operating permits for each type of fuel?
Yes. Gasoline and E-85 storage and dispensing equipment are considered separate permit units. An owner/operator must apply separately for each type of fuel dispensing equipment.

What is the current GDF permit processing fee?
GDFs fall under the Schedule A fees of Rule 301, TABLE FEE RATE-A.

Each type of permitted equipment is subject to a permitting fee. These fees are typically updated on July 1 every year.

How can I pay the permit application fee?
There are two ways to pay the permit application fee:

  1. If you submit the application by mail, include a check with your submittal (payable to South Coast AQMD).

  2. If you submit the application by email, visit Online Fee Payments, select Permit Application Processing Fee Portal, make the payment, and include a copy of the payment confirmation receipt with your email submittal.

What are the reasons my GDF permit application may be rejected?
An application will be rejected for any of the following reasons:

  • Failure of owner/operator to sign Forms 400-A or 400-CEQA (consultant or other “authorized” party cannot sign for owner/operator unless notarized service agreement accompanies application package).

  • Failure of owner/operator to pay appropriate application processing fees or failure to submit evidence of such payment.

  • Failure of owner/operator or authorized representative to submit sufficient information to evaluate the permit application.

What do I do if my GDF permit application is rejected?
When a permit application is rejected, the entire package is returned by mail to the mailing address listed on the application Form 400-A. The deficiencies and reasons for rejection will be identified in the accompanying cover letter. Any associated fees will automatically be refunded in approximately four weeks.

If the owner/operator wishes to proceed with the permit application, all deficient items must be addressed prior to resubmittal. The permit application package must be resubmitted to South Coast AQMD, along with proper fees, as described above.

What factors affect GDF permit processing timelines?
Although the majority of GDF permit applications are generally processed well before the Rule 210 regulatory timeline of 180 days, there are factors which may cause the need for additional processing time, such as:

  • Owner/operator changes project scope after permit applications are submitted. Note that changes may require new applications to be submitted which may restart permit processing timelines.

  • Owner/operator is not timely with responses to additional information requests.

  • Owner/operator fails to include site plan with Form 400-PS (stack information not needed).

  • Owner/operator fails to identify nearby schools on Form 400-A and sensitive receptors on Form 400-PS (stack information not needed).

  • Owner/operator fails to identify all gasoline and/or E-85 storage and dispensing equipment on Form 400-E-11 (South Coast AQMD requires complete forms to confirm that existing records comport to what exists on site at the time of application, therefore even if owner/operator seeks modification of a current permit, owner/operator must identify all gasoline and/or E-85 storage and dispensing equipment on Form 400-E-11; references such as “see current permit” are insufficient).

  • A Tier 4 Health Risk Assessment is required to establish a new or updated gasoline and/or E-85 throughput.

  • Rule 212 public notification is required due to school proximity and/or emissions of toxic air contaminants.

  • Emission reduction credits are required to comply with Regulation XIII - New Source Review requirements.

Could my permit application be denied?
Yes. Among other reasons, failure of owner/operator to promptly provide additional information will cause delays in permit processing and may result in permit denial.

Also, if staff determines the proposal will not comply with South Coast AQMD requirements, the permit application will be denied. Typically, staff makes multiple attempts to reach out and resolve these situations prior to permit denial. Written notice of the denial is required to be made to the permit applicant pursuant to Rule 214.

How can I track the status of my application?
Visit South Coast AQMD’s F.I.N.D. page and search by facility ID or application number.

How can I contact my permit engineer?
Visit South Coast AQMD’s F.I.N.D. page and search by facility ID or application number. The assigned permit engineer is listed in the application details on F.I.N.D. You may also visit the Team O Directory for the list of staff and contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses.

How can I stay up to date with issues related to GDF permits?
Visit South Coast AQMD’s Sign up page and select the Gasoline Dispensing Facility newsletter to receive periodic updates via Email.

Can I request to expedite my permit application?
Owner/operator may request express permit processing by submitting Form 400-XPP (Express Permit Processing Request) and paying for such processing at time of application submittal. Note that express permit processing:

  • neither guarantees action by any specific date nor guarantees permit approval;

  • is subject to availability of qualified staff; and

  • requires expedited fees and, once commenced, such fees will not be refunded.

Can a consultant or agent act on behalf of the owner/operator of the GDF?
Owner/operator may authorize a third party to represent them via notarized service agreement that accompanies application package. In addition, it is recommended that the owner/operator remain fully engaged during the entire permitting process.

Why was a throughput limit added to my GDF permit?
All GDF permits will include a monthly fuel throughput limit as required under Rule 1313(g). Exceedance of such limit can result in enforcement action.

Will I have a chance to review my GDF permit before it is finalized?

If you wish to review the sample permit prior to issuance, please check the box on Form 400-A requesting such. Staff will provide a copy for your review and a deadline to provide any comments or corrections. Upon receipt of the sample permit and to avoid enforcement action, owner/operator should ensure equipment description and referenced CARB Executive Orders match the proposed equipment. If after permit issuance the installed equipment differs from what is listed on the permit, a new permit application may be required.

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