Business Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Small Business Assistance


How can I contact an SCAQMD Small Business Assistance staff member?

E-mail – smallbizassistance@aqmd.gov
Phone  – 1-800-CUT-SMOG (288-7664)
            – 909-396-3529
Fax       – 909-396-3335


How can I comment on proposed SCAQMD rules and regulations that affect my business?

SCAQMD is responsible for controlling emissions primarily from stationary sources of air pollution. SCAQMD staff drafts plans and regulations that are meant to provide healthy air quality levels throughout the region.  The SCAQMD Governing Board adopts these plans and regulations and then submits them to the California Air Resources Board Link to external website. and Federal EPA Link to external website. for approval.  There are two stages for an interested party to comment on proposed plans, rules, and regulations before they are approved by the board.  First, Public Workshops are held weeks before a Governing Board meeting to discuss newly proposed rules and policies.  Attendance at these meetings can help you to learn more about the new rules and help guide their final implementation.  Second, you can request to testify at Governing Board Meetings, where the decisions are made on whether or not to adopt new regulations at a Public Hearing.

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How can I find out which rules apply to my particular business or equipment in the South Coast region?

SCAQMD has created rules for specific industries such as Wood Coating Operations, (PDF,58kb) Graphic Arts Operations, (PDF, 363kb) or Auto Body Shops, (PDF, 96kb) where equipment and other related operations have known air pollution concerns.  These “Source Specific” rules are listed by industry and/or application in Regulation XI (Rules 1101-1196).  In addition to the Source Specific rules, there are also New Source Review requirementsgeneral Prohibitory requirements, and Toxic and Other Non-Criteria Pollutant requirements.  For assistance with any of these rules and regulations, we recommend you contact a Small Business Assistance staff member.

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I have received a Notice of Violation/Notice to Comply.  What do I need to do?

You should start making corrective action to your best ability as described in the notice.  If you are not clear on any issue and need additional assistance, contact a Small Business Assistance staff member

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What can I do to give me some time while I find a solution to the problem?

There may be good reasons why a business cannot immediately comply with air pollution control laws. A variance allows a company to continue operating temporarily not in compliance with AQMD rules without penalty while it takes appropriate steps to meet air pollution control requirements. Variances can be granted only by the SCAQMD Hearing Board. Small Business Assistance staff can help prepare variance petition filings with the Hearing Board. For further information, contact a Small Business Assistance staff member. 

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The city is requiring “clearance” from the SCAQMD, what do I need to do?

Download and complete an Air Quality Permit Checklist (PDF, 17kb).  This checklist contains equipment and operations that typically require an SCAQMD permit.  If the answer to both questions is “NO”, then the completed checklist serves as “clearance” from the SCAQMD.  If the answer to any of the questions is “YES”, contact a Small Business Assistance staff to provide further assistance.  This does not mean permits are required for your business since your equipment or operations may be exempt from permits. 

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Do I need to file a permit for my equipment?

Any equipment that emits or controls air contaminants (such as nitrogen oxides or reactive organic gases) requires a permit from SCAQMD prior to construction, installation, or operation unless it is specifically exempted from the permit requirement by SCAQMD Rule 219 (Equipment Not Requiring a Written Permit) (PDF, 112kb). It is good practice to apply for and receive a permit before purchasing new equipment in order to know exactly what the permit conditions and other requirements will be before construction, installation, and operation begin. 

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What should I do if I no longer plan on using equipment for which I have a permit?

Although there is no formal process to surrender a permit to SCAQMD, a note can be returned with your annual renewal statement to SCAQMD’s Customer Services department indicating that the equipment is no longer in use.  Otherwise, a permit will automatically expire after the annual renewal fee is not paid.  However, if you are planning to transfer ownership of your business, do not let the permits expire, as the new owner will need to submit applications for new permits, which will likely result in higher costs and possibly additional control equipment requirements. 

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Are there any air quality training classes that I can take that will help me learn how to keep my business compliant?  How do I sign up?

Experienced SCAQMD inspectors teach classes that promote compliance with sets of source-specific SCAQMD rules.  A schedule of classes can be found at the following link

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I am not sure my business is in compliance. How can I get help?

AQMD Small Business Assistance staff are available to give free on-site technical consultations.  These experienced staff will inspect equipment and operations and review recordkeeping material.  These staff will not issue any tickets nor impose any fines for violations encountered during these visits.  To be eligible for a free consultation, we only ask that the business agree to correct any violation that is found. 

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I believe the AQMD has made a mistake in my billing.  What should I do?

If there is a problem or concern with your billing, we recommend that you pay the balance due on the statement.  If a billing statement is not paid, your business may risk letting your permits expire.  You may also contact a Small Business Assistance staff to see if the problem can be resolved in a timely manner. Another option to resolve billing disputes is the Fee Review Committee.  Businesses may submit a Fee Review request form (PDF, 13kb) along with any supporting information regarding the dispute.  The Fee Review Committee reviews each case for any District error.  However, the Committee cannot change any existing SCAQMD Rule or Regulation. 

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I have SCAQMD fees that are due, but I do not have enough money to pay for them.  What should I do?

The Fee Review Committee can arrange for payment plans in cases where a company cannot pay for application filing fees or annual fees.  Businesses may submit a Fee Review request form (PDF, 13kb) along with the most recent bank statements to request a payment plan.  The businesses must show a financial need for such a payment plan before the case is approved. 

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