What is a Breakdown?

A breakdown is defined as an unforeseeable failure or malfunction of equipment, air pollution control equipment, or related operating equipment which causes a violation of any rule, law, permit condition, or emission limitation; or any in-stack continuous emission monitoring (CEM) equipment failure or malfunction.

Breakdown/Title V Deviation Reporting Form

Why Should a Facility Call in a Breakdown?

The facility may qualify for relief from enforcement for up to 24 hours or the end of the production run, whichever is sooner.  CEM equipment breakdowns may qualify for up to 96 hours of relief.  If need be, the facility may apply for an emergency variance to give it more time to solve the problem causing the violation.

What Does a Facility Have to do to Receive Breakdown Relief?

To be eligible for breakdown relief, the following conditions must be met:

  • The facility must notify the District of the breakdown by telephone, fax, or email within one hour after its detection.
  • The notification must include:
    • The time of discovery
    • If known, the start time of the breakdown condition
    • Specific location
    • Equipment involved
    • Cause of the occurrence (to the extent known at the time of notification)
  • The breakdown or failure must not be the result of neglect or disregard of any rule or regulation.
  • The breakdown must not be the result of improper maintenance or operator error.
  • The condition cannot create a nuisance.
  • The breakdown or failure must not be of a recurrent nature.

Note: A breakdown does not need to be reported unless a District rule or permit condition will be violated as a result of the incident.

Who Determines Whether or Not a Breakdown is Eligible for Relief?

The District will investigate and determine whether the condition constitutes a breakdown.  If it determines that the condition does not constitute a breakdown, the facility will be notified of the denial and, consequently, the Air Pollution Control Officer may take appropriate enforcement action.

What Other Requirements Are There?

The facility must submit a written report within 10 days after a breakdown condition has been corrected. The report must include:

  • A statement that the condition has been corrected, the date corrected, and proof of compliance.
  • A detailed description of the cause of the breakdown.
  • A description of the corrective measures taken to stop the problem and actions taken to avoid future occurrences. (Steps must be taken to avoid future occurrences, or breakdown relief may not be granted.)
  • Picture of the equipment that failed, if available.

Should the Facility Request an Emergency Variance?

If the breakdown is expected to last more than 24 hours (96 hours for CEM equipment) the facility should file a petition for an emergency variance prior to the expiration of the breakdown period.

An emergency variance can grant the facility up to 30 days to repair the breakdown and achieve compliance.

For More Information

For more information about breakdowns, please consult District Rule 1100 - Equipment Breakdown or contact the Compliance Department.