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Permitting a Bioenergy Project
 
Developing a biomass energy project in Oregon requires coordination with a variety of state and local agencies.  Below we have described some of the permits, authorizations or permits that may be necessary.  Those interested in developing a biomass project should contact the Department of Energy and the applicable state and local agencies for information on required permits.
 
Air Quality Permit:  Combustion of biomass produces gas and particulate emissions. Companies planning to install combustion equipment or to change to a new fuel type should notify the Air Quality Division of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Depending on the size and capacity of the furnace or boiler, DEQ regulations may require an Air Contaminant Discharge Permit.  More information is available at http://www.oregon.gov/DEQ/AQ/
 
Land Use Permit:  A land use permit for a proposed biomass combustion facility is handled by the city or county planning department where the proposed facility is located.  More information is available at http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/index.shtml 
 
Building Permit: Project developers must have building permits before starting construction of industrial or commercial combustion facilities. Building permits are issued by local building departments.  More information is available at http://www.oregon-epermitting.info/
 
Boiler Permits and Operator License: The Building Codes Division of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issues boiler permits and boiler operator licenses.
 
Waste Disposal Requirements:   Special solid waste disposal methods may be required if ash residue contains hazardous wastes. The DEQ Land Quality Division has more information about handling possible contamination problems.
 
Leaching of contaminants in the ash residue from MSW combustion is a potential environmental hazard. Contaminants of most concern are lead, mercury and cadmium introduced into the MSW from discarded batteries. If the levels of these elements exceed EPA limits, special disposal practices are required, such as disposal of the ash in a separate monofill or using landfill liners to prevent the leachate from reaching groundwater.
 
Any facility stockpiling biomass feedstock materials such as hogged fuel, wood waste, waste paper or municipal solid waste may need a solid waste management permit. Contact the DEQ Land Quality Division for more information.
 
Anaerobic Digester Permits:  Digesters that utilize animal waste or byproducts in the process may require additional permits from the Oregon Department of Agriculture or Department of Environmental Quality.
 
Wastewater, Stormwater, Wetlands and Water Use Permits:  Other potential sources of water pollution from biomass combustion facilities are leachate and runoff from biomass storage piles, leachate from storage of residual ash, and blow-down water used to backwash scale from boilers and cooling towers. Boiler facilities must have disposal permits for wastewater and storm water runoff. The DEQ Water Quality Division can provide detailed information about wastewater and storm water treatment and control.


Facilities that require new uses of water may need to establish a water right. The Oregon Water Resources Department can provide information about water rights.
 
Energy Facility Siting Regulations:  Biomass combustion facilities that generate electricity are subject to state energy facility siting regulations if their generating capacity is 25 megawatts or more. Developers must have a site certificate from the Energy Facility Siting Council before beginning construction of the facility, unless the Council grants the facility an exemption as a high-efficiency cogeneration facility.
 
A production facility that converts biomass into liquid ethanol fuel capable of being burned to produce the equivalent of at least 6 billion Btu per day must have a site certificate from the Energy Facility Siting Council. Facilities producing liquid fuel from grain, whey or potatoes and meeting certain criteria may be exempt from this requirement.