Nearly every gin in the country has some type of air quality or environmental permit. Some are simple, and some are complex. It is important to know what your permit says because, just like every other government document, you’re responsible for what it says and what you are supposed to be doing.
Over the past several years in the Southeast, we’ve seen huge changes in the way that gins are regulated. Two states went from a very detailed and lengthy permit process to a very straightforward general permit. We still have some states that have older detailed permits. Some of those are more complex than they previously were, and some are much simpler. Some have expiration dates and others are good forever.
In any case, it shows that a blanket statement can’t be made as to what the requirements are. In one state, I’ve seen permits that have 40 percent capacity limits and some that are 20 percent. Even in one state, you can’t say all gins have the same requirement in their permits so it’s important to READ YOUR PERMIT.
What are you likely to find? Well, most permits have the name of the business and many times the legally responsible individual. That needs to be correct. Update if necessary. As an example, North Carolina has a requirement for reporting your inspection findings by March 1 each year. South Carolina requires reporting of the number of bales ginned each year by February.
There is a laundry list of other requirements that can be included in your air permit, far too many to be listed here. Suffice it to say that you need to review your permit and the requirements that are contained in it. Most gin associations have someone available or a contact to call that can help you understand all that is in your permit.
Even if you’ve never been cited, it doesn’t relieve you of the obligation. Finally, make sure the permit matches reality and update as necessary.
Dusty Findley of the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association contributed this article. Contact him at (706) 344-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.