Chapter 49


Approved by Ned Borglin
Revised 06/13

49.1 Policy
49.2 Scope
49.3 Applicability
49.4 Exceptions
49.5 Roles and Responsibilities
49.6 Definitions
49.7 Required Work Processes

Work Process A. General Requirements and Flowchart
Work Process B. Permits

49.8 Source Requirements
49.9 Reference Documents


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49.1 Policy

The Berkeley Lab Air Quality Program ensures that operations emitting hazardous or regulated air pollutants are identified and controlled. Permitted air-pollutant sources at Berkeley Lab include:

49.2 Scope

This program addresses stationary and mobile air-pollution sources at the Berkeley Lab main site and two emergency generators at the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek.
Other off-site leased facilities are not covered, as the Berkeley Lab does not own the regulated equipment (e.g., boilers, emergency generators, or asbestos demo or renovation operations).

49.3 Applicability

Berkeley Lab employees, visitors, affiliates, and subcontractors who work with or operate equipment emitting air pollutants

49.4 Exceptions

Because Berkeley Lab is a research and development institution, laboratories located in a Berkeley Lab building where the total laboratory floor space within the building is less than 25,000 square feet, or where the total number of fume hoods within the building is less than 50, provided that Responsible Laboratory Management Practices, as defined in BAAQMD Section 2-1-224, are used. Buildings connected by passageways and/or corridors shall be considered as separate buildings, provided that structural integrity could be maintained in the absence of the passageways and/or corridors and the buildings have their own separate and independently operating HVAC and fire suppression systems. For the purposes of this subsection, teaching laboratories that are exempt per BAAQMD Section 2-1-113.2.11 are not included in the floor space or fume hood totals. In addition, laboratory units for which the owner or operator of the source can demonstrate that toxic air contaminant emissions would not occur, except under accidental or upset conditions, are not included in the floor space or fume hood totals.

49.5 Roles and Responsibilities



Principal Investigators and Supervisors

  • Ensure that environmental laws, regulations, and policies are followed
  • Request technical advice from the Environmental Services Group (ESG) and compliance strategies on what environmental requirements apply to their operations
  • Provide training for employees in operational requirements pertaining to environmental protection, and maintain records of such training
  • Ensure that activities are performed within acceptable operating standards and that any required records are current
  • Notify the Environment, Health, Safety, and Security (EHSS) Division immediately of any unplanned accidental releases


  • Follow applicable environmental laws, regulations, and policies
  • Must be fully aware of the environmental impact of their activities, and comply with all requirements that govern those activities
  • Adhere to all environmental requirements contained in Berkeley Lab air permits for their facility
  • Perform activities within acceptable operating standards, and maintain current records whenever required
  • Ensure that exposures of the public and the environment to radioactive emissions are kept as low as reasonably achievable
  • Participate in energy-conservation, recycling, pollution-prevention, and waste-minimization programs
  • Take immediate action to stop unplanned releases to the environment, and report all instances of unplanned environmental releases to the EHSS Division
  • Complete all required training provided by supervisors and the EHSS Division

Environmental Services Group (ESG)

  • Develops Laboratory policies and procedures to assure that operations are conducted in an environmentally safe manner and in full compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations and Department of Energy (DOE) orders
  • Prepares environmental compliance plans and reports as mandated by Air District regulations and DOE orders
  • Assesses current and planned Berkeley Lab programs, and assists in defining environmental protection compliance upgrades and corrective actions
  • Identifies significant institutional environmental compliance issues, and develops cost-effectivemechanisms for resolving them
  • Manages the preparation, submittal, and renewal of air quality operating permits
  • Monitors Laboratory air emissions and discharges to the environment to verify compliance with applicable regulations and permits
  • Investigates reports of unplanned environmental releases, and notifies federal, state, and local authorities in a timely manner, asrequired
  • Coordinates and represents Berkeley Lab activities during environmental audits and inspections by regulatory agencies and DOE
  • Responds to information requests from the public
  • Participates in DOE audits of off-site analytical laboratories to ensure the quality of analytical results received for environmental monitoring programs


49.6 Definitions



Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)

The local agency responsible for regulating stationary sources of regulated or hazardous air pollutants in the San Francisco Bay Area


Any filtered or unfiltered substance released to the air from Berkeley Lab or from a Laboratory facility

Environmental surveillance

The collection and analysis of “use” records to determine compliance with applicable standards and permit requirements

Environmental occurrence

Any sudden or sustained deviation from a regulated or planned performance at an operation that has environmental protection and compliance significance

Hazardous air pollutant

Any pollutant listed in Section 112(b) of the Clean Air Act

Regulated air pollutants

Pollutants for which standards have been promulgated under the authority of the Clean Air Act, and which include the classes of substances defined as nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, toxic air contaminants, or ozone-depleting substances

United States Environmental Protection Agency

A federal agency responsible for enforcing environmental laws. In California, some of this responsibility is typically delegated to state and local regulatory agencies.


49.7 Required Work Processes 

Work Process A. General Requirements and Flowchart
Work Process B. Permits                            

Work Process A. General Requirements and Flowchart

Berkeley Lab operations that emit hazardous (nonradioactive) or regulated air pollutants are subject to the rules and regulations administered by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). (Air emissions of radioactive materials are discussed in Environmental Radiological Dose Assessment.)
BAAQMD rules and regulations are designed to control emissions of particulates, inorganic gases, organic compounds, air toxics, and odors. They require any person who wishes to build, erect, alter, replace, operate, or use any article, machine, equipment, or other device that might cause the emission of air pollutants to first obtain a permit from the BAAQMD, unless it qualifies for one of the agency's specific exemptions. Prior approval is also required for modifications to an already-permitted activity. The types of permitted air-pollution sources found at Berkeley Lab and their associated air pollutants are summarized in the table below:

Air Pollution Source(s)

Primary Pollutant(s)

Diesel-powered emergency standby generators and diesel vehicles

Diesel particulate matter

Epoxy mixing hood

Volatile organic compounds

Fuel dispensing

Gasoline and ethanol

Paint spray booth

Volatile organic compounds

Sandblast booth


Soil vapor extraction operations

Volatile organic compounds

Solvent wipe cleaning

Volatile organic compounds

Asbestos removal

Asbestos dust

Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) use Very potent greenhouse gas

Work Process B. Permits

49.8 Source Requirements

Other Driving Requirements

49.9 Reference Documents

Document number



Asbestos Hazards and Controls


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