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Local Air Pollution Regulations

Reference Number: MTAS-602
Reviewed Date: 07/06/2021

The state is responsible for a comprehensive state program to minimize air pollution. Municipalities and counties may enact regulations that are not less stringent than the state’s regulations, which prevail as long as a certificate of exception granted by the Air Pollution Control Board is in effect. Periodic review by this board is required to determine whether the exemption should be continued. Certificates are issued for periods not to exceed two years. T.C.A. § 68-201-115. Local air pollution regulations are not applicable to "any air contaminant source…which burns wood waste solely for the disposition of such wood waste," but the constant presence of a person is required and the burn limited to 48 hours and to no more than twice in any 30-day period for wood waste burns within 200 feet of an occupied building if the burn is done by someone other than the occupant. For burns within 100 feet of an occupied building, an adult occupant must give written permission for the burn to occur (Stricter local ordinances control). T.C.A. § 68-201-115(c). The $25,000 per day state penalty also is applicable to violations of municipal regulations. Municipal penalties are cumulative and in addition to state penalties. T.C.A. § 68-201-116. A municipality that has obtained a certificate of exemption to enforce its own air pollution control regulations must offer a process to grant a waiver to any prohibition on open burning. T.C.A. § 68-201-115.