As part of the plan review process for building permits, your plans may be routed from the building department (Reno, Washoe or Sparks) to the Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) for review, or you may be asked some screening questions regarding your project to determine requirements related to air quality permitting. Common considerations for Air Quality may include, but are not limited to the following:

Wood-Burning Devices

Are you installing a fireplace, wood stove, pellet stove, or hydronic heater (residential or commercial)?

Wood-burning devices (fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, and hydronic heaters) are regulated by the Northern Nevada Public Health, Air Quality Management Division (AQMD), because they are major contributors to air pollution in the Truckee Meadows. Therefore, before you make a purchase, it is important for you to spend some time researching whether it is legal to place a wood-burning device in your home.

Fireplaces and certified wood heaters (wood stoves and pellet stoves) are allowed in areas where homes are placed on larger lots so that density does not add to air pollution problems in Washoe County. However, no matter where you live in Washoe County, you can install a gas-fired stove or a low-emitting pellet stove.

When it comes to wood stoves and fireplaces, even if your property meets the lot size requirements to have a device, only one can be installed. 

To determine your eligibility and requirements for installing a wood-burning device, visit the Wood-Burning Device Program Page, found (HERE).

The Wood-Burning Device Program can be contacted at 775-784-7200 or


Will your project (residential or commercial) involve the disturbance (clearing, staging, stockpiling, grading, etc.) one (1) acre or greater? 

Any dust generating activity, regardless of size of disturbance, will be subject to the District Board of Health Regulations Governing the Air Quality Management Division, 040.030 Dust Control. Except when engaged in commercial agricultural operations, no person may disturb the topsoil by removing, altering, or overlaying the ground cover through scraping, burning, excavating, storing of fill, application of palliative, or any other method on any real property unless reasonable precautions are taken to prevent generation of dust during both the active development phases and thereafter if the property is to remain unoccupied, unused, vacant or undeveloped.

A Dust Control Permit is required prior to breaking ground on any project that will disturb one (1) acre or greater. Failure to do so may result in enforcement action resulting in a Notice of Violation with associated fines. 

More information and instructions for how to apply can be found on the Dust Control Program Page, found (HERE).

The Dust Control Program can be contacted at 775-784-7200 or


Will your project involve the disturbance/removal of 100 sq. ft., 100 linear ft., and/or 35 cubic ft. of any material other than glass, wood or metal (excluding single-family residential remodels/TI's)?  

If "yes", you must apply for an Acknowledgement of Asbestos Assessment (AAA) from the AQMD. You may apply online through Accela One Regional Licensing & Permits. Detailed instructions can be found on the Asbestos Program page.

The complete demolition of any structure (commercial or residential) in Washoe County requires notification to the AQMD. You will be required to apply for and obtain an Acknowledgement of Asbestos Assessment (AAA) and submit a NESHAP Notification of Demolition and Removal. More information and links to forms can be found on the Asbestos Program page.

If you are not doing any demolition (disturbance of any materials) and this can easily be determined in your plans by the building department then you do not need to apply for an Acknowledgement of Asbestos Assessment (ex., build-out only).

Please note that the AQMD is the delegated authority to implement and enforce different regulations than OSHA, and if there will be any disturbance of suspect asbestos-containing materials, they should first be tested for asbestos regardless of the quantity of disturbance. The requirement for AQMD review and a resulting AAA is based on the thresholds provided within the original question (100 sq. ft., 100 linear ft. or 35 cubic ft.).

More information and links to applications and forms can be found on the Asbestos Program Page, found (HERE).

The Asbestos Program can be contacted at 775-784-7200 or

Stationary Sources

Will your project include processes or equipment that may cause air pollution, or are any air pollution control devices being installed as a part of your project?

Pursuant to District Board of Health Regulations Governing Air Quality Management 030.200, the permitting threshold in Washoe County is as follows,  

Any facility with the Potential to Emit (PTE) two (2) pounds per day of any criteria pollutants (carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone precursors such as VOCs & nitrogen oxides, particulate matter 10 and 2.5) or one (1) pound per day of any regulated Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) shall be required to obtain and hold a Permit to Operate.   

In order to determine if your facility will need to apply for a Permit to Operate, you will need to determine your facility-wide PTE to include all emission units, defined as any part of a source that emits, or would have the potential to emit, any regulated pollutant. This can be done by the facility or by hiring a third-party air quality consulting professional.    

Typical facilities that require a Permit to Operate include, but are not limited to:  

  • Gas, oil or solid fuel burning boilers, furnaces or large process ovens 
  • Commercial fuel storage facilities or gas stations 
  • Paint and surface coating operations 
  • Degreasers, dry cleaners or other processes using solvents 
  • Aggregate, concrete or mineral products processing or mining
  • Analytical labs, chemical processing operations, assay labs 
  • Printing press facilities 
  • Sawing, grinding or sanding operations 
  • Remediation soil or water treatment operations 
  • Industrial facilities which emit air pollutants 
  • Marijuana cultivation and processing operations 

Because of the complexity of some projects, many owners or operators request a pre-construction conference to meet and discuss the details of the proposed project. The AQMD encourages such meetings, especially for more complex sources. Often such a discussion actually speeds up the permitting process and results in less confusion for all parties.

More information and links to applications and forms can be found on the Source Permitting Page, found (HERE).

The Permitting Program can be contacted at 775-784-7200 or

Last modified on 03/21/2024