Air Quality

The city Air Quality Recodified Ordinance 3765 (Chapter 90) established the original authority for this department.   Staff oversees 85 companies within the City that contribute to air pollution through any kind of emissions from fuel burning, from processes and from air pollution control devices that emit directly or indirectly to the atmosphere.  In addition, the Department controls sources of fugitive dust from roadways and process operations that cross the business property line. The city inspects all manufacturing and commercial and small business entities on a regular basis and can charge an annual operations fee based on the type of operation defined in the ordinance. The Department partners with IDEM & U.S. EPA on some air permits which require inspection and permit review. In total, the Department oversees the local authority of over 500 air permitted sources, including contractors operating within U.S. Steel plants.

Air enforcement activity is handled through the City Law Department and, as needed, and IDEM, which may be supported with city inspection reports and monitoring information. Municipal enforcement of air violations include, but not limited to, open burning, operating without a local air permit, and air quality nuisance. Citation is done through Code Enforcement process with reporting and inspection assistance from inspectors who are sworn officers.

Operator’s Permit
Why is an operator’s permit required?
Process or fuel-burning or control equipment generates air emission directly or indirectly to atmosphere. The air standards require owner/operator to meet and attain the national ambient air standards that were developed and approved in the ordinance. The recodified ordinance (3765) established rule to request and complete a registration form annually.

Open Burn – (Ordinance 3765 Chapter 90)
Definition and Requirements

  • Open burning for disposal is prohibited in Lake and Porter Counties.  A request in writing for review and/or comments will be declined.
  • An open burn is any fire that is emitted directly into the atmosphere without passing through a stack/chimney; such as burning garbage, trash, paper, wood, industrial solid waste, camp fires, prescribed burns (vegetative restoration)
  • Events such as prescribed burns and campfires require burn approval as enumerated below:

Contact the Air Quality Manager at 219-882-3000 to discuss the burn project and submit requested information for review and assessment.

Based on information provided, the Fire Department and the Environmental Affairs Department review and determine if the burn must be necessary and no other method is available

Certificate of Operation will be issued only when the Fire Department and Environmental Department approves the prescribed burn for land restoration.

Inspection/Monitoring (Annual Inspection/Surveillance Drive by)
Inspections ensure air quality ordinance rules are being complied with the ordinance.  For example, dust or smoke causes nuisance to nearby communities or residences is prohibited in the City of Gary air ordinance.  Complaints filed with the department are investigated as part of monitoring/inspection.

Technical Support – We offer Technical Support to Businesses and Citizens.
From the City’s air quality ordinance; we can help you understand your permit obligations and how the rules may affect you based on inspection.  Based on information from the business entity, a state environmental permit may be required. Please contact the Air Quality Manager at 219-882-3000 for more information.

Healthy Homes

Working Together For A Healthier Environment In The City Of Gary

The mission of the CARE Partnership is to engage in a collaborative, community-based process to identify and prioritize risks and to create an action plan to address environmental health issues that affect our health, quality of life, and sustainable economic development.

The CARE Partnership was created through a grant awarded to the Department of Environmental Affairs by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Partnership is composed of community organizations, federal, state and local agencies, local business and Gary residents.

We CARE Because….
The environment can greatly impact how we feel. Some health concerns that are related to the environment include, but are not limited to:

  • Asthma and other respiratory problems
  • Learning disabilities and problems in school
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Infant mortality
  • Low birth weight
  • Cancer