Tennessee Environment - General regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Tennessee Environment - General: What you need to know

Overview of Tennessee's Environmental Rules


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In Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is the counterpart to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). TDEC is responsible for protecting Tennessee's land, water, and air from pollution. Tennessee has been delegated authority by EPA to administer and enforce federal permit programs for air emissions, various wastewater and stormwater discharges (industrial and agricultural), and solid and hazardous waste management. In most cases, state regulatory requirements follow federal rules, with a number of stricter standards for hazardous waste handlers. Chemical safety rules in public and all private sector workplaces are administered and enforced by the state.


Tennessee's air program is shaped by its state implementation plan (SIP). The SIP is a plan detailing the methods by which the state will implement, maintain, and enforce the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. As mandated by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), each state must adopt and submit a SIP to EPA for approval. Tennessee's SIP was officially submitted to EPA in January 1972 and is frequently amended to comply with the 1990 CAA amendments. The SIP focuses on permitting, nonattainment areas, hazardous air pollutants, and numerous other air-related requirements.

Tennessee's air program is implemented and enforced by TDEC's Division of Air Pollution Control, with assistance from several local air pollution control agencies that implement and enforce the air program within their respective jurisdictions.


Tennessee has developed a water pollution permit scheme that follows the federal regulations. The state is fully ...

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