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Breakdowns & Variances

​While penalties are assessed for most violations of air quality rules and permit conditions, there are some instances where permit holders may be able to receive relief from a violation. The two primary ways permit holders can seek relief are: (1) reporting an equipment breakdown or (2) applying for a variance.


 When equipment unexpectedly fails and results in a violation of a Sac Metro Air District (District) rule or permit condition, breakdown relief is available, provided certain conditions are met:

  1. ​​​​​​Notify the District of the breakdown within one hour of discoveryCall  279-207-1122 (​​Toll-Free:  800-880-9025)  or email​.
  2. Complete the  Breakdown Reporting Form: ​email the form to​ or fax to ​​279-207-1144​.

​A District inspector will immediately investigate the reported breakdown condition, confirm whether it meets the breakdown requirements, and provide information on the repair timeline and any additional reporting needed. ​

The breakdown condition must not persist longer than the end ​of the production run or 24 hours (whichever is sooner) or 96 hours for continuous emissions monitoring equipment.

For additional breakdown information, please read Rule 602 Breakdown Conditions:  Emergency Variance.


A variance is an administrative exception to a law. A variance allows a company to continue operating in violation of Sac Metro Air District rules without penalty for a defined period of time while it takes appropriate steps to meet air pollution regulations.

Variances can be granted only by the Sac Metro Air District Hearing Board, not by Sac Metro Air District inspectors or engineers.  Rule 601: Procedure Before the Hearing Board includes the requirements for applying for and receiving a variance.

Please visit the Hearing Board page for further information on how to apply for a variance. 

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