EPA Lowers National Air-Quality Standard for Ground-Level Ozone

On Oct. 1, the EPA announced a new standard of 70 parts per billion (ppb), a reduction from the 2008 standard of 75 ppb.

Last month, HPAC Engineering advised plant and facility operators to be on the watch for a possible revision of the national air-quality standard for ground-level ozone by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On Oct. 1, the EPA announced a new standard of 70 parts per billion (ppb), a reduction from the 2008 standard of 75 ppb.

This revision starts a complicated environmental review. By Oct. 1, 2016, state officials must designate which areas in their state—primarily metropolitan regions—have air-quality readings above the new standard, a review likely to be based on data from 2014-2016. By Oct. 1, 2017, the EPA must formally assert the accuracy of designations. Then, new legally enforceable control schemes will follow.

The EPA believes current rules and regulations imposed on industry and transportation largely will do the job in reaching the new lower standard. Many people outside of the agency strongly disagree.

Plant and facility managers should stay abreast of these developments. These issues draw involvement from individuals and groups with divergent views and demands. New control proposals could impact your plant, operations, fuels, and products. As necessary, you may want to suggest different ideas. State EPA websites are a great place to track this regulatory process.

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