Fine Particulate Series: PM2.5 nonattainment — What you need to know

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Courtesy of All4 Inc.

In the March 2009 4 The Record article “A Practical Guide to PM2.5,” ALL4’s PM2.5 Team discussed the technical basics of PM2.5 and the specific steps that you can take to assess your position with regard to the challenging regulatory landscape that lies ahead. This month’s article aims to fill in a few technical details regarding PM2.5 nonattainment areas, including a discussion on PM2.5 attainment designations, emission reduction credit (ERC) requirements, ERC air quality modeling requirements, and timing and cost considerations when planning for nonattainment area projects where PM2.5 emissions may be a factor.

Attainment or Nonattainment: That is the Question
U.S. EPA strengthened the 24-hour PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) in September 2006 by lowering it from 65 ug/m3 to 35 ug/m3. U.S. EPA’s recommendations for attainment designations associated with the revised 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS were released on December 22, 2008. That action is currently under review in accordance with the “Memorandum for the Executive Departments and Agencies” published in the Federal Register on January 26, 2009. Therefore, any “new” nonattainment areas created by the revised 24-hour NAAQS are not yet considered nonattainment areas. However, we expect that counties previously recommended for nonattainment designation by U.S. EPA will continue to be considered as nonattainment areas when U.S. EPA publishes final recommendations in the Federal Register. In fact, it is likely that the number of nonattainment areas will only increase with upcoming published designations. For facilities located in an area that is currently classified as being in attainment, future planning should include consideration of whether that county may be reclassified as nonattainment by conferring with local regulatory agencies and U.S. EPA. Read on as ALL4 looks at technical details regarding PM2.5 nonattainment areas and more!

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