Challenges Related to Implementing the U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards

EM – November 2021: This month's issue describes some of the inherent challenges involved in implementing the U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for criteria pollutants.
by Susan S.G. Wierman

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopts National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six criteria pollutants chosen as indicators of potential public health problems. The NAAQS define acceptable levels in the outside air given specific averaging times and measurement protocols. The complex, iterative process of implementing the standards includes measuring and modeling ambient air quality, assessing culpability for air pollution, incorporating information from multiple public and private entities, and appropriately controlling pollution sources.

In the first article, Fiore, Bratburd, and Miller give concrete examples and provide references and links to tools to help users find and take advantage of the wealth of data available.

The second article by Stan Hayes and Jeff McKay explains how the San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District developed a roadmap to better protect public health from ambient PM. 

The third article by Kiernan Wholean and Michael Geigert of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection acknowledges significant benefits from past emissions reductions.

The fourth article by Disha Shah of CDM Smith presents a case study of controlling PM emissions from leachate evaporators at a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) major source landfill. 

Continue reading the full November 2021 issue of EM.


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