EPA Finalizes New NAAQS for Ozone

Posted on 10/1/2015 by Roger Marks

Update 10/26/15: US EPA's new NAAQS for ozone was published to the Federal Register today, October 26. Read the new Final Rule here. 

On October 1, 2015, US EPA finalized its new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone, lowering the threshold to 70 parts per billion from 75 parts per billion.

The NAAQS for ozone sets the maximum amount of ground-level ozone (O3) that can be in the air for the air to be considered acceptable for human health. As time has passed and technology has improved, EPA has changed its onzone standard four times, generally lowering the acceptable level each time. Details on previous NAAQS changes can be found here.

Initially proposed in November, the new rule will have a significant effect on manufacturing, energy production, and industrial facilities nationwide that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the primary precursor to ground-level ozone. In regions where the amount of a criteria pollutant in the air exceeds EPA's standard—called “non-attainment” regions under the Clean Air Act—facilities are subject to more stringent reporting and pollution control measures, especially when planning new construction or expansion.

                                New EPA clean air act ozone rule

Ozone—a major component of smog—is one of six criteria pollutants for which EPA sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). EPA's decision to lower the ozone standard is based on conclusions of a regular review of its NAAQS standards that began in 2013.

The ozone NAAQS Final Rule has been dubbed the “most expensive regulation of all time” and is likely to face legal challenges from industry groups that believe EPA overstepped its mandate by lowering the ozone threshold.

A pre-publication version of the Final Rule is available here. 

New Clean Air Act Regulations Now Available

A new online course is now available to help environmental engineers, EHS managers, and compliance officers keep their facilities in compliance with the US EPA’s Clean Air Act programs. The Clean Air Act Regulations guides professionals through compliance with Title V permit requirements, emissions and pollution controls, annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting, Risk Management Planning (RMP) responsibilities, and more. 

Build the expertise needed to make informed on-the-job decisions that help your site control pollution and maintain compliance. Interactive, easy to use, and available 24/7, the new online course will help you get up to speed with new and changing EPA clean air rules and protect your facility from costly EPA enforcement. 

Tags: Act, Air, Clean, EPA, new rules

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