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EPA updates ozone standard

Published by
World Cement,

The EPA has issued an update to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. The summary provided is copied below:

Based on its review of the air quality criteria for ozone (O3) and related photochemical oxidants and national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for O3, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is revising the primary and secondary NAAQS for O3 to provide requisite protection of public health and welfare, respectively. The EPA is revising the levels of both standards to 0.070 parts per million (ppm), and retaining their indicators (O3), forms (fourth-highest daily maximum, averaged across three consecutive years) and averaging times (eight hours). The EPA is making corresponding revisions in data handling conventions for O3 and changes to the Air Quality Index (AQI); revising regulations for the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) program to add a transition provision for certain applications; and establishing exceptional events schedules and providing information related to implementing the revised standards. The EPA is also revising the O3 monitoring seasons, the Federal Reference Method (FRM) for monitoring O3 in the ambient air, Federal Equivalent Method (FEM) analyzer performance requirements, and the Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS) network. Along with exceptional events schedules related to implementing the revised O3 standards, the EPA is applying this same schedule approach to other future new or revised NAAQS and removing obsolete regulatory language for expired exceptional events deadlines.

The EPA is making minor changes to the procedures and time periods for evaluating potential FRMs and equivalent methods, including making the requirements for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) consistent with the requirements for O3, and removing an obsolete requirement for the annual submission of Product Manufacturing Checklists by manufacturers of FRMs and FEMs for monitors of fine and coarse particulate matter.

In anticipation of the announcement, the PCA’s President and CEO, James G. Toscas, released the following statement:

“The cement industry has for well over a century served as the foundation of economic development in the US. This is a responsibility we take seriously and with pride, as we do environmental stewardship. As part of our commitment to both the natural and the built environment, we continuously make significant investments in equipment, systems, and operating methods to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impacts. Thus far since 2000, these measures have contributed to an 18% reduction in US ozone levels. 

“Ozone levels continue to drop, and today most areas meet or exceed the requirements set by EPA in 2008. Although this should be considered a great success, EPA is resetting the game by lowering ozone limits even further. This will likely make it impossible for the most difficult areas to comply. More importantly, hundreds of low-ozone areas that meet the 2008 standard will suddenly find themselves in noncompliance with new EPA rules. Many of these areas will have no practical way to further reduce ozone levels without significant curtailment of, and impact on, economic activity. While the new rules will impose great cost, their benefit to public health is questionable. 

“Cement manufacturers will continue developing and deploying technologies to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact, and will strive to meet all applicable rules and regulations. They will also continue to speak out when regulations are proposed or promulgated whose cost to society greatly exceeds their benefit.”

This topic was covered extensively in the article ‘Examining the EPA’s Proposal to Lower the Ozone Standard’, published in World Cement’s October issue. Subscribers can view the article by logging on here.

Adapted from press releases by

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