Region 1: EPA New England
Which Areas in New England Do Not Attain PM Standards?
PM in New England
A "designation" is the term EPA uses to describe the air quality in a given area for any of six common pollutants known as "criteria pollutants", one of which is PM. An area is designated as nonattainment if EPA determines that it has (or contributes to) pollution levels higher than allowed under EPA's national air quality standards. Once nonattainment designations take effect, state and local governments have three years to develop implementation plans designed to meet the standards.
Under the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act, Presque Isle, Maine, and New Haven, Connecticut, were designated as nonattainment with the PM10 "coarse particle" standard. Today, however, all of New England is meeting the PM10 standard.
On July 18, 1997, EPA established air quality standards for PM2.5, including an annual standard of 15.0 μg/m3 and a 24-hour (or daily) standard of 65 μg/m3. On December 17, 2004, EPA issued official designations for the 1997 PM2.5 standards and made modifications to these in April 2005. [These standards were revised in September 2006 – see below.] EPA designated areas as nonattainment if they violated the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard over a three-year period, or if relevant information indicated that they contributed to violations in a nearby area. EPA designated areas as attainment/unclassifiable if monitored air-quality data showed no violations of PM2.5 annual standard over a three-year period or if there was not enough information to determine air quality.
In New England, EPA designated two Connecticut counties (i.e., New Haven and Fairfield Counties) as nonattainment for the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard. These counties are part of a multi-state nonattainment area that encompasses the New York City metropolitan area, and includes 10 counties in northern New Jersey and 10 counties in downstate New York. Click here for a map of this New York City PM2.5 nonattainment area. All other areas in New England have been designated attainment/unclassifiable for the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard. In December 2005, EPA upheld its nonattainment designations for New England. A Questions and Answers (PDF) (7 pp, 174 K, about PDF) document provides more information about PM2.5 nonattainment areas in New England.
States with nonattainment areas for the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard (click here for a national map (PDF) (4 pp, 744 K, about PDF)) were required to submit state implementation plans (SIPs) to EPA by April 2008 outlining measures that states will implement to meet the PM2.5 standard. Connecticut submitted its attainment SIP for the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard on November 18, 2008.
On September 21, 2006, EPA strengthened the 24-hour(daily)PM2.5 to 35 μg/m3 and retaining the level of the annual PM2.5 standard at 15 μg/m3. The Agency also retained the 24-hour PM10 standard of 150 μg/m3. However, the annual PM10 standard was revoked because of a lack of evidence establishing a link between long-term exposure to coarse particles and health problems.On November 13, 2009, EPA designated areas as either attainment/unclassified or nonattainment with respect to the revised 24-hour standard. In the northeast, EPA designated the same three-state New York City metropolitan area previously designated for the annual standard as also not attaining the 24-hour PM2.5 standard. In this November 2009 designation action, EPA established a deadline of December 14, 2012, for states with 24-hour PM2.5 nonattainment areas to submit attainment SIPs. In New England, this SIP requirement applies only to New Haven and Fairfield Counites in Connecticut. Click here for more information on the 2006 PM Standards Revision.
Many strategies to reduce PM2.5 levels are already in place. These include:
- NOx strategies to address ozone
truck and bus standards for PM
standards in 2007 will result in 90% PM reduction
diesel standards for PM
tighter standards adopted by EPA in May 2004
Clean Air Interstate Rule
CAIR will further reduce sulfur dioxide and NOx emissions from power plants