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EPA Adjusts Pollutant Monitoring Requirements to Improve Air Quality Protection and Information

Release Date: 09/28/2006
Contact Information: John Millett, (202) 564-4355 /

(9/28/06) To help EPA, states, tribes and local air quality agencies better protect and inform the public about air quality in their communities, EPA has changed its national air quality monitoring regulations as part of a strategy to update technology and keep pace with more advanced approaches to air quality management. Reflecting extensive independent scientific review and public input, the rule will change the locations of some types of monitors, add new monitors for some pollutants, and allow states and tribes to shut down unneeded monitors for some pollutants. The rule also will add more monitors capable of providing real-time measurements for some pollutants.

The changes affect monitoring for six common pollutants known as "criteria pollutants" and the pollutants that form them. The six pollutants are: ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particle pollution (also called particulate matter), and lead. There will continue to be a national network of monitors for each criteria pollutant, but the improved network will be more strategic and more efficient.

Ambient air monitoring systems play a critical role in the nation's air quality management program infrastructure. They are used for a wide variety of purposes, including providing data used to determine whether areas are meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Other important uses of these monitors include: support of timely reporting of the Air Quality Index and issuing air quality forecasts, support of long-term health assessments, and tracking long-term air quality both to gauge effectiveness of emission control strategies and to quantify accuracy of supporting model evaluations.

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