Region 7 Air Quality Program
Air Quality Standards
The Office of Air Quality and Planning and Standards (OAQPS) manages EPA programs to improve air quality in areas where the current quality is unacceptable and to prevent deterioration in areas where the air is relatively free of contamination. To accomplish this task, OAQPS establishes the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for each of the criteria pollutants.
Because different pollutants have different effects, the NAAQS are also different. Some pollutants have standards for both long-term and short-term averaging times. The short-term standards are designed to protect against acute, or short-term, health effects, while the long-term standards were established to protect against chronic health effects.
Each year EPA examines air pollution trends of each of the six principal pollutants in this country. A yearly EPA document titled National Air Quality and Emissions Trends Report gives a detailed analysis of changes in air pollution levels over the last 10 years time plus a summary of the current air pollution status.
Region 7 nonattainment areas for current criteria pollutants include:
- Lead - Herculaneum, MO
- Ozone - St. Louis, MO
- Fine Particulate Matter - St. Louis, MO
For more information on the NAAQS pollutants, see Criteria Air Pollutants
Smog and Other “Criteria” Air Pollutants
A few common air pollutants are found all over the United States. These pollutants can injure health, harm the environment and cause property damage.
EPA calls these pollutants criteria air pollutants because the agency has regulated them by first developing health-based criteria (science-based guidelines) as the basis for setting permissible levels. One set of limits (primary standard) protects against adverse health effects; another set of limits (secondary standard) is intended to prevent environmental and property damage. A geographic area that meets or does better than the primary standard is called an attainment area; areas that don't meet the primary standard are called nonattainment areas.
Although EPA has been regulating criteria air pollutants since the 1970 Clean Air Act was passed, many urban areas are classified as nonattainment for at least one criteria air pollutant. It has been estimated that about 90 million Americans live in nonattainment areas.
Five-Year Monitoring Network Assessments for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska
As stated at 40 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 58, each state is required to perform and submit to EPA an assessment of its air quality monitoring network every five years. At a minimum, this “five-year assessment” is meant to determine: if the existing network meets the monitoring objectives defined in Appendix D of 40 CFR Part 58; whether new sites are needed; whether existing sites are no longer needed and can be terminated; and whether new technologies are appropriate for incorporation into the ambient air monitoring network. For PM2.5 (particulate < 2.5 micrometers), the assessment also must identify needed changes to population-oriented sites. The first five-year assessment was due to EPA by July 1, 2010, and each assessment thereafter will be due in five-year increments.
The Region 7 states (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska) posted their five-year assessments on their own websites to allow for public review and comment. The states then submitted their final five-year assessments to EPA for review and approval. EPA is posting the states' five-year assessments and the approval of those assessments below, strictly for informational purposes. EPA's approval of the states' assessments is not meant to approve the discontinuance of any State or Local Air Monitoring Station (SLAMS) monitors discussed in the assessments. A state may request that a SLAMS monitor be discontinued as part of its Annual Monitoring Network Plan or by a separate request to the Regional Administrator. (Annual Plans are discussed in more detail below.)
Annual Monitoring Network Plans for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska
Each year, states are required to submit an annual monitoring network plan to EPA. The network plans provide for the creation and maintenance of monitoring stations, in accordance with EPA monitoring requirements specified in 40 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 58. EPA monitoring rules provide an opportunity for public comment on the annual monitoring network plans and modifications to the plans. The Region 7 states (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska) posted their draft network plans on their own websites to allow for public review. The states then submitted their final plans to EPA for review and approval.
EPA is required to review the submitted network plans to determine compliance with the applicable requirements in 40 CFR Part 58 and, if the state proposes modifications to the network, issue an approval if EPA concurs with the network plan. In addition to establishing the public notice requirements explained above, Section 58.10 (of 40 CFR Part 58) outlines specific requirements of the network plan, such as:
- A list of information that must be provided for each site (e.g., the location including street address and geographical coordinates)
- A statement of purpose for each monitor
- Evidence that siting and operation of each monitor meets the requirements of Appendices A-E of Part 58
- A plan for the establishment of National Core multi-pollutant monitoring stations (NCORE) to be operational by January 1, 2011
- A plan for the establishment of source-oriented lead monitoring sites to be operational by January 1, 2010 (specific site locations required in 2009 network plan)
- A plan for the establishment of all non-source-oriented lead monitoring sites to be operational by January 1, 2011 (specific site locations not required in 2009 network plan)
- Documentation of how the state and local agencies provide for the review of changes to the network
- Documentation to support a state's request for a waiver from monitoring at lead sources over one ton for which the state has determined the sources' impact is less than 50 percent of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard
Annual and Five-Year Monitoring Network Plan Approvals
Please contact the following Air Planning and Development State Coordinators in EPA Region 7 for further information:
- Iowa: Heather Hamilton at (913) 551-7039
- Kansas: Deb Bredehoft at (913) 551-7164
- Missouri: Tracey Casburn at (913) 551-7016
- Nebraska: Gregory Crable at (913) 551-7391
Meteorological and climatological information are essential in performing air quality analyses. A wind rose can provide a first guess where a pollutant may go or where a pollutant may have originated. Meteorological data are used in air dispersion models to predict concentrations and to identify the sources of pollution.
Region 7 does not archive meteorological data. However, meteorological data are available from other sources. The principal federal sources are the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) located in Asheville, NC, the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Centers, and the EPA Support Center for Regulatory Models (SCRAM) at Research Triangle Park, NC. State Climatological Offices are an excellent source of meteorological data. Commercial and university websites are also sources of current weather conditions.
The NCDC is the most extensive source of meteorological and climatological data. EPA's SCRAM site has surface and mixing height data that can be used to create wind roses and/or used in air dispersion models. These data are for the major NWS stations throughout the United States. The data are mostly for the years 1984 through 1992 (for surface data) or 1991 (for mixing heights). Current weather observations and forecasts for Kansas and Missouri, as well as climatological data for the Kansas City and St Joseph areas, are available from the NWS Pleasant Hill station.
For more information on meteorological data, see:
- National Climatic Data Center
- EPA SCRAM Site
- Weather Underground
- NWS Pleasant Hill, MO
- University of Wyoming
- Nebraska State Climate Office
- Nebraska Weather and Climate Information