- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The agency noted that its final rule addresses only the SO2 primary standards, which are designed to protect public health. The EPA said it will address the secondary standard – designed to protect the public welfare, including the environment – as part of a separate review to be completed in 2012. The agency expects to identify or designate areas not meeting the new primary standard by June 2012.
"Moving to a one-hour standard and monitoring in the areas with the highest SO2 levels is the most efficient and effective way to protect against sulfur dioxide pollution in the air we breathe," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
New Monitoring RequirementsThe EPA also announced it is changing the monitoring requirements for SO2. The new requirements will require that monitors will be placed where SO2 emissions impact populated areas. Any new monitors required by this rule must begin operating no later than Jan. 1, 2013. The agency said it is expecting to use modeling as well as monitoring to determine compliance with the new standard.
According to the agency's website, designations for the revised standard would rely upon the monitors currently in place that evaluate area-wide concentrations of SO2 as well as available modeling data indicating a violation of the standard. While the agency's monitors will remain the same, many in industry will need to update their monitoring systems and equipment in order to ensure a one-hour standard is being maintained.
State Implementation Plans designed to reduce emissions in areas designated as nonattainment will be due within 18 months of the effective date of designation, and the attainment date for nonattainment areas will be within five years of designation.
Gone are 24-hour and Annual StandardsThe one-hour SO2 health standard of 75 ppb was, according to the agency, designed to protect against short-term exposures ranging from five minutes to 24 hours. The agency is revoking the current 24-hour and annual SO2 health standards because, according to an agency release, "the science indicates that short-term exposures are of greatest concern and the existing standards would not provide additional health benefits."
The first National Ambient Air Quality Standards for SO2 were set in 1971, establishing both a primary standard to protect health and a secondary standard to protect the public welfare. The last review of the SO2 NAAQS was completed in 1996 and the agency chose not to revise the standards. In the last review, the agency also considered, but did not set, a five-minute NAAQS to protect asthmatics at elevated ventilation rates from bronchoconstriction and respiratory symptoms associated with five- to 10-minute peaks of SO2.
More information on the new SO2 primary standard is available at www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/so2/s_so2_index.html.
Read the EPA's press release at http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/6424ac1caa800aab85257359003f5337/f137260029b9b4f385257737004e521b!OpenDocument
- Public hearings in January
- Public CASAC review in March
- 100% of Power industry met standards in '08
- Cap-and-Trade Auction in 2009
- February 2007 feature on emissions trading
- Bob McIlvaine on monitoring pitfalls for SO2 and NOX
- Agency announces intent to control SO2 from Thermal Dryers
SOURCES: EPA press release, Past PE coverage of SO2 standards, EPA website