The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $314,375 to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to support air monitoring programs. The grant will help ODEQ maintain the state’s monitoring network for hazardous air pollutants. The state’s program also helps reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants and enforcement of air regulations within the state.
“EPA and our regulatory partners at the state and local level have taken significant steps to dramatically reduce hazardous air pollutants and provide important health protections,” said EPA Regional Administrator Chris Hladick. “This grant helps further protect our communities and gives us a better understanding of the air pollution sources that may be affecting Oregon’s local air quality.”
“EPA’s grant will support our ability to make science-based decisions, which is the cornerstone of our work and critical for advancing healthy communities and economic progress in Oregon,” said ODEQ Director Richard Whitman. “Our progress is most effectively achieved with support from our federal partners and work with local communities to meet regulatory standards.”
There are currently 187 hazardous air pollutants, or air toxics, regulated under the Clean Air Act that have been associated with a wide variety of adverse health effects, including cancer and neurological effects. These air toxics are emitted from multiple sources, including major stationary, area, and mobile sources, resulting in community exposure to these pollutants.
The National Air Toxics Trends Station program was developed to fulfill the need for long-term hazardous air pollutants monitoring data of consistent quality. These sites are part of a 27-site national network of air pollution monitoring stations. The primary purpose of the network is tracking trends in ambient air pollutant levels to help measure progress toward reducing emissions and health risks.
ODEQ is currently operating two of these National Air Toxics Trends monitoring sites in Oregon. One station is in La Grande (a rural site) and the other is in Portland (an urban site). EPA grant funding supports the activities of ODEQ in the operation of these two sites. EPA has provided grant funding to support DEQ’s air quality monitoring program for more than a decade.
EPA’s most recent air trends report highlights that, between 1970 and 2017, the combined emissions of six key pollutants dropped by 73 percent, while the U.S. economy grew more than three times. A closer look at more recent progress shows that between 1990 and 2017, average concentrations of harmful air pollutants decreased significantly across our nation:
Sulfur dioxide (1-hour) ↓ 88 percent
Lead (3-month average) ↓80 percent
Carbon monoxide (8-hour) ↓ 77 percent
Nitrogen dioxide (annual) ↓ 56 percent
Fine Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 40 percent
Coarse Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 34 percent and
Ground-level ozone (8-hour) ↓ 22 percent
The report includes interactive graphics that enable citizens, policymakers, and stakeholders to view and download detailed information by pollutant, geographic location, and year. Explore the report and download graphics and data here: U.S. Air Trends Report.
The Clean Air Act was established to lower levels of six common pollutants — particles, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide — and toxic pollutants. Data of actual conditions is key to state and local clean air programs and areas reaching attainment.
The progress of the Clean Air Act reflects efforts by state, local governments, business, non-profit and non-government organizations, and EPA. EPA continues to work with states, local governments, tribes, and citizens – to further improve air quality for all Americans.