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Contents

  1. Air Quality Monitoring - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
  2. Skip links and keyboard navigation
  3. Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Trends
  4. Air Quality Pollutants and Standards

Wisconsin has a TSP standard to help protect citizens from damage caused by these particles. Currently there are no areas in Wisconsin that are violating the standard. Both inhalable coarse and fine particles pose health risks because they can bypass the body's natural defense mechanisms and affect both the lungs and heart. Scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of health problems, including:.

People with heart or lung diseases, children and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure. Even if you are healthy, you may experience temporary symptoms from exposure to elevated levels of particle pollution. The DNR also has additional air outreach resources available. Particle pollution scatters light and is the major cause of reduced visibility in the United States. Many fine particles can also be acidic, causing acid rain and making lakes and streams more acidic.

Air Quality Monitoring - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Deposition of nitrogen-containing particles may change the nutrient balance in lakes and rivers, affecting the diversity of ecosystems or damaging forests or crops. In addition, particle pollution can damage statues, monuments and buildings made of stone and other materials. For more information particle pollution conditions and environmental effects, refer to the following resources. The federal Clean Air Act requires the U.

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Environmental Protection Agency EPA to develop two types of air quality standards for key air pollutants, including particulate matter. In April , EPA redesignated a three-county area in southeastern Wisconsin Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties as attaining the hour standard for fine particulate matter, or PM2. The redesignation is the outcome of successful statewide and regional efforts to limit emissions of pollutants associated with PM2. Read about the impacts of the redesignation in DNR's news release.

For more information about air quality improvements statewide, see Wisconsin's air quality trends. Counties that do not meet a federal standard based on monitored values of the outside air receive a nonattainment designation that triggers increased pollution control requirements for businesses in the area, along with other efforts to reduce particle pollution levels. Nonattainment areas are given a target date to meet the standard.

State plans are then prepared that include regulations for emission controls needed to reduce the air pollution and meet the standard. These plans are called attainment demonstration plans. If at any time monitoring data show that air quality has improved and the county now meets the standard, the state can request EPA to redesignate the county to attainment status. In June , DNR submitted a request to EPA to redesignate the three counties from nonattainment to attainment based on monitoring data collected between and The data showed that PM2. Measurements since continue to show attainment of the standard in the three-county area as well as the rest of the state.

In light of a court decision Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA , EPA requested that states, including Wisconsin, supplement their redesignation requests with additional information. Comments were due to EPA by March 20, , and no adverse comments were received. Wisconsin has a number of control programs designed to meet other Clean Air Act requirements that reduce pollutants that form fine particles.

These programs include:.

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There are several state and federal pollution-control programs aimed at mobile sources, including both highway vehicles, such as cars, and off-road equipment, such as all-terrain vehicles ATVs. The federal government also regulates the fuels these vehicles and other equipment use, with the goal of having cleaner-burning fuels that do not contribute as much air pollution. Regulations include motor vehicle emission standards, vehicle inspection and maintenance, the required use of reformulated gasoline, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, low sulfur gasoline and gasoline vapor-recovery programs.

For more information on mobile sources visit our Vehicles mobile sources page. In some areas, governments, businesses and partner organizations have developed local and regional voluntary programs to reduce air pollution. Visibility is degraded when light is scattered by tiny particles in the air, which reduces the clarity and color of what we see. This is referred to as haze and often occurs when the air is humid. Haze degrades visibility in many American cities and scenic areas. Air pollutants that contribute to fine particle formation and haze come from a variety of natural and manmade sources.

The U. These parks and pristine areas are called Class I Areas. Forest Service and other interested parties, develop and implement air quality protection plans to reduce the pollution that degrades visibility. The overall goal is to eliminate the manmade effects on visibility by Interim milestones were established to insure that states are on track to meet the goal.

The first state plans for regional haze were due in December Because regional haze can originate from sources located across large geographic areas, EPA has encouraged the states and tribes to address visibility degradation from a regional perspective. States and tribes coordinate under five regional air quality organizations.

The primary objective of LADCO's regional haze initiative is to assess both visibility impairment in the Class I areas located in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, and the impact of emissions from these states on visibility impairment. Members of the initiative include the six states, tribes, federal land managers and EPA.

For more information on the other four regional air quality organizations and their work on regional haze, please visit the following web sites:.


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LADCO's assessment showed that Wisconsin's emission sources impact visibility in four of the Class I areas — two areas in northern Michigan and two areas in northern Minnesota. The SIP describes Wisconsin's strategy for meeting the progress goals by for these four areas, with the eventual goal of achieving pristine visibility conditions by This strategy takes advantage of emissions reductions from various control programs and includes submission of a plan for the application of Best Available Retrofit Technology BART for specific emission sources.

The department received comments from Georgia Pacific, U.

Analytical methods for measuring air pollutants (CHE)

There are a number of efforts underway to help improve visibility in Class I areas. This technology relates only to sources that began operation between and The federal regional haze regulation requires that BART determination be based on an analysis of the best system of continuous emission control technology available, performed on a source-by-source basis taking into account the following criteria:. Wisconsin's BART rule establishes a procedure for determining requirements to control SO2, NOx and particle pollution emissions from sources subject to BART, which are mainly boilers at electric generating power plants and at pulp and paper facilities.

Wisconsin, like all other states, must develop a plan to address reasonable progress in all Class I areas where emissions from the state significantly contribute to visibility degradation. The purpose of reasonable progress is to ensure that continuing progress is being made toward the visibility goal.

The reasonable progress plan must address five factors which should be considered in evaluating potential emission control measures to meet visibility goals:. Michigan and Minnesota, along with representatives of other states including Wisconsin , tribal governments and federal agencies, are working to address visibility impairment due to regional haze in four northern Class I areas: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park, Isle Royale National Park and Seney National Wilderness Area.

To support consultation in the development of reasonable progress plans for the Northern Class I Areas, the interested parties created a technical document that addresses the causes of visibility degradation in the area. The key findings of the document are as follows:. The MPCA asked the states that contribute to visibility impairment at those sites to consider the following control programs when developing their visibility plans.

For more information, see Minnesota's regional haze plan [exit DNR]. Lead affects many different areas of the brain, nervous system, kidney function, immune system, reproductive and developmental systems, and the cardiovascular system. In children, even low levels of lead exposure has been associated with reduced IQ, learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactive and antisocial behavior, and impaired hearing. NO 2 forms quickly from emissions from cars, trucks and buses, power plants, off-road equipment and other combustion sources.

In addition to contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution, NO 2 is associated with a number of adverse effects on the human respiratory system. People who spend time on or near major roadways can experience short-term NO2 exposures considerably higher than the concentrations measured at ambient air monitoring stations. Exposure to elevated NO2 concentrations near roadways is of particular concern for susceptible people, including those with asthma, children, and the elderly.


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  • Particle pollution.

In , EPA set the new one-hour average standard for NO 2 at a level of parts per billion ppb and retained the existing annual average standard of 53 ppb. The region was designated as attainment in February for both of these standards. EPA reviewed and decided to retain the annual arithmetic mean standard in Ozone O 3 is a gas whose molecules are composed of three oxygen atoms.

Ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by a chemical reaction between two precursors — oxides of nitrogen NOx and volatile organic compounds VOC — in the presence of sunlight. Ozone concentrations are expressed in parts per million ppm or parts per billion ppb.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Trends

High ground-level ozone concentrations can reduce lung function and increase respiratory symptoms, thereby aggravating asthma, bronchitis, or other respiratory conditions including chest pains and wheezing. Ozone exposure is associated with increased susceptibility to respiratory infections, cardiac-related effects, medical visits, school absenteeism and contributing to premature death, especially in people with heart and lung disease.

As a nonattainment area, the region must evaluate air quality data and emission trends to determine how much ozone concentrations will need to be reduced to attain the standard in the future. Control measures and strategies are included as commitments in these plans to achieve the reductions in emissions of NOx and VOC necessary for the region to attain the standard. Because particles originate from a variety of activities and processes, their chemical and physical compositions vary.

Air Quality Pollutants and Standards

PM can be emitted directly or produced by secondary formation in the atmosphere when gaseous pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, chemically react with ammonia and other compounds to form fine aerosol particles. Elevated levels of particulate matter can cause adverse human health effects, including reduced lung function, increased respiratory complications, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk of cancer.

People most affected are those with influenza and asthma. PM pollution is caused mainly by human anthropogenic activities, such as residential wood burning, road dust, on-road and off-road vehicles, construction, and farming activities. PM can also be generated from natural sources such as windblown dust and wildfires.