Title 1s PM10 Nonattainment Program

Particulate matter (PM) are small substances that are light enough to become airborne. They include smoke from burning coal, automobile exhaust, dust from industrial processes, and natural particles such as pollen. Particles are also formed in the air through reactions of nox, sox, VOC and ozone. It can contain metals, nitrates, sulfates, chlorides, fluorides, hydrocarbons, carbon silicates, and oxides. It can be corrosive, toxic to plants and animals, and harmful to humans. At high concentrations, PM can impair respiratory functions, reduce visibility, and discolor the air.

PM is categorized according to its size. The finer the particle, the more damaging to human health. The EPA primarily regulates those particles sized between 0.1 microns to about 100 microns in diameter. PM smaller than 10 microns in diameter is termed PM-10. The NAAQS applies to PM-10.

The EPA estimates that more than 50 regions have not attained the PM-10 standard. The CAAA require that the EPA designate PM-10 nonattainment areas as Moderate or Serious. Moderate areas were required to meet the standard by 1994, Serious areas by 2001. The EPA announced proposed new standards on November 27, 1996, for Ozone and PM-10. In addition to the new ambient air quality standards, the EPA proposed an interim implementation policy that guides states in the interim period until the new standards are in place. States can apply for waivers in areas where natural sources contribute significantly to PM-10 concentrations. This is important because regulators may want to impose air quality regulation to correct a problem that can be solved with emissions controls on industrial processes.

Each SIP must require the implementation of control measures necessary to attain the PM-10 standard. These can include a combination of measures addressing stack emissions of PM-10, or fugitive dust. The CAAA also allows the EPA to address PM-10 precursors, such as NOX, VOC, and SO2 in SIPs for PM-10 nonattainment areas. Sources emitting PM-10 precursors may also be subject to controls even though they are not directly subject to PM-10 regulation. The CAAA requires special treatment of major sources of PM-10. States with Moderate nonattainment areas must implement Reasonable Available Control Measures (RACM). In Serious areas, a major source is defined as one emitting in excess of 70 tpy of PM-10 and the Best Available Control Measures (BACM) is required. If the area fails to attain the standard by 2001, the state must implement an additional 5% per year reduction.

There are various control options used for limiting PM-10 from point sources, such as electrostatic precipita-tors for coal plants and switching to natural gas (which produces about one-tenth the PM emissions of fuel oil and less than one-hundredth of the emissions from uncontrolled burning of coal). As a result, add-on PM-10 controls are not used with gas firing.

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