May 14, 2014
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines Regional Haze as a visibility impairment that is produced by a multiple of sources and activities which emit fine particles and their precursors across a broad geographic area. In our nation’s scenic areas, EPA says the visual range has been substantially reduced by Regional Haze air pollution. In eastern parks, average visual range has decreased from 90 miles to 15-25 miles. In the West, visual range has decreased from 140 miles to 35-90 miles.
The visibility problem, according to EPA, is caused primarily by emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen, and particulate matter, especially fine particulate matter, from inadequately controlled sources.
EPA’s Regional Haze regulations are designed to protect Class I areas of great scenic importance and primarily include 156 U.S. National Parks and Wilderness Areas – the vast majority of which are located in the Western United States.
On April 16, 2014, the Utah Department of Air Quality (UDAQ) hosted the Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP) to present a 3-state Air Quality Pilot Study/Data Warehouse, and Western Regional Modeling Framework. In this seminar, WRAP and UDAQ also demonstrated results of its West-wide Jump-start Air Quality Modeling Study (WestJumpAQMS) recently completed in September 2013.
The study used meteorological, photochemical, and smoke emissions models to develop regional results to provide data and context for state and federal planning. Most importantly to stationary point sources, WestJumpAQMS modeling is the starting point for a 2011 base year and will be considered in the next Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) which is due in 2018.
What this means to you
EPA’s Regional Haze Program requires state and federal agencies to work together to improve visibility in 156 Class 1 national parks and wilderness areas such as Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Great Smokies and Shenandoah. The vast majority of these areas are located in the Western states. Stationary engine owners and operators near any of these Class I areas should pay attention to regional haze planning efforts.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH to learn about technologies that reduce CO, VOC, NOx, and particulate matter emissions that can contribute to regional haze.