Nonattainment Areas in Washington
States monitor air quality in different areas to find out how much pollution is in the air. When an area violates federal air quality standards, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can make one of three designations for the area based on a state's recommendation:
A nonattainment designation can have both environmental and economic consequences for communities in and around the area.Contents
EPA sets air quality standards to protect health. EPA has set standards for seven air pollutants: fine particulate matter (PM2.5), larger particulate matter (PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead (Pb), and ozone (O3). The standards define how much air pollution is safe in the outdoor air.
Learn more about air quality standards in Washington.
EPA recently strengthened the national air quality health standards for PM2.5, and is proposing to strengthen the ozone standard, to better protect public health.
The potential effects of a change in the ozone standard are not clear at this time, and would vary depending on where within the proposed range EPA sets the standard.
Ecology and its air quality partners are starting to assess how a nonattainment declaration in any area would affect citizens and businesses. Ecology is committed to keeping the public informed of new developments.
One area of Washington violates the PM2.5 standard: the Wapato Hills-Puyallup River Valley area. Several other areas are close to exceeding it.
EPA has accepted Ecology’s recommendation to designate the Wapato Hills-Puyallup River Valley area nonattainment for PM2.5. (See a map of the recommended nonattainment area.) EPA finalized the designation on December 14, 2009. Ecology must submit a plan to EPA by December 14, 2012 to bring the area back into attainment with the PM2.5 standard by 2014.
Documents discussing PM2.5 nonattainment recommendations:
Public process documents:
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