The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are established under the Clean Air Act. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with setting the NAAQS values to protect public health and welfare. Those values are set based on scientific knowledge and are reviewed every five years to integrate the most recent data on the health effects from each pollutant. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) collects and evaluates … Continued
Ozone is measured by the concentration of ozone within the air, and units are recorded in parts per billion (ppb). For example, one ppb is the equivalent of one drop in one billion drops of water or about one drop of water in a swimming pool. Another unit of measurement for some of the air quality standards is parts per million (ppm), and one ppm is the equivalent of about … Continued
Houston faces several unique challenges. Houston’s summer weather conditions can be ideal for allowing ground level ozone to form. Also, Houston has been challenged in its efforts to meet the ozone standard because the region is home to the largest concentration of petrochemical and refining facilities in the nation. Researchers took many years to develop and design technologies to reduce emissions from industrial sources, but over the years, the industry … Continued
Ozone is a complex pollutant. While ground level ozone is considered to be an air pollutant, ozone is also naturally present in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and filters the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Ground level ozone is formed when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides – emitted from industrial facilities, power plants, vehicle exhaust, household solvents and trees – react in sunlight under the right weather conditions. Ozone can … Continued
Houston is in compliance with the federal standards for particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and lead. Ozone is the only criteria pollutant for which Houston fails to meet the NAAQS.
National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are a set of standards for six air pollutants, known as criteria pollutants: particulate matter ground level ozone carbon monoxide sulfur dioxide nitrogen dioxide lead Criteria pollutants are common air pollutants that are found worldwide at varying levels and can be harmful to human health and the environment. The NAAQS are established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act. … Continued
Air pollutants may exist as solid particles, liquid droplets or gases and may originate from: 1 – large stationary sources – refineries, power plants, smelters, boilers, and smaller sources such as dry cleaners and degreasing operations 2 – mobile sources – cars, construction equipment, buses, planes, trucks, marine vessels and trains 3 – naturally occurring sources – wildfires [link to blog post on haze/smoke], wind-blown dust, some tree species, and … Continued
Houston’s air quality has dramatically improved since the late 1980s, and it’s no accident. Despite hot, humid summer weather that makes for ideal ground level ozone formation and being home to the largest concentration of petrochemical and refining facilities in the nation, Houston remains compliant with five out of the six federal health-based standards for common air pollutants. Furthermore, since 2010, the Houston region has added more than 736,000 residents, … Continued
We often think of air pollution as being a concern in the hot summer months. However, one type of indoor air pollution is more troublesome in the winter—carbon monoxide poisoning.
The greater Houston region has been working for many years to meet EPA’s health-based standard for ozone. Over the past 15 years, we have seen significant decreases in both ozone levels and the number of days that the standard was exceeded in Houston. In fact, 2014 was our cleanest year on record.