Since the Houston area is in compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for five air pollutants – particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead – businesses, industry and governmental entities in Houston are working together to maintain compliance with these five standards and to address nonattainment for the ground level ozone standard.
The current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 8-hour ozone standard of 75 ppb has been in place since 2008. In 2015, the EPA issued a more stringent standard for ozone of 70 ppb that will take effect within the next several years. The Houston region is currently not meeting either the 2008 standard or the newer 2015 standard. Under the current regulations, the required attainment date for the 2008 standard was in 2015, though Houston received an extension to 2016. The required attainment date for the 2015 ozone standard is projected for 2023.
Since Houston did not met the 2008 standard of 75 ppb by the required deadline, it is likely that the EPA will reclassify the metro area to a higher level of nonattainment, meaning more requirements will be imposed so that Houston can meet the standard. It is expected that Houston will be required to work with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to submit a State Implementation Plan that will project attainment with the NAAQS once the required control measures have been fully implemented.