Area Designations for 1997 Ground-level Ozone Standards
This web site provides information on the process EPA, the states, and the tribes follow to designate areas as "attainment" (meeting) or "nonattainment" (not meeting) the ground-level ozone standards established in 1997.
A designation is the term EPA uses to describe the air quality in a given area for any of six common air pollutants known as criteria pollutants. One of these pollutants is ground-level ozone. (The other criteria pollutants are particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and lead.) Breathing air containing ozone can reduce lung function and increase respiratory symptoms, thereby aggravating asthma or other respiratory conditions. Ozone exposure also has been associated with increased susceptibility to respiratory infections, medication use by asthmatics, doctor visits, and emergency department visits and hospital admissions for individuals with respiratory disease. Ozone exposure may also contribute to premature death, especially in people with heart and lung disease. High ozone levels can also harm sensitive vegetation and ecosystems.
EPA strengthened the air quality standards for ground-level ozone in 2008. The Agency expects the area designations will take effect in 2010.
This web site contains the following information:
State Designations: Provides a table of EPA's final designations.
Tribal Designations: Provides a table of EPA's final designations.
Reclassifications: Provides information pertaining to reclassification of areas near the threshold of their classifications.
Redesignation Requests: Section 107(d)(3)(E) of the 1990 CAA allows states to request nonattainment areas be redesignated to attainment providing certain criteria are met. EPA is beginning to receive redesignation requests.
Air Quality Forecast: Two-day air quality forecasts, including ozone, for dozens of cities. (Some include web cam shots of real-time conditions)
Basic Information: Background on ozone attainment issues and EPA actions to address ozone emission concerns.
Regulatory Actions: Links to regulatory documents and information explaining regulatory actions related to ozone emissions.
Myths and Facts: Clears up common misconceptions concerning nonattainment and its impacts.
SIP Toolkit: Resources to assist state, local, and tribal air quality agencies in developing plans to implement the 8-hour ozone standard.
Ozone Docket: To read comments submitted to the public docket about the recommendations from States and Tribes, please visit the 8-hour ground-level ozone designations docket, number OAR-2003-0083.
Technical Data: Links to air quality technical data and technical support information relating to an area's designation status.
Timeline: This timeline traces more than 30 years ozone regulation history.
Frequent Questions: Answers to common questions regarding ozone and the designations process.
Glossary: Explanations of the technical terms and acronyms used throughout the site.
Policy Guidance: Provides access to policy and guidance documents on ground-level ozone designations.
EPA designated PM2.5 nonattainment areas in December 2004. Visit the PM designations page to learn more about that action.