Colorado is in the midst of an effort to reduce ozone air pollution. High levels of ozone present health concerns for healthy adults and for sensitive people, particularly the elderly, young children and those with asthma or other respiratory ailments. Symptoms include:
Stinging eyes and throat.
The Denver-metropolitan and North Front Range areas have a history of violating the national ozone standards. The area was designated by the U.S. EPA as a marginal “nonattainment area” for ozone in 2012, and is expected to be bumped up to a moderate nonattainment area by January of 2016. These nonattainment designations mean that ozone levels exceed the 2008 federal standard of 75 parts per billion, averaged over three years.
In addition to the 2008 federal standard, the EPA adopted a more stringent standard of 70 parts per billion, averaged over three years, on Oct. 1, 2015. Colorado will develop plans to reduce ozone levels to meet both standards.
A revised State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2008 standard to reduce ozone levels is under development by the APCD and the Regional Air Quality Council. The plan will include detailed technical analysis of the formation of ozone, future trends in ozone levels, and strategies to reduce ozone. Colorado must comply with the ozone standard by 2018, and the SIP will include the measures necessary to meet the deadline. The Commission is providing input and will consider adoption of the plan in late 2016. A plan will also be developed in the future to meet the 2015 standard, and will rely on much of the groundwork already done. EPA will likely designate the Denver and North Front Range areas in 2017 as "nonattainment" for the 2015 standard. Colorado will then have three years from the date of designation to submit a plan to EPA showing how it will meet the standard.
Nonattainment area planning
The Regional Air Quality Council is currently evaluating control strategy options for the Denver Metro/North Front Range 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area. In support of this effort, the Air Pollution Control Division is initiating a stakeholder process to consider potential Air Quality Control Commission rule revisions.
- Sign up on the Ozone email list to receive announcements.
The Division is currently accepting comments on the following proposed rule revisions. Comments must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on April 15th.
- Proposed revisions to Regulation Number 3, Stationary Source Permitting and Air Pollutant Emission Notice Requirements.
- Proposed revisions to Regulation Number 7, Control of Ozone via Ozone Precursors and Control of Hydrocarbons via Oil and Gas Emissions.
- Proposed revisions to Motor Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program.
- Proposed revisions to Air Quality Standards, Designations and Emission Budgets (emission budgets pending)
Other ozone related information
Exploratory study documents long-range transport of ozone and precursor emissions that affect ozone levels in the western United States.
Information pertinent to industry
EPA's proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone