North Pole’s extreme levels of air pollution will count, finally.
Beginning in 2015, data from this site (North Pole Fire) will be used for calculating the design value for the nonattainment area. While we will not have a precise design value until May 2015, the ADEC and the Borough will need to factor these data into their attainment planning efforts. EPA letter to CAF 11/19/2014
Beginning in 2015, FNSB PM2.5 nonattainment will be calculated from nearby North Pole, the area of expected maximum concentration, rather than downtown Fairbanks.
The 2011 to 2013 24-hour design value for Fairbanks was 45, fourth highest in the nation. Data source. 35 is the state and federal standard for PM2.5 24-hour average.
When finalized, the new 24-hour design value may be approximately three times higher than the old. The North Pole Fire monitoring station was established March 2012 (3288 Hurst Rd, 99705). The station’s 98th percentile for 2012 and 2013 was 158 and 122 µg/m3. For the first half of 2014, it was 156. Data source. North Pole may also exceed the annual PM2.5 standard of 12.
This change of the source of air monitoring data is essential for those who have to breathe the unhealthy air in North Pole and other neighborhoods with highly polluted air. Using the Fairbanks site to measure attainment, reaching attainment would be a relatively easy goal, and if this goal were reached, North Pole and other areas would still be highly polluted. By changing the measuring location to North Pole, attainment will not be reached until all Fairbanks and North Pole neighborhoods have cleaner air.
We look to local and state leaders to initiate emergency action to reduce PM2.5 emissions, accurately advise the public of current air conditions, and ensure public safety especially for sensitive populations including children and elders.
Prolonging air pollution is not a solution. Delay causes more medical harm including disability and premature death.
Design value is the three-year average of the 98th percentile value. An area is in violation of the NAAQS when the design value is greater than the 24-hour NAAQS for PM2.5, which is currently set at 35 µg/m3.
The annual standard for PM2.5, set by the NAAQS using a three-year average of annual concentrations, is currently 12 µg/m3.
98th Percentile is the daily value out of a year of PM2.5 monitoring data below which 98 percent of all daily values fall.
To protect health, Clean Air Act regulations require nonattainment to be calculated from “an area of expected maximum concentration.” 40 CFR §58 Appendix D 4.7.1(1).