Air Quality 101

Progress meeting criteria pollutant standards in Oregon communities

While the focus of Cleaner Air Oregon is on developing a health risk based air toxics permitting program for industry, it is helpful to have the context of how the state is doing to meet federal ozone and particulate standards.

DEQ works across the state to help communities meet and maintain compliance with federal standards:

  • Green stars show success stories – these communities reduced emissions, came back into compliance and continue to work to remain there.
  • Black triangles show areas currently in violation of the particulate standard.
  • Gray triangles show areas that exceeded the particulate standard, but are not yet officially in violation. DEQ is working with these communities and EPA to lower particulate and avoid officiation violations.
  • White triangles are areas of concern. Recent levels have bumped above the standard, but not often enough to make a violation. DEQ is working with these communities to prevent future violations. Burns and the Portland area have concerns with particulate, Hermiston with ozone.

Wood heating is the leading cause of particulate standard violations in Oregon. However, industrial emissions can contribute to particulate levels, and in Medford and Klamath falls industry must help meet the particulate standard by controlling their emissions.

In Portland, industry contributes to ozone control efforts by reducing the use of chemicals that evaporate and form ozone.

A community’s status on meeting federal air standards is related to air toxics because the sources of particulate and ozone also produce many toxic air pollutants. So decreasing particulate from woodstoves will also result in great reductions of toxics like benzene and naphthalene.