Air Quality 101

Oregon’s Air Toxics Program

There are three elements of Oregon’s air toxics program, and DEQ regulates toxics under a variety of state and federal programs.

  • Implement federal standards for industry through permits.
  • Progressively cleaner engines as EPA sets standards for new gasoline and diesel powered vehicles.
  • Air toxics benchmarks to assess problems and provide solutions statewide and in impacted communities.

Examples of DEQ’s current actions to reduce air toxics are in gray boxes.

Implementing federal standards for industry has resulted in significant reductions of air toxics statewide for our largest facilities under Title V permits, and a spectrum of medium and smaller facilities under state permits.

To supplement industrial and engine standards, DEQ uses a geographic approach to assess and solve problems in communities.

  • Portland Air Toxics Solutions is DEQ’s first project working with a community to identify and make plans to reduce air toxics from sources causing the most risk. These include plans for wood burning, diesel engines, gasoline cars and trucks and metals facilities.

DEQ also considers actions to reduce air toxics emissions from sources statewide.

  • Examples of these actions are DEQ’s Clean Diesel Program, providing incentives for cleaner engines, Heat Smart, which requires changeout of old dirty woodstoves upon home sale, and our gasoline fueling regulations to capture benzene vapors.

Under federal clean engine laws, both gasoline and diesel cars and trucks have gotten much cleaner – causing less ozone, particulate, green house gas and toxic air pollution.

  • Oregon accelerated this process by opting in to California low emission vehicle standards.