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Home > Programs > Bureau of Environmental Protection > Air Resources


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Office of Air Resources

Doug McVay; Chief
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
(401) 222-2808
fax 222-2017

Overview

The Office of Air Resources (OAR) is responsible for the preservation, protection and improvement of air quality in Rhode Island. This is accomplished, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, by regulating the emission of air pollutants from stationary and mobile emission sources. Planning, permitting, air pollutant emission inventory, air quality monitoring and inspecting emission sources are among the major activities of OAR.

Air pollutants fall into two broad categories– criteria pollutants and air toxics. National Ambient Air Quality Standards have been set for criteria pollutants. In general, criteria pollutants are irritants or have other minor and/or acute health or environmental effects. Examples are ground level ozone and carbon monoxide. Air toxics are pollutants that, for example, are carcinogens, or have other major and/or chronic health effects. Examples are benzene and trichloroethylene.

Rhode Island and most of the Northeast U.S. does not meet the health-based air quality standards for ozone. Much of the work of the Office of Air Resources is related to assuring the State improves its air quality in order to attain the standards on the schedule required by the federal Clean Air Act. A number of toxic air pollutants are present in Rhode Island's air that are above acceptable levels. The OAR is working to reduce emissions of air pollutants in Rhode Island and is working with other states to secure emission reductions that will help Rhode Island solve its air quality problems.

Purpose

The purpose of the Air Resources program is to carry out the policy of the State as declared in Rhode Island General Law § 23-23-2, that is:
to preserve, protect and improve the air resources of the State so as to promote public health, plant and animal life and physical property in order to foster the comfort and convenience of the state's inhabitants.
The following program strategies describe the activities of the Office of Air Resources:

Assure stationary sources comply with air pollution control regulations - Inspect regulated sources of air pollution such as: major industrial sources, power plants, degreasing sources, drycleaners, gasoline stations with stage II vapor recovery systems and minor sources. Reduce emissions by implementing new regulatory requirements. Oversee routine stack testing and audits of continuous emission monitors.

Evaluate new and modified sources of air pollution - Evaluate new or modified installations of process equipment capable of emitting air contaminants and air pollution control equipment prior to construction/installation. The applications are reviewed to ensure that the installation will comply with the applicable air pollution control requirements and that the best available control technology is being used.

Implement the Operating Permits Program - Issue operating permits in order to provide a mechanism by which all of the state and federal air pollution control requirements applicable to an emission source are clearly identified in a single document. The clarity provided by this program will assist industry, regulatory agencies, environmental groups and the public in ensuring compliance with applicable emission control requirements.

Protect the public from toxic air emissions - Identify air toxics sources whose emissions may have public health impacts and require those sources to reduce impacts to acceptable levels. Screen proposed new sources to determine appropriate emissions limitations for the protection of public health.

Protect the public from improper removal of lead based paint - Assure that anyone, including homeowners, who removes lead based paint does so in a manner that minimizes releases of lead paint in the environment.

Reduce emissions from mobile sources - Assure the State's motor vehicle inspection/maintenance program identifies high emitting vehicles and gets them repaired. Reduce diesel emissions by assuring roadside and periodic emissions inspections take place and by working to reduce unnecessary idling. Assure the cleanest new vehicles come to Rhode Island by implementing the Low Emission Vehicle Program. Support the introduction of and infrastructure development for alternative cleaner burning fuels.

Attain and maintain the ozone and particulate matter air quality standards - Develop and carry out the State Implementation Plan (SIP) to assure attainment and maintenance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Participate in regional workgroups for SIP planning, regional modeling and emission control program development.

Monitor and forecast ambient air quality - Support and direct the Department of Health Air Pollution Laboratory's operation of the statewide air quality monitoring network. Operate two monitoring sites for precursors to ozone and a National Air Toxics Trends site. Periodically collect, analyze and interpret the results of samples for a variety of toxic organic substances to determine the impacts from particular sources or to evaluate potential neighborhood problems. Predict air quality for the following day and alert the public of elevated ozone and particulate matter concentrations.

Inventory air pollutant emissions - Collect emissions data from approximately 600 stationary sources in the State. The data is used to: calculate emission fees, determine compliance with emission limitations, identify air toxics sources, identify emission sources that would be regulated by newly promulgated state and federal regulations, respond to citizen inquiries and complaints, model regional ozone levels and to track the success of emission reduction programs.

Implement and oversee Rhode Island's role in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) - Through the promulgation and revision of Air Pollution Control Regulation Nos. 46 "CO2 Budget Trading Program" and 47 "CO2 Budget Trading Program Allowance Distribution", participate in a regional cap and trade program to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants. Manage CO2 allowance accounts and ensure compliance with the program's regional cap. Provide guidance to the Office of Energy Resources on how to invest the proceeds of the program.
 

Preconstruction Permits

Operating Permits

Notice of Preliminary Operating Permit Fee Determination

Stage I & II Vapor Recovery Systems at RI Gasoline Dispensing Facilities

Exterior Lead Paint Removal Certification Program

Biodiesel Compliance Certification Form

Auto Salvage Yard Certification Program

Accidental Release Prevention Program

Air Quality Forecast

Ozone Forecast

Ozone Attainment Plan

Ozone Attainment Plan Mid-Course Review

2011 Air Quality Data Summary

2010 Air Quality Data Summary

2009 Air Quality Data Summary

2008 Air Quality Data Summary

2007 Air Quality Data Summary

2006 Air Quality Data Summary

2005 Air Quality Data Summary

2004 Air Quality Data Summary

2003 Air Quality Data Summary

For General Information 222-6800 • After Hours Emergencies 222-3070 • Disclaimer
rev. 10/2/14